Prayer, Part 3
The last two weeks have not only been about prayer, but we have prayed. That’s pretty important. I like when we gather together and talk to God.
We can know about prayer, but praying—actually talking to God—is less of a spiritual discipline for most Christians, I believe. Especially me. I’ve been weak (Trying! Failing! Growing!) in this myself. I not only want to tell people, “I’m praying for you,” or, “I prayed for your birthday,” but I truly DO want to talk to God with their name on my lips.
“God, you know that today is _______’s birthday, and I pray that today goes well for them. Not only for their benefit, but I pray that the good feelings of today will help them say, ‘Thank you, God’ and recognize that all they have is from you. I pray that ________ uses this next year of life to grow closer to you, and that you help them be open to whatever you have for them. THANK YOU for bringing him/her into my life, and help me to love him/her like you do.”
It’s not exactly those words, but I want to “make mention” of you in my prayers regularly. A few practical tips (in no particular order) that I’ve been trying recently are:
Take a picture of the Sunday school prayer lists. We take requests in our class, and I try to remember them for at least the next week in my prayers.
Wednesday prayer lists. This is an easy way to have something to pray through for the week.
Pray through the church roll. When I review the attendance forms weekly, I pray through the church roll. I recently had Mrs. Maricela add the kids’ names so that I can pray more specifically for your family. You could take a printed directory and do the same.
Pray through the birthday/anniversary lists. When I write a birthday card, I pray for that person at the same time. You could use the names from the bulletin each week to remember people’s special days, and you could mail your own birthday prayers to them!
When someone asks for prayer, I write it down for later, but also pray right then. Too often I’ve said, “Yes, I’ll pray for that,” without any system to help me stay honest!
If I think it, pray instead. I catch myself thinking about people a lot… but I’m trying to turn those inward thoughts into upward prayers. Internal dialog is a good time for prayer, instead.
Wake up and pray. At our 2021 Paintball Camp, the preacher challenged us to wake up and pray. I’ve never forgotten his challenge. I’m not great at it yet, but as many times as I remember, as soon as I open my eyes, I try to say a quick prayer of thanks.
Go to sleep and pray. The same camp preacher challenged us to go to sleep with a prayer, so that the first and last part of your day are focused on God.
Pray in faith. I think we kinda-sorta-hope these things will happen, but don’t really believe God WILL do these things. Well, shame on me! I’m trying to learn how to pray and believe that God WILL give this victory over sin, or will help this marriage, or will grow our church, or will… whatever I’m praying about!
Realize that I CAN pray. I used to NOT pray because either, 1) I had a sin I wasn’t willing to repent of, or 2) I thought it had to be a long prayer. I’ve since learned that the “pray without ceasing” verse was for me! And it’s for you, too. Go ahead and pray. Talk to God.
I’m always wishing I was more disciplined in prayer, but these are simple things that I’ve been working on recently. Let’s pray.