Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
When we pray with our life wide open, we allow the Holy Spirit to transform our behavior, change our direction, and shape our daily decisions.
As we do this, opportunities to communicate with God come flooding in with surprising regularity. We no longer “try to pray” or “work at praying more.”
Speaking to God and hearing from our Lord become the norm.
As our life becomes a dialogue with God, we also find ourselves praying for others with consistency and with others with growing regularity. The little and inconsequential things become an occasion to talk with God, and the big things move us to conversation with the only one who can manage the universe and our lives.
Praying with our life open to God will lead us to the undeniable conclusion that God hears our prayers, God delights to answer, and something happens every time we pray.
As we pray for others, there are a number of important reminders the Bible gives us. These are
some of the things we can miss if we are not attentive and sensitive to God’s direction as we
pray. Here are five things I find helpful to remember. Each of these helps me keep my prayer
life on track.
1. Pray for people in places of authority. God has put people in places of authority and we are
called to pray for them. Governmental leaders, law enforcement personnel, civic servants, and
others in roles of influence should be covered with the prayers of God’s people (1 Tim. 2:2). We
can ask for wisdom and protection, for God’s hand on their life and family, and for the presence
of Jesus to be revealed to them. We don’t have to agree with someone to pray for them. Our
prayers cross all boundaries to bring God into all situations.
2. Cry out to God for those who are far from Jesus. Our Savior called us to pray to the God of the
harvest and ask him to send us out with the message and love of Jesus (Matt. 9:35–38). In the
book of Acts, the prayers of God’s people preceded the revival of Pentecost (chaps. 1–2). It is
natural for most of us to pray for other believers. We should also be praying with fervor and
consistency for the people in our life who have not yet discovered that God loves them and that
Jesus’ sacrifice is enough to wash them clean of sin and begin a new life.
3. Intercede for all of God’s people. We not only pray for the Christians close to us but for all of
God’s people (Eph. 6:18). Many churches pray for needs in their congregation. At Shoreline
Community Church, where my husband and I serve on staff, we have a weekly practice. We
pray for other local congregations. We actually call the other Christian churches and ask, “What
can we pray for you in our weekend services?” Each Sunday, as a congregation, we pray for one
church in our community, for their lead pastor by name, and for specific needs and challenges
they are facing. We are part of one body of Christ and believe praying for each other (as
churches) is very important.
4. Lift up the people who see themselves as your enemy. Jesus called us to pray, even for those
who treat us badly and persecute us (Matt. 5:44). If you know what the early church would face
under Roman persecution in the coming years, this exhortation would shock you. If first-century
Christians could pray for those who were ravaging the church, destroying Christian
communities, and martyring fellow believers, we can certainly pray for those who are hostile to
us and our faith.
5. Pray for God’s will to be done. When Jesus taught his followers how to pray, he told us to
pray for his kingdom, not our own personal empires, to come. He directed us to pray, not for
the fulfillment of our personal whims, but for his will to be done (Matt. 6:10). In all of our
prayers for ourselves, for Christian friends, for nonbelievers, for governing authorities, and even
for enemies, we are to pray for God’s will to be done.
If we can pray in God’s will, then we can pray in the name of Jesus. When we pray in the name
of Jesus, we can have confidence that God will hear and answer our prayers.
Your Prayer Journey
In the coming month, try doing a 1-1- 1 Prayer. This is something Lee Strobel taught at the
Organic Outreach Conference we hold at Shoreline Church. The idea is simple. You pray for a
person who is not yet a follower of Jesus. Commit to intercede for them and ask God to soften
their heart, open them to the love of Jesus, and give opportunities for Christians (including
you) to share the gospel of Jesus. Here is the 1-1- 1 part: What you commit to do is set an alarm
and reminder on your phone or watch for 1:00 p.m. every day. At this time, pray for this one
person for one minute. That’s it. Of course, if 1:00 p.m. is not the best time, you can adjust this.
This is one way to remind ourselves to live a life open to “pray continually.”
Your Prayer Journey
Each time you pray in the coming week, begin by saying, “Lord, I want my prayer to be in the
name of Jesus. Please let all I pray be motivated by Jesus, consistent with the heart of Jesus,
and for the glory of Jesus.” If you are not confident your prayer reflects the will and desire of
Jesus, slow down and ask yourself if you should be praying in this manner. If you are confident
your prayer is consistent with the desires of the Savior and honoring to your heavenly Father,
when you finish your prayer, speak these words with authority and confidence: “In the name of
Sherry Harney serves as the leadership development director at Shoreline Community Church in Monterey, California.
She is also the cofounder of Organic Outreach International.
Her writing and speaking focuses on prayer, spiritual formation, leadership, and organic outreach.