Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of posts on prayer.
By: Justine Johnson
“…and God bless Mommy, and Daddy, and Jimmy, and my Sunday school teacher, and my puppy…”
Sound familiar? Many children raised in Christian homes are encouraged to pray at an early age, and bedtime prayers often bring out the generosity in their normally self-centered minds. As the years drift on, it often it becomes less of an enjoyable habit and more of an obligatory ritual.
Growing up in a strong Christian home gave me plenty of exposure to habitual prayer over the years. One of the most popular forms was prayer for people who were connected to my family. Whether it was for a sick family member or for a member of our church who was going through a rough time, my parents taught us at a young age the importance of lifting others up in this way.
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints…” (Ephesians 6:18). One of the best ways to improve relationships with people is to pray for them. Not only are you connecting with God, but you are also taking the time to think of another person’s life for at least a moment. This gesture of selflessness displays your desire to get closer to the other person involved. From personal experience, I can honestly say that it is very satisfying when I am able to extend love to someone by telling them that I am praying for them.
Praying with awareness is also important. A simple way to do this is watching your newsfeed on Facebook. Who on your friends list is going through a rough time? Pray for them as you scroll down the page. A more intentional method is asking your friends how their week is going, and then praying for their hardships. Whether you live on a Christian campus or a secular one, this is an excellent way of building your classmates up. When you hear about a need or a struggle around you, take it to God. He is always listening.
Depending on how your brain functions the best, it may or may not be helpful to keep a list of people to pray for near your Bible. For me, it is useful to post sticky notes on my desk shelf with different names on them according to how I am connected to the person. There are so many easy techniques to help you remember to pray for your loved ones, though. Perhaps you would find it more efficient to simply write the names on a sheet of paper and split them up according to the day of the week. No matter what you choose to try, however, the end result will be worth the effort.