Many people struggle with praying. Like anything else, a lack of experience or practice can make a person uncomfortable attempting a new discipline. Prayer doesn’t need to be that difficult.
The description we’re given of the life God wants us to live includes “constantly praying.” (See 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) Jesus modeled prayer by spending time in prayer himself (John 17, Luke 22:39-46) and gave them a model prayer as a helpful prompt (Matthew 6:5-15). For a Christian, prayer is expected to be part of your spiritual relationship with God. You should be experiencing a relationship where you spend time talking with Him.
Most Americans say they do pray. As the Pew Research Foundation discovered in a massive 2007 survey, 75% of Americans say they pray at least weekly. Even 10% of atheists and 18% of agnostics admit to praying at least once a week. I have no idea to WHOM those folks think they’re praying. Most of my friends, and those who read this blog, fall somewhere between that 10% and 92% of evangelical protestants in prayer consistancy.
For those who find prayer intimidating or mundane, I thought I’d offer a suggestion from my own recent prayer times. I have a group of people I pray for daily, some weekly, some monthly, and others randomly as I get to their name on my prayer list as I cycle through it. In the past couple months I added some new folks to my daily list. Since I didn’t initially have many specific prayer requests for these new individuals, I found myself repeating the same basic prayer for them each day. Repeating a prayer isn’t bad. I’ve been repeating some of the same prayers for my kids for 15 years and don’t intend to change those anytime soon. However, in the case of these new guys I wanted to be praying some more specific prayers but nothing was automatically coming to mind.
I decided to use some alliteration with the days of the week to prompt some creative praying for these men who were new to my prayer list. Here’s how I’ve added variety to those prayer times each day. (*The individuals I just added are all men, so my notes will reflect a masculine tone; but I’ve been using these same concepts to pray for the women I’m praying for each day also.)
Whatever things pop up today that may be unexpected or add stress to the week. Things like any job stresses, sick family member, annoying people, car or home repair problems. I pray for him to have and demonstrate peace in the midst of whatever craziness may come his way to start off the work week.
I pray for strength and safety, especially as it relates to whatever physical things he’s doing this week. Safety while on the job. Ability to think clearly and act precisely as needed. When people or situations are falling apart, that God would grant help to be a pillar of strength in the moment.
I pray for each guy and his wife. Good communication and support for one another. That each man would be a servant to his wife. For them to draw closer to one another and to the Lord. For a good physical relationship. Conflict would be resolved quickly and appropriately. Help them have tender moments together and time alone.
Usually begins with me mentioning some things I’m specifically thankful for in the life of that man; then expands into gifts he has that I notice and pray he uses. Mentioning thankfulness for other things I observe in his life.
FUN or FINANCIAL FRIDAY
I’ve been bouncing around on the Friday focus. I started with the “FUN” concept and prayed for a good time with spouse/kids over the weekend. That has been absorbed into my Saturday focus, so I’ve adapted to “FINANCIAL FRIDAY” and praying for God to provide for every need in the life of this man. Praying for him to be a good steward of all he’s been given by God – finances, time, and talent.
I ask God to provide rest for the weekend. Each man would get things done that need to be done, but also to have moments of fun and time with family. (See “Fun Friday” note.) Also praying rest for his body (physical rest), mind (to be free from worry), and soul (to be at peace with God in all areas of His will).
Some time focused on the Lord today – at church, in worship, alone, in discussion with family, etc. I pray for the spiritual growth of each man and those he impacts. Protection from the enemy, and encouragement to see God at work in his life.
These alliteration items are just gimmicks. Simply a way to prompt myself to think about different areas of someone’s life each day as I pray. I’m using them for a specific group of guys until I get a better handle on more specific items I might be praying for each individual on a daily basis. It’s just a system to help make my prayer time more practical and less repetitive. I’ll likely abandon it in a matter of weeks.
I shared this so you can use it in your own prayer time if it helps; or to prompt another creative way you come up with to pray for someone in your life. And, if you don’t have anyone else for whom you can pray…you can always pray for me. I need all the prayer I can get!
The Unexamined Life and All…
Posted: March 14, 2012
Filed under: Deep Thoughts with Pastor Jeff, Pastor Jeff, Prayer, Spiritual, Waterbrook Bible Fellowship
Tagged: How to Pray, Jeff Denton, Prayer, Prayer Tips, Waterbrook Bible Fellowship
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