I thought today I would take you through the process of how I come up with and write these prayers. It’s easy! Anybody can do it. I’ll show you how by giving you an example of writing a prayer for lost hope.
Take the Same Practical Steps I Take in Order to Write a Prayer Based Off of Scripture with this example of A Prayer for Lost Hope:
Step 1-Decide what I need to pray for and make a list of specifics.
For example, I pray for my students in my college classes each semester. Sometimes there seems to be a theme of what I’m praying for a particular group of students. This semester the word that keeps coming to mind for this group is “hope”. I get a feeling that many of them lack a sense of hope or that they feel hopeless. Therefore, some specifics I’d like to pray for them are:
That God would give them a sense of hope
I want them to see a hope in me, something that they desire, and I’d even like them to ask me about it, giving me an opportunity to tell them why I can hope even in seemingly hopeless situations
That they can see a hope in their future and that they don’t give up
Step 2-Find verses and promises in the bible that correlate with the specifics that I want to pray.
Previously, I wrote about when and where to pray and several posts on how to pray. Sometimes this can be difficult to remember to do throughout your day unless you have reminders. I know some people who set reminder alerts on their phones to pray at specific times of the day. I think this is a great idea. Something that I have found to be extremely helpful though is to use prayer cues.
Prayer cues are simply visual or auditory reminders to pray for something as you see or hear it. These can be specific things or topics on that you have a heart for, certain people in your life, emergency or crisis situations, or even things that frustrate or annoy you.
My kids and I started using sirens, emergency vehicles, and/or accident scenes as prayer cues to pray for the potential victims and emergency responders. When we hear sirens or see flashing lights or drive past an accident we say a short prayer for the safety of all involved. We pray for wisdom and guidance for the responders to act quickly and to know exactly what to do. We also pray that God’s presence is evident to those involved.
Do you guys remember that old Garth Brooks song “Unanswered Prayers”? The song tells a story about a man and his wife bumping into an old high school girlfriend. Years before he would pray that that old girlfriend would one day be his wife. Then he goes on to say that some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. Well, today I’m not actually going to talk about unanswered prayers but about another gift from God: answered un-prayers.
I’ve discovered that God often answers “prayers” that we’ve never actually even prayed. I often look back and see how God has worked things out, and I didn’t even have to pray! I don’t know why I get so shocked by it sometimes.
Recently, I experience some answered un-prayers. My mom had asked me to get a hold of my siblings and arrange a date to do our family Christmas party. We do a separate gift exchange for the adults where the adults get together and play Dirty Santa. While the adults are playing all of the kids get together and organize a play or a retelling of the Nativity Story (ALWAYS entertaining).
My family Dirty Santa invite I sent out
Sometimes it can be a bit stressful trying to arrange a function that accommodates everyone. I was having trouble trying to find a date that would work for everyone. We had already been struggling to find a day and time to do the annual Christmas pictures of all the grandkids. Then it’s also occasionally difficult to work around families with shared custody with ex-spouses in order to work with what weekends they have the kids.
On top of that, it’s hunting season, so we have to accommodate the hunters in the family. Then we also have to schedule around volunteering for the church Christmas functions, attending church Christmas services and the rest of the holiday obligations (Christmas concerts, work parties, other family gatherings, gatherings with friends, and so on). It’s a lot to try to fit in this time of year!
I mentioned previously that I get some negative comments and emails from time to time. One that I had received was criticizing a post that I had written on how to pray for your unsaved loved ones. I had made an image graphic where you could just plug in a name into prewritten prayers. It’s been pretty popular on Pinterest which is where this particular individual ran across it.
This person claimed to be an atheist and found my image/prayer offensive. Since engaging in debates and arguments like this are not typically very productive, I didn’t respond to their comment. I just deleted it (per my policy). However, there was a statement this person had made about prewritten prayers that I wanted to address here. An accusation like this could cause some people to question whether their prayer is truly genuine. So I’d like to share my two cents on the matter to hopefully alleviate some doubts.
“Prewritten prayers are hardly from the heart.”
