“Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.” (Ephesians 3:18 CEV)
Have you ever heard your pastor refer to intercessory prayer and how it should be part of our disciplines? Heard members of your church referred to as “great intercessors” or “prayer warriors”, able to pray for other’s needs for hours? Do you hear those phrases and slink down in your chair, thinking that’s not me?
I certainly have. Prayer, especially praying for others, has often been a struggle for me. The idea of sitting down for any length of time to lift the needs of others is hard for this “doer” girl. A few minutes in, and my mind wanders off to list out all the things I need to do. Stillness is painful. But I have learned that prayer doesn’t need to be a struggle.
First, prayer is not all that complicated. It is simply a conversation with God. If that still seems daunting, remember, God is our Father, our Daddy. We all have experience with going to our daddies with requests. And even if our earthly fathers weren’t always there for us, our heavenly daddy is.
Second, prayer doesn’t have to be reserved for one long sitting. Just as you talk (or text) people throughout the day, God is always available for a quick chat. Most days, I start the morning with a conversation with God, that I continue throughout the day.
Third, I don’t really need to know all the details to pray effectively for others. For example:
- When I hear an ambulance siren wailing as it passes on the road behind my house, I stop for a moment and pray for the driver and EMTs to get to the hospital safely, for God to watch over the patient and comfort their family, for the doctors at the hospital to have the wisdom to diagnose and treat them.
- When I see a mother at the grocery store, shopping with a tired toddler and adding up her purchases on her phone to make sure she is in budget, I pray as I do my own shopping, asking God to give her patience with her little one and for her budget to stretch to cover what she needs to feed her family this week.
- When I see an elderly person taking a slow, shuffling walk, I pray for that person’s health and their safety.
In all of these situations, I will also pray that they will know God’s presence and that they may know Jesus.
What are some steps that you can take to enlarge your prayer life?
- Start your day with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to give you open eyes and ears for the needs of others.
- Slow down. Take the time to be aware of your surroundings as you go about your day, seeking opportunities to pray.
- Keep a list. Friends, colleagues and even complete strangers may share concerns or situations that need prayer. If you can’t pray immediately, you can jot down the need (discretely if you think it will make the other person uncomfortable) and pray when you have the opportunity.
- Remember that you are simply having a chat with God. Your prayer doesn’t have to be wordy, complicated or formal. God just wants to know what is on your heart.
I may not be able to change any of these situations, but I know God can. And I know when I continue to lift others in prayer, He listens.
“So it is with your prayers. Ask and you’ll receive. Seek and you’ll discover. Knock on heaven’s door, and it will one day open for you. Every persistent person will get what he asks for. Every persistent seeker will discover what he needs. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door.” (Luke 11:9-10, TPT)
Oh, and by the way, you are now a “prayer warrior”!
“for tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer!” (James 5:16, TPT)
By Pat Witman.