“What I don't understand is when people ask other people to pray about something. Is that the idea that some people's prayers are more effective than the original person making the request? Or that if there's an army of people praying, that is more likely to influence God's decisions?”
It’s funny how I sometimes take for granted that when I understand something, everyone understands it. Well, it got me thinking and I looked through His word for answers. After posting them, I thought some of you might enjoy reading it as well. Maybe it’ll give you pause to meditate on your own prayer life, and then the strength to see your prayers answered more frequently. I'd also love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Do you agree/disagree? Have something to add that will enhance the answer? Please don't hesitate to share.
First off, the bible (which is the definitive resource when citing all things Godly) says:
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
So, we shouldn't assume we can come up with an answer to your question without consulting God's word.
Next we have:
James 4:2 You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.
So, by not asking God in prayer, we're relying on ourselves to accomplish something or simply leaving it up to chance. However, asking with impure motives or from a life given over to sin prevents you from having a clear heart, necessary for effective prayer.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
From that, you can see that some people do indeed have a more effective prayer life. If you had two kids, one of whom ignored you, stole from you, used your name as a curse word and in general never bothered to acknowledge you unless they wanted something and the other child loved you, attended you and honored your wishes, you'd still love them both but you'd do your best to fulfill the wishes of the second child, knowing they asked for things that would be beneficial to themselves and others, while the first child would more likely be asking for things that might be detrimental.
Then, as far as asking others for prayer, you not only open up your request to others who might have a clearer heart but you also fulfill this:
Matthew 18:19 "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
Hope that helps. :)
So, what do you think is the proper answer to the questions posed?