In this month’s prayer-focused post, Jodie provides practical ideas for how we can pray ‘outwards’ for those around us, our communities and the world.
Over the last few months we’ve thought a lot about prayer and explored how it is essentially communicating with, seeking and listening to God. We’ve considered how we can ‘bring heaven to earth’ by praying for others and interceding in faith, and we’ve been challenged to pray big prayers, to pray continually and to pray in faith.
Prayer can be thought of as an individual thing…praying by myself, meditating and connecting with God. However, prayer is so much more than that! We know that there is power in prayer and that we are called to battle in prayer and to bring our concerns and issues to God asking Him to step in.
During our preaching series on prayer so far we have heard about some of the prayers of people in the Old Testament – Abraham, Moses, Solomon, Hezekiah and Daniel… people who out of their relationship with God and their private prayer life, then had the confidence to pray and ask God to step in. They asked God to break in, to change things and to change the course of history. So how can we pray ‘outwards’ by praying for our neighbours, friends and families, praying for our communities and our town, praying for our country and our world… where do we start?
How do we pray and ask God to break in and change the course of history in our lifetime?
Here are some practical ideas that might help…
The following is taken from the 24-7 resources (https://www.24-7prayer.com/):
How to pray for others:
1. Be confident:
When we pray for others, we’re praying to a God who longs to hear and respond to our prayers, so we can begin praying with confidence that our prayers are important to God.
2. Be specific:
What is it that you want God to do in the situation, or for the person? The Lord’s prayer contains active and specific requests: “Give us… our daily bread” “Forgive us… our debts” “Lead us… not into temptation”
3. Be expectant:
The God who made and created us also made and created the people we are praying for. God loves our friends, family and community more than we do, so be expectant!
4. Be persistent:
Sometimes we need to ask and keep asking (Matt 7:7, especially when those that we know and love are going through something challenging or tough. Keep persevering in prayer for others. You could try using a prayer list or using the Inner Room App.
How to pray for the world:
1. Acknowledge God’s power
As humans, we can forget that ultimately, God has created the world and is not absent from it but all-powerful in it:
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all who live in it.” – Psalm 24
2. Pray for God’s kingdom to come
The simplest prayer can be the most powerful:
“Your Kingdom Come,
Your Will be done,
On earth as in heaven”
3. Pray for individuals and communities
We’re called to pray for others in our world facing challenges and difficult situations:
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people…” – 1 Timothy 2:1
4. Pray for those in power
Leaders across our world are humans, just like us, who need prayer:
“… for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” – 1 Timothy 2:2-3
5. Pray for the church to continue to bring hope
As the global church, we have a message of hope that we can share far and wide, no matter what else is happening in our world:
“…For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
How to pray for breaking news stories:
1. Get Informed
Gather the basics of the story from a trustworthy source. What’s happening? Where? Who is affected? Who are the key leaders and who will be responding? What are the needs right now?
2. Pray for People
Pray for those who are negatively affected. Pray for those who have their lost families, friends and loved ones. Pray for those who are still in danger.
3. Pray for the Circumstances
What are the problems that only God can fix? Ask God to intervene and for God’s presence to be felt.
4. Pray for those in Power
Who are the decision makers that can impact the story? Pray for mercy, compassion and wisdom as they deal with the situation.
5. Pray for the Church
Who can spread God’s love and God’s hope in the situation? Pray for pastors, churches and non-government organisations; that they would be equipped with all they need in the situation.
6. Motivate Others
If you’re organising group prayer for the story, find connections and make the story relevant and personal – this will aid and equip your prayers.
7. Share your Prayer
Use social media to share your prayers, and inspire others to add their ‘Amen’ too.