We love people. We want God’s best for them. We are quick to say “I’ll pray for you” to those we see on a given day, especially the ones who are going through tough times—such as a family member, neighbor down the street, grocery store clerk, pastor or church staff member . . . But do we?
We know that the Bible calls us to be intentional about prayer. Consider the apostle Paul’s plea for prayer in general and on his behalf: “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:18-19).
Here’s a creative, helpful way to have a “place” for every prayer request so you can be sure to pray. Think of it as a way to pray every day.
Monday: Pray for Your Family
Take time to pray for each member of your family. Include extended family members. Entrust each one to the Lord. Wherever they are in their relationship with God, pray that He draws them “ever one step closer.” Be as specific as you can as you pray that He will meet them at their point of need.
Tuesday: Pray for God’s Family
Pray for the church, starting with your local church. Pray for your pastor(s), ministry leaders (e.g., elders, deacons, missionaries, teachers, nursery workers) and their families. Who else in the church needs prayer? Now think of the church around the world. Pray that the Gospel would be preached “as of first importance” (1 Corinthians 15:1-11).
Wednesday: Pray for Your Community
Think about the groups where you are an “insider” and pray for the people you see regularly—those you live near, work with, bump into at school or the store, and so forth. How have they asked you to pray for them? Pray that the Lord will meet each one at his or her point of need, both physically and spiritually, according to His will.
Thursday: Pray for the Nation
Pray for the revival of God’s people, and that we’ll be “Jesus in jeans” as we truly love and serve those around us. Pray for those in authority. Ask God to bring to mind local and national spiritual and political leaders, and pray for each. Pray about national issues and challenges, such as the economy and its impact on everyday families.
Friday: Pray for the World
Pray that God will use His people to help others “to know Christ and to make Him known.” Pray that revived Christ followers would respond with Jesus’ love, grace, compassion and wisdom to social struggles—add to your prayer list specific needs you are aware of. Pray for the persecuted church. Finally, pray for the advance of the Gospel everywhere, toward Matthew 24:14.
Saturday: Pray for the Helpless, Hopeless, Hurting and Lost
As part of a regular Pray Every Day strategy, on Saturdays take time to pray for the down-and-out. Start with the world, draw closer to your nation, closer to your state, and closer still to your own community. List the names of and pray for the physically and spiritually afflicted. Pray specifically for ministries that are reaching out to the helpless, hopeless, hurting and lost.
Sunday: Pray for Personal Guidance
Finally, take time to pray for your own personal needs. Sometimes we pray for everything and everyone else but forget to pray for ourselves. On Sundays, pull away and pray for yourself. Walk with God through every aspect of your life—your personal, family, work, community, and church aspects of your life. Say, “Speak whatever to me, Lord, I’m listening!”
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See how this can help you become more intentional in your prayer life? Indeed, prayer is the most important conversation of the day—with the Creator of the universe who is there, who cares, and who listens with an ear to respond both for His glory and for the good of people!
Adapted from The Pray! Prayer Journal, published by NavPress. Copyright © 2003 by Dean Ridings. Used by permission. Join Dean for daily prayer updates online at Pray Every Day. Learn more about Dean and Kim's work with Navigator Church Ministries here.