Borrowed from a recent sermon, "Will You Pray For Me?", prayers should be specific. Which only makes sense. If you want a specific answer, ask a specific question.
The reference used for this point was Romans 15:31-32, where the Apostle Paul, after asking the others to pray for him, added, "That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints; That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed."
He knew exactly what his desire was, so his request was very direct. Could this be the reason some prayers seem to go unanswered? Such as in James 4:2, where it says, "Ye have not, because ye ask not." It’s either that we ask amiss or from lust, as it goes on to say in the next verse, or it could be we’re too general with our requests.
Blanket requests in prayer are never as effective as those that are more to the point. Suppose Paul’s request to the brethren had actually been a prayer, but he only asked that God would take care of him in general. Would he have been delivered from the unbelievers in Judaea? Would his service in Jerusalem have been accepted by the saints? Would he have returned to them with joy by God’s will and been refreshed?
Maybe. Then again, maybe not. The Lord does often bless us without asking, but if we insist on cookie cutter prayers that cover everything, while not really mentioning anything, it’s doubtful the answers will be as specific as we might have hoped.
It doesn’t matter how big or how small an issue or a desire may be, it’s important to be open and direct in prayer. God already knows all about it, but the more specific we are in our requests, the more specific He will be in His answers. And the more we see answered, if it’s according to His will, the stronger our faith will become.
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)