We have not only heard it, but have said it many times, “Please pray for me.” Most people believe in God and in the awesome power of prayer. James, in the fifth chapter of the bible book bearing his name used the Old Testament prophet Elijah as an illustration of the might of prayer (vs.16-18). He said “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much” and then told how Elijah, a person much like us, prayed that it would not rain and it did not. Afterwards, that Elijah prayed for rain and it rained. Elijah’s prayer was not answered because of “who” he was but because of “how” he was. He was a righteous man (2 Kg. 2:11; Matt. 17:3).
“Pray for me,” is used to get others to petition God on the behalf of the one asking. It is probably the number one thing asked of Christian people. Most likely, because people believe prayer will have more success coming from a godly life than a godless life (Is. 59:1-2; John 9:31). James said the “righteous” avails in prayer. Peter concurred (1 Pet. 3:12). Now, what about prayer requests?
Some request prayers as though that will resolve things while ignoring their part in the prayer process. They refuse to give God dominion in their lives through repentance or becoming a Christian. But when you see them, they always have this request, “Please pray for me.” Prayer will not help the one who refuses to obey God (Pr. 28:9; 1 John 3:4).
Some prayer requests are always with worldly motives and without any spiritual substance. They are a direct reflection of the heart, mind, life and love (Matt. 15:18; 6:19-21; Rom. 8:5-6; 1 John 2:15). These petitions of “Please pray for me” are always for houses, cars, money, promotions, etc., but never for spiritual wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to be better Christians (Col. 1:9-10; Jas. 1:5). Therefore, they solicit amiss (Jas. 4:3).
Some prayer requests are honorable. They realize they may not be where they spiritually should be but they continue to try. The publican as God’s child did go into the temple to pray which speaks of his sincerity and effort (Luke 18:10,13-14). Dear Christians struggling honestly to do God’s will can receive his help and “Please pray for me” will work for them too. There is strength in numbers and the whole church can also benefit (Eccl. 4:9-12; Acts 8:18-24; 12:5-16).