We all have Prayer Lists.
Most write their own list. Some simply memorize or visualize who they pray for. Many follow the printed list in the Sunday bulletin. Apps send them to our smartphones.
The difficulty with Prayer Lists is not having enough people, places, or things to pray about; The problem is how to keep it fresh. AND, how to give ourselves permission to take a name off the list! (Personally, I find that even when a person passes, I feel a responsibility to pray for their spouse or family; a good thing but not helpful in keeping my list from ever expanding).
To #reimagine our Prayer Lists, we need to keep centered on Christ, tethered to Scripture, and constantly guided by the Holy Spirit. New ideas or formats are helpful, as long as we are not replying on the methodology.
Our desire is for our Prayer Lists to be "transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how we think. This will empower us to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life of prayer, satisfying and perfect in his eyes." (Romans 12:2; The Passion Translation)
With that understanding, here area few ideas to prompt your own thinking
- Stack new requests at the top; review older entries periodically from the bottom up
- Cluster names by needs (health, relationships, finances, salvation, justice, neighbors...)
- Cluster names by the first letter of the first name then pray for those in a single cluster
- Divide names/needs in 7 daily groupings (Monday, Tuesday,Wednesday, etc.)
- Use these categories; choose one for each prayer item based on their primary need or the best objective for them:
- Worship • Fellowship • Discipleship • Leadership •Stewardship • Citizenship
Whatever your format, always begin with an A.S.K:
- Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you so he will guide you in knowing who to pray for and what to pray for them
- Seek the Spirit's leading with silence, stillness, scripture, song, scripting your thoughts
- Praying for fresh leading each day produces discernment that will empower you to pray beyond the obvious need. The obvious issue may be the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, the Holy Spirit wants to use to draw you into related issues that are not obvious but equally important.
- “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again." (Mathew 6:7; New Living Version)
- Knock ... when the Spirit makes your focus for that person or situation or issue clear, approach God in prayer "boldly and with no hesitation." (Hebrews 10:19; The Passion Translation)
...And, always end with "so that..."
- Pray like "Epaphras, a servant of Jesus Christ...He always prays for you (so) that you will grow to be spiritually mature and fully confident that you are following the whole will of God. .. (Colossians 4:12)
- When you pray for someone or something (a congregational need or a cultural issue) add these two words before you conclude your prayer: "...so that..."
- This adds a disciple-making element to every prayer. Whether the obvious need is for healing, or wisdom, or repentance, or spiritual insight, your prayer connects their presenting/temporal need with their greater need to become like Christ.
- Every prayer should become a petition for both their felt need and their growth in Christ.
Please add your comment, additional scriptures, formats that have helped you #reimagine your Prayer List!