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Receiving Prayer Requests--Should I accept ALL or should I ask the Lord which ones to pray for?

Not long ago I collected ways that people pray--and in my observation many seem to think prayer is a list of 'needs' or 'like to haves' that are presented to God. 

Some intercessors are list prayers and their focus is for those list.  Unfortunately not all intercessors are list prayers--some of us have different focuses.  Perhaps some of you might be willing to share how you handle list prayers, especially when you have a different focus in praying.  How do you help encourage those who have needs when it comes to prayer and they look to someone to come alongside of them in prayer.

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Replies to This Discussion

I trust that I am listening to the Holy Spirit when it comes to prayer!

I hope this answers your question about list prayers!

I am not a list pray-er...anymore...

The volume of prayer requests I receive is extremely overwhelming to me. I struggle with chronic sickness, and I am home a lot. The majority of the prayer requests I receive is through the internet on my home computer. Several months ago, I told God that if I get one more prayer request, I'm going to throw my computer out the window! (I've recovered from that moment of frustration!)

Since then, though, God has given me a way to cope with the overwhelming volume and INTENSITY of prayer requests!

In addition to my own "blood-family," God has given me a "spiritual-family," of His choosing, that He has burdened my heart with such passion and has called me to FERVENTLY intercede for! They are my priority prayer assignment! I fast and fervently pray for extended periods of time for them on a very regular basis.

Next on my priority prayer list are the people on my "Prayer Wall."

When I receive prayer requests from the internet, I try to pray for them immediately as I am reading them. If I sense the Holy Spirit has not burdened my heart to pray more than that, I either keep the prayer request on my computer or delete it...and trust that God will bring it to my mind and heart again if He wants me to be in prayer again for that particular request.

However, if I sense the Lord burdening my heart to continue praying for that request, I either print it out or print out the person's picture. After I print it out, I cut around it, and tape it to my "Prayer Wall."

This is EXTREMELY HELPFUL to me! As I walk past my wall, I am able to lay my hand on a picture or request and lift up to God a quick, bullet prayer for that person. (Short, quick, bullet prayers work too!)

I may either move onto another picture, and do the same thing, or keep all depends on the Spirit's prompting.

Some days, I stand at the wall and lay hands on and pray for everyone...and somedays, I pray for one or a few at a time...but eventually, they ALL get prayed for!

Last, but NOT least, are the people and requests that the Lord "just suddenly out-of-the-blue brings to my mind!" If the Lord brings a person to my mind or my heart, I offer up a prayer for that person!

I hope that encourages someone to keep praying rather than get overwhelmed! Keep praying, my brothers and the Lord directs! HE is FAITHFUL! HE helps us! HE knows we cannot possibly carry the burden for EVERYONE! JESUS did THAT on the cross! Our job is to follow the Holy Spirit's prompting...and take on His yoke...for His yoke is easy and His burden is light!

LOVE YOU ALL, my praying friends!


You really shared your heart in your answer to this question. Many struggle with this issue, and I can only pray the others will see your reply and allow the Lord to help them in not being over burdened with many prayer items. Blessings.

Perhaps others have reasons for being a list prayer, or would love to tell of how their prayers have progressed over time and as their relationship with the Lord grew. Plese feel free to share.
Anne, thanks for sharing - I read your comments several days ago and have continued to reflect on your Prayer Wall. Like you, first and foremost we must rely on the Holy Spirit not only to bring to mind those who he wants us to pray for but also to direct our prayers for them. Many years ago I attended a week-long missions conference, at the beginning of the conference we were told that we would hear a lot of requests and we were encouraged to pray for them as soon as we heard them. This has stayed with me and so when I hear of a need I pray about it right then; recently I learned of the serious potentially life threatening illness of the adult son of a fellow church member - initially all I could do was call out to God, over and over but as the prayer chain grew in number I sensed a release from that level of intensity. I used to "pray through the list" every day - it was categorized in my mind so I could pray without a physical list; however I could also pray without giving any thought to what I was praying, what started out as a format became a meaningless exercise (and yes, I believe that God still heard my prayers, but I was uninvolved). I am becoming more aware of the many ways that we can participate in the ministry of intercessory prayer. In some situations I'm given a picture of what needs to happen, I find that I pray intensively as the picture is given, then when I pray for the person or situation I recall the picture. God also takes into account our life circumstance; Anne you wrote that you struggle with chronic illness and are home a lot - you have time to access the internet (even when you want to toss it out the window) and spend extended time in fervent prayer. I work full time as a child & adolescent mental health therapist and my husband is a pastor; although I have a time of focused prayer most every day, I still do a lot of praying on the run and in the moment. At this point in my life I find that my prayers are less one-sided, me telling God what to do, and more intimate communication at times simply praying, "Lord, your kingdom come your will be done, you be glorified in this situation". Thanks for the opportunity for dialog - it is a great encouragement to me.

Blessings as we continue in this vital ministry,
At this point in my life I find that my prayers are less one-sided, me telling God what to do, and more intimate communication at times simply praying, "Lord, your kingdom come your will be done, you be glorified in this situation".

Vicki, what a BEAUTIFUL way to pray! Thanks for the reminder!

I so appreciate how we can share and encourage each other!
I whole heartedly agree. That is the intent of the Intercessor's group. There are many intercessors who do appreciate encouragement like this. I am thankful to God for those willing to share and encourage.
If you don't pray from a list for all the request we as intercessors receive, what other way is it? I can't remember every person's need. Well, I have a prayer pattern. Praying about certain issue on certain days! Praying daily for my mantle, my needs and God's desires.

Min Jackee
Awesome! I will put this to trial. Hopefully it will work for me because I like how it sounds....

The words in your reply "I have a prayer pattern", say a lot. A pattern of prayer may be unique and personal for each intercessor.

Thank you for stating it like you did.

Praying about certain issues on certain days...I LOVE IT!!!!! GREAT IDEA!!!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!!!!!! God bless!!!!!!! :)
"Unique & personal" - a wonderful reminder that just as we are unique, the patterns we use as pray-ers will be unique. And personal - God sees and hears us not only as a group of Intercessors, but as individuals.

I concur with a lot that has already been said. I have recently made a conscious effort to pray for the request as soon as it is presented, too many times I have said I would hold the request up to our great God and then forgotten (satan had a lot of fun with that)! Face to face or over the phone, it doesn't matter. I try to immediately pray for the request, right then and there. . Some of these requests are so very heavy that the individual carrying the load at times can barely carry it, never mind have the energy to cry out before God about it. I think it blesses them more than we realize to hear us speak "their" request before our Lord. I also think this models a great example for the one who has heard us pray on their behalf. Who knows, maybe God will use them in the days ahead to pray for someone else's need and they will remember our example and stop and pray right then and there! Prayers offered up in the grocery store, post office, hair salon all over town!! Could you imagine what that would look like:)

Great response and insight, it is very sensitive to the needs of others. The Lord can use those prayers to encourage others to pray more and to trust Him.

Those words are an encouragement to me also.



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