Core scripture: “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” (1 Timothy 2:1)
Message: I used to have this problem. A situation would come up where I would see a need to pray for someone or something. It was on my mind then, but later? Poof! Forgotten like yesterday. Lost. The frustrating part would come later. I would see the person I forgot to pray for, and guilt would sweep over me. They might even think I was lifting them up. Sad.
Or how about this one … Do your prayers ever seem stale? Repeated the same over and over? You become numb to prayer. Empty words uttered without even thinking about them. Later you realize all the things you could have prayed for to mix it up a bit. Your extended family. Missionaries. Certain students. Long lost friends. The government. It is frustrating, isn’t it!
This summer I created something to help out in these areas. I created a prayer chart. I began by thinking of all the areas of my life I could be praying for. My family. Church. FCA. Then I broke those categories down to specific areas to pray for beneath each one (see attachment below). I slipped it in a clear sheet protector, set aside a dry erase marker, and set off on a prayer journey to begin the new school year. Every Sunday I wipe the sheet clean and hash out a plan for the new week on what to pray for.
It was cool to have that at home, but I knew I lacked the discipline at work. So, I took a prayer journal to write on there. All it took was one statement at the beginning of that first week. I told my students I had it on my desk, and that if they ever needed prayer, I would write their requests down. The requests slowly came in. Eleven total so far. Almost all were written on the side of assignments for me to see when I graded. One kiddo from last year even came in to share her request with me, asking me to pray over her right then and there during lunch.
Are these perfect solutions to prayer? Maybe. Maybe not. But they have kicked up my prayer life a notch, making my prayers more intentional. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 challenges us to “pray without ceasing,” and my prayer chart, not to mention my school prayer journal, have helped this. I am lifting up people more consistently. I am praying for different areas of my life. A huge reward came last week when I reminded a colleague I was praying for him. He looked me dead pan in the eye, nodding. “I can feel it.” I nearly wept. Our God hears us!
Since we are on the topic of prayer, here are three more ideas you might want to implement:
- Tape a reminder below your keyboard at work. My printed reminder is summarized in four simple words (five if you count the contraction): “Don’t forget to pray!”
- Print off a list of laminated prayer strips. I have a whole cupful that I pull from daily to pray over. The ones prayed for go into a small box, and when they expire, I flood my cup back up. (See attachment for my prayer strips): Teacher Prayer Sticks
- Follow up with prayer. Once you lift someone up, ask how they are doing. Remind them you are praying for them. One little girl is going through some cheerleader drama, and our quiet conversations off to the side have encouraged her.
I will stop there for now. One thing is for certain … if you are “All In For Christ” as our theme for this year states, you will heed that it is essential we communicate with our Heavenly Father at work. Be bold this year. Pray with purpose, passion, and perseverance, knowing that God can indeed move mountains for us. “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).
Challenge: How do you kick up your prayer life? I would love to hear from you in a reply below. If you have any suggestions, please share so we can all benefit! My challenge is for you to take one of my own suggestions or one from another believer and implement it in your life. If it works, let us know of your success story!
CTC Update: This is in reference to my blog written a few weeks ago titled “The Body of Christ at Work.” I have two brave souls who are in. One from Indiana. One from Florida. With me being from Kansas, I would love to get a few others in from the West or East Coast. Or how about international? I have noticed we have followers of this blog from halfway across the world. The Google Form is below.
Prayer: Father, may my prayers be a way I can communicate with You authentically, intentionally, and consistently. Amen.