Four-part series: Pursuing an Effective Personal Prayer Life. Our foundational goal here at Sweet Selah Ministries is to encourage daily quiet times with God. We are all about the sweetness that comes when we selah (stop) and simply choose to be with God for a short while—or a long while. Our time alone with Him fuels us for the rest of the day. We meet God through the pages of His living Word, the Bible. We read and meditate and write to Him about what He says to us in the pages of the Book of books. And then we pray. In this series on pursuing an effective personal prayer life, we are going to look at three different types of prayer and help you incorporate all three into your personal prayer life: God-focused prayer (look up), self-focused prayer (look within), and other-focused prayer (look around). The fourth lesson looks at those times when it seems impossible to pray. We hope this revolutionizes your prayer life and makes you eager to meet with Him in prayer each day.
Today, we look at other-focused prayer. Let’s Look Around!
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in
your prayers for all believers everywhere. —Ephesians 6:18 NLT
All around us are people and situations in need of prayer … our families, extended families, neighbors, friends, pastors, missionaries, government officials, refugees … many who are ill or in crisis or in distress. How do we follow Paul’s admonition to “pray for all believers everywhere”? How do we discern who to pray for and how and when to pray?
I’m offering a few suggestions on ways to intercede wisely within the natural constraints of time that I hope will resonate with you and enable you to pray well for others without feeling a false sense of guilt that you did not pray for everyone every day. I hope one of these suggestions will be “just right” for you!
- Ask God to show you the individuals and situations that He would have you lift up to Him each day and pray for those He brings to your mind.
- Pray throughout the day as He reminds you of those who are suffering or grieving or rebelling. Trust Him to do this and go about your day with a listening heart.
- Develop a system of prayer by creating a list of those people and subjects you wish to pray for on a regular basis. You might choose to pray for some every day, while others you might choose to pray for less often on a rotating basis.
- Use an app like PrayerMate. Many have found the free app, PrayerMate, has transformed their prayer lives. It’s a wonderful tool for recording and organizing prayer requests. The app sends those prayer requests to the users’ devices each day on a rotating basis depending on the frequency the users have set for their petitions and praises—daily or weekly, regularly or occasionally.
I use a list system to help me pray. For my personal time of prayer I have chosen a category for each day and offer those here for you as an example:
Mondays – My family. This is the day I take extra time to pray for my extended family, including aunts and uncles, as God lays them on my heart.
Tuesdays – “Testimony” day. I pray for individuals in my life who do not know Christ and ask God to open their eyes to His Truth.
Wednesdays – Work-related. On this day I pray for God’s enabling to do my job well, for my co-workers and board members, for expansion of the ministry, and for His blessing and guidance in all we do. I also pray for my husband’s job and his co-workers and specific needs at his work.
Thursdays – Thanksgiving. I simply devote Thursday mornings to thankfulness, telling God how grateful I am for my life, my health, my possessions, my relationships, and every other bit of gratitude flooding my heart that day.
Fridays – Friends. This is the day I pray for friends—for those who are ill or in trouble—and for ones I simply wish to pray for God’s blessing upon their lives.
Saturdays – Sanctuary and State. This is the day I pray for my church, my pastor and his upcoming sermon, worship leaders, missionaries, and others God brings to mind. And this is the day I pray for the President, Congress, and Senate.
Sundays – Self. Each year I set a spiritual goal, either a word or a Bible verse that I seek to live by. On Sundays I ask God to help me grow in that area—and in every part of my walk with Him.
Be careful, dear one, and don’t allow the enemy of your soul to pour out condemnation on you if you do not pray for every single thing every single day. God knows you have work to do and activities that require your attention. Remember the little boy who had only five loaves and two fishes? When he brought them to Jesus, that little offering yielded huge results. If your time is short, bring your short time to God. Yes, our world is in great need of prayer and the task feels too big, but we simply pray as earnestly as we can whenever we can, and God will multiply our prayers.
Paul clearly believes that prayer matters. For some reason God has chosen to work in this world through the prayers of believers. Whether they are eloquent or stumbling bumbling ones, God can and does answer. Just watch and see what He does as you ask Him. You will be amazed.
Dear Father, help me not to run from praying for others because I can’t pray for all of them. Show me each day who to pray for. Remind me during the day to pray as I see needs around me. Enable me to pray, led by the Spirit, persistent prayers for all believers everywhere, one name at a time, over time. Lord, teach me to pray! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
You are loved,
Sweet Selah Ministries
To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service
To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)
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