Being Intentional With Prayer
February 21, 2011
One thing I know about myself is that if left without a certain amount of structure, I forget to do things. My prayer life is no exception. In the area of my prayer life, I have been learning from the example of Larry Blake, a fellow Navigator who is a close friend of mine. From him, I’ve picked up the habit of keeping a list of the names of lost people in my life, being intentional about praying for them, and keeping track of the results. When I have a prayer list and have made it part of my daily routine, I actually do a good job of praying for these things.
This way I can tell someone that I’ll pray for something and actually get it done. I cringe just a little bit when I hear the words, “I’ll pray for you!” thrown out there, because that is a pretty big commitment in my book–I want to actually follow through on it. I’ve found that I first have to figure out what is required to get done what I want to do, and for me that is to put a little structure in my prayer life. Each person has to figure out what works best for them. God has taught me quite a few things as I’ve developed my prayer routine. As I have prayed on a consistent basis for the people God has brought into my life I’ve seen how sensitive I become toward them; especially in reference to the needs in their life that I’m praying about.
In Colossians 4:2, the apostle Paul says, “Devote yourself to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” Prayer keeps us alert and I’ve seen the fruit of that alertness in my life. When I run into someone I’ve been praying for, I immediately think of the things for which I’ve been praying. If I haven’t been praying, I don’t do well in remembering what is going on in their lives. People really appreciate it when you ask about the things they have asked you to pray for. When I pray for them I stay “up” on what is going on–I stay alert.
When it comes to nonbelievers, it also keeps me sharp on them. I remember the names of people I meet because I’m praying for them by name. They are on my heart more because of the prayers I lift up on their behalf. I find that I become prepped for my time with them through my prayers for them.
A final thing that I want to add is the effect of Scripture on my prayer life. Jesus said in John 15:5, “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” Aligning ourselves to the Word is so crucial to communicating with God. God loves us and wants to answer our prayers. According to 1 John 5:14-15, praying in line with God’s will is the confidence we have that our prayers will be answered and the encouragement we need to encourage our prayer life and to ask for bigger things. I’ve seen the effect of consistent prayer for the people God has brought into my life.
I stay current on what is going on in their life, and I am more sensitive toward them. Prayer encourages me by allowing me to see all that God is doing in the lives of people around me. Prayer opens my eyes to it and gets me involved in the middle of it all. I like to compare what God is doing around me to the seventh game of the World Series. If I am not praying for what is going on it is like I’m standing out in the parking lot picking up cans. I can hear the roar of the crowd, and I know something is going on but I’m not involved in it. But when I pray consistently I become intimately involved in what is going on and it is like I’m in the game. When the answers come, I’m a part of it, and that makes me want to be even more involved.