Prayer is an aggressive, pro-active work. A vital work. In our role of praying for others, we can play a major part in stabilizing and influencing their lives.
Be aware, though, that with this weighty role comes great responsibility.
First, we must be intentional in our prayers. According to www.dictionary.com, the word intention means, “an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.” It is essential that we make prayer an act of determination. How can we become intentional about our prayers?
- Be deliberate. Schedule prayers by writing them on your calendar or setting a phone alarm. Use physical objects as reminders to pray. You might use a certain bookmark, put a post-it note on your refrigerator door, or wear an item of jewelry that serves as a reminder to pray.
- Make an actual commitment. Don’t just “think it” in your head. Write out your commitment, maybe even on a beautiful sheet of paper, and sign it. There is something about writing things out that evokes an element of reality and accountability. Then, post your commitment somewhere that is visible to you, daily! This gives you one more physical reminder. Finally, share your commitment with someone. At least one other person. The simple act of sharing something aloud will add even more accountability into the mix. And when we are going for change, accountability is good! If you want to add even more accountability, go ahead and share your commitment with the person you are making it for.
- Don’t give up. New habits take a while to develop. It might help to schedule your prayer for the same time of day. Again, examine your schedule. Maybe your best time is at 7:00 AM when you have your morning coffee. If you are committing to pray for more than one person, consider scheduling prayer for each one on the same day of the week. The goal here is consistency.
Secondly, we need to become specific in our prayers. Remember, that it is “okay” to pray specifically. Elijah (James 5:17-18) is just one example from the Bible of someone who prayed specifically. Pray the requests of your loved ones. Pray scripture. Use resources.
And if a wandering or distracted mind is your culprit, think about changing things up by incorporating some prayer tools from time to time. Because many of the prayer tools are engaging, they are great for helping with focus. And if you choose a “tool” that connects to your personal wiring, you may find yourself drawn to prayer rather than obligated to it. Go ahead. Try creating a picture journal or praying in color and see how it goes.
So, as you go into prayer this week make it your goal to be intentional and specific. By an act of determination establish a consistent time for your prayers and follow through on your commitment by writing it out, posting it, and sharing it with someone. Then begin to get specific by asking for prayer needs or grabbing your Bible to pray some scriptures. And don’t forget to have some fun by trying something new!