The older I get the more burdened I become to pray for other people. It seems everywhere I turn there’s another need. Some seem small on the spectrum of world problems like praying for a good grade on a test or the motivation to exercise or something like that, but to the person who has the need it’s important. After all, God tells us to bring everything to Him in prayer (Philippians 4:6). I think everything literally means everything. Not to mention that God only hears the prayers of believers (1 Peter 3:12; John 9:31). That makes praying for others not just a duty but more of an honor. Without you, a Christian friend in the life of an unbeliever, there is no hope of God hearing their prayers. They need your prayers for them!
However, praying for others can become quite a feat when you start to really examine all the needs around you. People are hurting. Some are hurting in outward ways such as with disease and heartbreak and addiction. But all the rest are struggling on the inside with something. We’re all broken, and we all need prayer.
This quick tip for praying for others has helped me tremendously over the past several months (and it’s even started to heal me in some ways, too):
Every time, and I mean every time, a person’s name comes to your mind, pray for them.
It doesn’t have to be some long, drawn out prayer. I’m talking about a sentence prayer, in your mind where no one can hear. Maybe it’s, “Lord, please give Sue whatever she needs today” or “Jesus, I pray for Christie today” or “Dear God, help Molly”.
I don’t know about you but sometimes the oddest names come across my mind. Like the Facebook friend I knew 20 years ago but haven’t talked to since. Or that ex-boyfriend (yes, even pray for him) and something jogs my memory about him. Or, even more importantly, that girl I am secretly so jealous of and every time I hear her voice I cringe.
Yep, that last one is the prayer that’s going to heal you.
Like I mentioned early, I’ve noticed that when I sincerely pray for the names of people who come across my mind and who I have some type of animosity or jealousy or resentment towards, it’s my heart that starts to change. I suspect that those prayers are really more for me than for them.
By praying for people by name as soon as you think of them, it makes your prayer life more manageable and filled with more integrity. How often do we say, “I’ll pray for you”, but really don’t do it? Well, do it! And do it right that minute!
Sometime soon I’ll share with you a more elaborate system I use to pray for others (and myself). But today just start using this quick tip!
“pray without ceasing,” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
So on a scale of 1 to 10, how often do you pray for other people? Share with us in the comments!