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All honest prayer is good. But some kinds require more belief, or a different kind of trust in order to pray them.
1. Praying for something which, if the prayer is granted, you will never know it.
Several years ago, I prayed out loud for an ambulance as it was driving by with flashing lights and siren (Prayer for wisdom for the caregivers, peace and healing for the patient.) Since then, we cannot see an ambulance without one of my kids telling me that I should pray. So I always do. And we will never know any details about what happens to the people in the ambulance.
2. Praying for someone who doesn’t know that you are praying for them
I think there is great value in telling someone who is going through some difficult ordeal that you are praying for them. But I fear that there are times when, in my mind, this is the only value. I think it is wise to try not telling them and see if we are still inspired to pray, not just for the nice feeling that someone will think well of us because we are praying for them.
3. Praying for something which, if the prayer is granted, will make your life harder
That your missionary calling will be confirmed, that the adoption will go through, that you get the tough job, that you will be broken of some sin.
4. Praying for something that is unlikely to happen (The Obvious One)
It’s easy to pray “That I will do my best on my finals” (but like I say, it’s still good to pray for this) It is less easy to pray for healing for a man who has been given 3 months to live.
5. Praying for something about an event that has already happened.
This one I think is a bit controversial. Let’s say you get an email from a missionary who sent it on Friday, asking for specific prayer for a big Christian evangelism outreach meeting on Saturday. But you don’t get it until Monday. The meeting has already happened, but, as a Calvinist/hyper-compatibleist I think it is still wise to pray for it, because God, who is in some way outside of time, will know about the prayer and use it just as he would use the prayer that had been made before the meeting. My thought, though, is that an Arminian, or at least an open theist, wouldn’t think this to be wise, because, God doesn’t know what you’re going to pray, so how can he use it? Comments?
Any suggestions for other extra faith requiring prayer types?