Everyone has personal problems, although these problems differ as to their type, their severity, and their frequency. Among these problems are the following:
- Guilt feelings
- Hate feelings
- Insufficient money
- Lack of wisdom
- Mental stress
- Physical pain
- Poor physical health
So, does the Bible provide any encouragement with regard to praying about personal problems? The following are several scriptures that encourage people to pray for whatever is wanted,
[Note: When we quote Scripture in this article, we use the wording in the New King James Version of the Bible. And, when bold print is shown in the scriptures that we quote in this article, it is to focus on certain words that are particularly applicable to our discussion.]
Matthew 7:7-11: [Jesus Christ declares] “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
1 John 5:14-15: Now this is the confidence that we have in Him [God], that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
The context of the two preceding scriptures makes it clear that both scriptures are directed to all Christians, not just to Jesus Christ’s inner circle of 12 Disciples. In contrast, the context of the following four scriptures indicates that each of these scriptures was spoken by Jesus to His 12 Disciples only and, therefore, these scriptures may not be applicable to all Christians.
Matthew 21:22: [Jesus Christ asserts] “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Mark 11:24: [Jesus Christ states] “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
John 14:13-14: [Jesus Christ declares] “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
John 15:7: [Jesus Christ says] “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”
None of the preceding scriptures place a limit on what a person may ask God to provide. However, only the first two of these scriptures seem to be applicable to all Christians. Therefore, there are at least two scriptures that indicate that there is no valid reason to believe that a person should refrain from praying for God’s help in dealing with personal problems. Nevertheless, there are several reasons why prayers may not be answered favorably, if at all. [For a discussion of these reasons, click on “Why Prayers May Not Be Answered.”]
Therefore, not only do we need to learn the reasons why our prayers may not be answered, but also we need to seek to do what is necessary to comply with what God wants us to do, so that He will favorably answer our prayers, including those involving personal problems.
Nevertheless, our prayers will not always be answered how or when we would prefer. We need to trust God to do what is best in response to our prayer(s), because He is omniscient and He loves us. In other words, God not only knows what is best, but also He does what is best, because of His love for us. [For a discussion of God’s omniscience, click on “Is God Really Omnipotent and Omniscient?” As for scriptures that pertain explicitly to God’s love for us, see John 3:16, Romans 5:8, and 1 John 4:16. And, for additional biblical encouragement when trying to deal with personal problems, click on our article entitled “Encouragement Provided by the Bible.”]