June 21, 2021 — Prayer Request . . . or Gossip?

“There’s something I have observed with some of my Christian friends,” I said to Stan one morning, “that doesn’t seem quite right.”

“What’s that?” Stan asked.

“Inappropriate prayer requests.”

“Inappropriate prayer requests?” Stan replied. “Paint me a word picture of what you mean.”

“Well,” I replied, “I don’t want to appear judgmental, but there does seem to be times when a prayer request by certain people is merely thinly-disguised gossip.”

“Oh,” Stan said, “someone saying to pray for so-and-so and such-and-such, when what they are really wanting you to know is that someone may be in a situation that may not be right.”

“That’s it,” I replied. “You ever run into that?”

“Sure have,” Stan replied. “Just the other day I had a call from someone in the church who told me that he had heard that a mutual friend was cheating on his wife and needed prayer to come to his senses.”

Continuing, he said, “I told him I would certainly be praying for the man and his marriage, but after I hung up I had a sense from the Holy Spirit’s voice telling me that the real reason for the supposed prayer request was to spread some gossip.”

“Did you tell your friend that?” I asked.

“No, I didn’t,” Stan replied, “but I did immediately pray for him along with my prayers for the other person.  I prayed that the man who called would see gossip for what it is and not try to hide it behind a prayer request.”

“Don’t you think you should say something to him directly?”

“Only if God opens that door.  In the meantime, I’m leaving that in God’s hands.  He knows how to handle it a lot better than I do.”

“But,” Stan concluded, “I take this as a serious warning for me.  Just as my prayers for myself are to be from the right motive, my requests to others that they pray are also to be from the right motive.”


Bible verses to consider:

A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends.  Proverbs 16:28.

He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, therefore do not associate with a gossip. Proverbs 20:19.

For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there may be . . . gossip, . . . 2 Corinthians 12:20.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you allow me to come before you in prayer.  Thank you, too, that you want me to share prayer requests with others so that they will join in praying for certain people and certain situations.  Coming before you in prayer is a privilege and I ask for your help so that all of my prayers and requests to others for prayer are with the right motive, which is to be only in accordance with your will.  Please, Father, help me in following every step of your lead regarding all of my prayers and all of my requests to others for prayer.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this:  Have you ever experienced prayer requests that you knew were only thinly-disguised gossip? If so, what was that about? Did you react in a way that you know was pleasing to God? When you are presented with gossip about another person, whether it is in a prayer request or otherwise, how do you respond? If you sense your response may not be in accordance with God’s will, what can and should be done about that?

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