My current sermon series has been “Patterns of Prayer.” During this Covid-19 crisis, racial tensions, political turmoil, and uncertain lives, I felt it necessary to focus my study on the subject of prayer. Prayer is something that everyone knows about, but most of us would admit that we could do better. For me, this series has been tremendously beneficial. God has taught me more about himself in this series than maybe any other that I’ve preached.
So why write an article about it? This post is aimed to encourage you to pray. Specifically, intercede for someone else.
Here are some reasons you should make time to today to pray:
- God invites you to pray. In Luke 11:9, Jesus teaches us to ask, seek, and knock. He wants us to bring our burdens before him.
- You need prayer more than you think. Prayer is our avenue of talking with God. Too often we ignore God because of all the other things we have going on. Make time to talk with God today.
- Someone else needs you to pray for them. Interceding for another person is a privilege. God partners with our prayers to meet the needs (physical, spiritual, emotional) of those around us.
When you pray today, pray specifically and pray scripturally. For example, pray for your friend by name. Pray for their healing, their need to be met, their soul to be saved, etc. But pray in a specific way that will allow you to know if God answers the prayer. While prayers like “bless my friend” or “be with the missionaries” are well meant, they are not specific enough for us to know they have been answered. Specific prayers allow us to experience the answers.
Also pray scripturally. If you are praying for someone to come to know Christ, pray that God would open their eyes to see his glory (2 Corinthians 4:4) or that God would convict their heart of sin (John 16:8-11). If you are praying that a friend would experience peace, pray that your friend would be thankful and experience the peace of God that passes understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). If you are praying for a child or grandchild to know God’s will, pray Psalm 23 over their decisions and opportunities. Praying scripturally helps us align our prayers with God’s will.
Praying specifically and scripturally allows us to experience God’s answers to prayer. Here are a few of the specific ways God answered my prayers recently.
- Our family prayed for God’s protection while we traveled. Answer: A vehicle in front of us experienced a blowout and a tractor trailer nearly rear-ended us. We experienced God’s answer for protection.
- A family friend had brain surgery, and we prayed for her peace and that the surgery would go as planned. Answer: She was released from the hospital earlier than expected and experienced God’s peace during and after the surgery.
- A church member was admitted to the hospital with stroke-like symptoms. We prayed that the medical team would have wisdom in his care, and that his health would improve. Answer: His issue was not a stroke, but something more manageable. He is now home.
- A lady who is connected to our church has been struggling with sensing God in her life. For nearly a year, we’ve prayed that God would save her and make himself real to her. Answer: This past week, she put her faith in Christ alone for salvation.
God doesn’t always answer every prayer request as quickly or in the way that I might ask. But he does answer. I would encourage you to develop a prayer journal where you track how God works in your prayer life. Reflect often on his answered prayers. Remember, you can bring anything before God in prayer, but he loves it when you intercede for someone else.