Have you ever had a conversation with someone and promised them you’d pray for them and their situation only to remember sometime in the future, or when you spoke to them again that you completely forgot to pray? I have. I think we all have at some time. I have a very good friend who inspired me on this point and my prayer life has never been the same.
My long-distance friend Linda and I have spoken weekly for many years. We often speak on Sunday afternoons and for a long time, she would end our conversation by saying that she prayed for me and my husband Alrick every Sunday. I finally asked her how she would remember to pray for us every week like that. She mentioned that she had a bit of a prayer system in which she would alphabetize her friends according to the days of the week – Sunday “a-b-c”, Monday “d-e-f” and so on. She has a journal and every day of the week she is able to systematically pray for everyone under the alphabet. I thought that was so amazing.
That conversation changed me radically. I knew that my friends and family and possibly many others were praying for me. But the knowledge of a systematic, personal remembrance of me was deeply touching. I immediately went out and bought myself a journal. I took each day of the week and categorized the areas of prayer that I would cover each day and listed everyone I knew under each topic. Sunday – elderly, sick, and bereaved. Monday – single people. Tuesday – family and neighbors. Wednesday – Married couples. Thursday – people I’m witnessing to or people I want to see saved in heaven. Friday – Pastors, lay workers, and children. Sabbath – government workers/leaders, the church, various ministries, Christian institutions, and baptized individuals I am aware of. The options for covering prayer are endless! My faith has been strengthened when I speak to people I am praying for and they tell me the victories in their lives as the result of the power of prayer! It makes me want to pray more, not because there is power in me. There is power in what God has to say about what He does in response to our intentional, consistent prayers. James 5:16 tells us that the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man availeth much. Mark 11:24 reminds us that whatever we desire when we pray, believe that we receive it and we will have it – but we have to remember to pray. The Bible tells us to ask, knock and seek in Matthew 7:7. But if we don’t remember to do so when we pray, or if we do it is done amiss as James 4:3 says, we can’t expect great things from God.
Deciding to be intentional about our prayer life causes great things to happen to us as well as to those we are praying for. Prayer is a discipline. The Psalmist says in Psalm 55:17 that evening, morning, and noon he cried aloud to God in prayer. Do you carve out specific times to pray? What an example we have in the man Daniel of the bible who was so consistent and intentional in his prayer life that even the threat of being devoured by lions would not hinder his commitment to prayer. I want that kind of faith. I want that kind of commitment. Do you?
Further study: Daniel chapter 6, Daniel 9:3-19, Luke 18:1-8