Have you ever had a conversation with someone and promised them that you would pray for them and their situation, only to remember sometime later when you spoke to them again that you had 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 every Sunday for me and my husband, Alrick. I finally asked her how she remembered to pray for us like that every week. 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 keeps a journal, and over the course of each week, she is able to systematically pray for everyone alphabetically. 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 this 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, categorized the areas of prayer that I would cover each day, and listed everyone that I knew under each topic:
- Sunday — the elderly, sick, and bereaved;
- Monday — single people;
- Tuesday — family and neighbors;
- Wednesday — married couples;
- Thursday — people to whom I am witnessing, longing to see saved in heaven;
- Friday — pastors, lay workers, and children;
- Sabbath — government workers/leaders, the church, various ministries, Christian institutions, and baptized individuals.
The options for covering prayer are endless! When I speak to people for whom I am praying, and they tell me about the victories in their lives as the result of the power of prayer, my faith has been strengthened! It makes me want to pray more, not because there is any power in me, but because there is power in what God has to say about what He does in response to our intentional, consistent prayers. The Scriptures tell us that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16); while reminding us that whatever we desire as we pray, we must believe that we receive it, and we will have it (Mark 11:24). But we have to remember to pray. The Bible tells us to ask, knock, and seek (Matthew 7:7). But if we do not remember to believe as we pray, or if we pray amiss with wrong motivations (James 4:3), we cannot then expect great things from God.
Call to Action
Deciding to be deliberate about our prayer life causes great things happen to us, as well as for those for whom we are praying. Prayer requires discipline. The Psalmist says that evening, morning, and noon, he cried aloud to God in prayer (Psalm 55:17). Do you carve out specific times to pray? What an example we have in the man, Daniel, 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 his established routine for prayer. I want that kind of faith. I want that kind of commitment. Do you?
Further study: Daniel 6:1-28; Daniel 9:3-19; Luke 18:1-8.