Don’t need to know name, but do need to know what to pray about

19 Apr

This has always been a pet peeve of mine: someone, a pastor or an elder or even a layperson asks for prayer for an individual whose name isn’t identified, but refuses to give details so that we know what we know what kind of situation we are being asked to offer up to God in prayer.

I can well understand wanting to not give identifying details, but I’m not going to pray for someone when I know nothing whatsoever about their struggle; e.g. “There’s this individual in our congregation who is going through a certain struggle; please pray for them.”

What kind of struggle? Don’t need many details, but I ain’t praying for someone without knowing the jist of why they need prayer.

But increasingly, people solicit prayers for anonymous people without evening specifying anything whatsoever about their need.

If it isn’t worth telling me something, even the smallest detail, it isn’t worth my praying for, is my take.

It’s not because I crave to know gossip, or want to know others’ private business – but if you’re gonna ask me to pray, I just need to know why, roughly.

Then I can put my head and heart into the prayer; without knowing a single thing, I can’t do either.


Posted by on April 19, 2021 in religion, spirituality


7 responses to “Don’t need to know name, but do need to know what to pray about

  1. Elspeth

    April 19, 2021 at 6:30 pm

    I agree.

    • Will S.

      April 19, 2021 at 6:33 pm

      Thank you, Elspeth!

      I’m not the only one who finds this practice odd and incomprehensible! 🙂

  2. feeriker

    April 19, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    To me, this is just another aspect of churchian laziness and spiritual sloth that has pretty much subsumed the entire church. Asking for prayer for a third party without giving any specifics whatsoever just screams “I really can’t be bothered with this person, but since they’ve asked for prayer and I can’t very well just say ‘y’know, I’m really just not feelin’ it, so you’d better take it up with God yourself,’ I’ll just pass the request on with as little detail as possible so that I can at least check the box. Hopefully God will have already gotten things covered without my help.”

    I’m ashamed to say it, but I’ve reached the point where I almost never ask anyone for prayer anymore unless they’re immediate family or very close and dear friends. IME whenever you ask anyone else, they react as if you’re asking them to lend you money, or that you’ve somehow inconvenienced them in some major way.

    • Will S.

      April 19, 2021 at 7:02 pm


      Sometimes, I know it’s because it’s something shameful, like a single woman getting pregnant outside of wedlock, or something. Well, if you want my prayers, gotta say what it’s about, even if not who – though usually, as with such a case, that’s gonna become public knowledge fairly quickly, what with telltale signs and all.

      • feeriker

        April 19, 2021 at 7:03 pm


  3. electricangel

    April 19, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    I always ask God to intercede for specific people I’ve known who have passed on. I cannot imagine asking for unnamed people.

    Maybe the babies that we once thought would go to Limbo?

    • Will S.

      April 19, 2021 at 7:07 pm

      I won’t open that can of theological worms, but if one held to that, would make sense.


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