Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pray About Everything


Who has time to pray about everything?

Have you ever told someone you would pray about something for them and then you never did? Because I have.

Have you ever, with the best of intentions, tried to make a prayer list for yourself, but there were so many things on it and you knew you would never get through it every day so you just gave up?

Because I have.

And yet we know that there is too much at stake in this life not to pray.

Gary Thomas says, "Without prayer, we live as temporal people with temporal values. Prayer pushes eternity back into our lives, making God ever more relevant to the way we live our lives." And John Piper puts it more bluntly: "Until you know that life is a war, you will not know what prayer is for."

Probably eight or nine years ago, my friend Beth shared an idea for prayer with me and I have used it ever since, so I thought I would join the "Works for Me Wednesday" party again and pass it along.

It's actually very simple. You put all of the things you might pray for into categories, for example: your husband, your children, relationships (friends, neighbors, coworkers), your church, missions, etc, etc. Then you organize them in whatever way makes sense for you on different days of the week.

Now maybe that makes you feel guilty because you'll only pray for your second cousin Matilda's ingrown toenails once a week, but the way I look at it, at least you pray for her regularly, which is more than I would do if I told myself I was going to do it all every day. For lazy people like me, it helps to break things into manageable chunks or they just don't happen.

One of my favorite parts of Henry Blackaby's book Experiencing God is when he talks about the time he found a blue Schwinn bike that he knew would be perfect for his son. He bought it for his son's upcoming birthday and then hid it in the garage. His next task was to then somehow get his son to want a blue Schwinn bike.

He then describes how God is like that. He's got cool things "hidden away in the garage" for us and He is just trying to get us to want them.

With that analogy in mind, I spend time each year, praying about the different people - or categories - that I pray for, trying to get a sense of what God wants me to pray for in each area. I use a three-ring binder for my prayer notebook with different sections for each day of the week, and each year I put the new list on top of the old ones from previous years. I keep all of those because there are almost always lots of notes and dates scrawled with answers to specific prayers. That is very encouraging and faith-building for me to have all of those reminders of what God has done.

Recently, I had the chance to sit down with one of my kids and share some very specific answers to my prayers for him. He was very excited about it and even had some things he wanted me to add to his list and pray for.

I heard this statement at church this week, "Prayer builds our inner world, while impacting our outer world." And I have found that to be very true.


Allison said...

I have been meaning to do this for a long time, but get caught up in the organization of it all. I totally agree that breaking your prayer list down into different days makes it so much easier to include everything. I would love to know what your days/categories are! Thanks for the encouragement!

Chocolateer said...

This is a wonderful idea :) I'm so bad at saying I'll pray for something, then completely forgetting about it. Thanks for sharing!

ahorne said...

This is a great post - and very timely for me. Thank you for the inspiration!!