This commenter stated “Prewritten prayers are hardly from the heart.” I think that there might be a lot of people who would buy into this theory. I COMPLETELY DISAGREE WITH THIS STATEMENT. Therefore, I would like to address why prewritten prayers are not only okay but often beneficial.
Memorized and recited prayers can indeed be less than heartfelt at times. However, that does not mean that they are automatically or always lacking sincerity. Just because somebody else wrote the words doesn’t mean that I don’t feel the exact same way. Sometimes I can look at a prayer and think, “that describes my thoughts and feelings exactly”.
I was recently talking with a friend about the bad choices our kids make sometimes. We talked about how it breaks our hearts as parents to have to not only see them make bad choices but then to have to watch them experience the consequences. Then we discussed how similar God must feel when He has to do this with us when we make bad choices. I remembered journaling about this very thing a few years back. I went back through my journals, and here is what I had written:
My sister and I were just talking tonight about how I was frustrated with my kids lately. They seem to be misbehaving a little more than usual. I think they may be having a bit of cabin fever. Summer is nearly over and school is going to start soon. We haven’t been able to do as many of our usual activities as I would like due to the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing. It’s been miserable to do outside activities like the zoo, Big Splash, the pool, the park, golf, etc. Anyhow, I’ve been planning and wanting to do some fun stuff with them before the summer gets out, but it never fails that when I have a fun activity planned, they misbehave. I end up canceling and postponing our fun. I don’t really want to reward them when they’re behavior is bad, but at the same time it makes me so sad because I really want to do nice things for them and fun things with them. All of a sudden I had the thought, “I bet God feels like this sometimes.” It made me laugh because of how true it was. How many times has God wanted to bless us or do nice things for us, and we’ve just tied his hands? As much as we love and want to bless our children, our heavenly Father wants to do even more for us.
“So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” Matthew 7:11 (NLT)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
He’s a better parent than we are, yet still very just. Our sin separates us from God. His hands are tied by OUR wrongdoing.
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2 (NIV)
“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing…” Habakkuk 1:13a (NIV)
We need to rid our lives of sin and be obedient to God’s word. In return, God can shower us with blessings. God’s will is to bless those who do right. God wants more for us than we can ask or even imagine for ourselves. Our job is to obey and follow his guidance and directions and to make good choices, not bad choices.
“You bless all those who follow your commands from deep in their hearts.” Psalm 119:2 (CEV)
“Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.” Psalm 106:3 (NIV)
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)
We have to make choices, between good and bad/life and death, every day. Who we are depends on the choices we make. We are also where we are now because of the choices we have made in the past. The choices we make will determine the circumstances we end up with in our future. Our choices will hold responsibility and consequences. We will be held accountable for the choices we make. We are not victims. We are not a product of our environment–We are a product of our choices. So how can we help people we care about that are making bad choices?
I think a lot of times people just flippantly say “I’m praying for you” or “I’ll pray for you”, but more often than not, it’s just lip-service. They may truly mean it at the time, but then they might forget later or not make it a priority. Sometimes people just don’t know WHAT or HOW to pray for the other person making the prayer request. Today I’d like to help you out with this by giving you some suggestions for not just offering lip-service when a prayer request is made of you and for how to actually pray for that person when they ask.
To address the first issue, I’ll give you some tips for how to actually pray for them and not just say that you will. The first and best piece of advice that I can give you is what works for me. Stop whatever you are doing, and pray for them right then and there. You can’t forget to do it later if you do it right now. It should only take you a couple of minutes, if that. You don’t even have to pray out loud or even with them if that makes you uncomfortable. Just take a second to say a silent prayer on their behalf.
The next thing you can do is to make yourself a note to pray for them. Write yourself a reminder to pray for that person later and/or to check on them again to see how they are doing. I’ve found myself writing things on post-it notes, index cards, adding a note to my phone or setting a reminder alarm, and I even have a prayer request app on my phone that I use from time to time. I also write prayers in my quiet time journal. One thing that I haven’t started yet that I would like to start is a separate prayer journal. I’d like to have a place where I can write my own prayer requests to God along with others as a physical and tangible list and reminder. Then I’ll also be able to go back and mark when they were answered. Maybe a prayer journal would be a good idea for you too? The point is, when you write things down, it’s easier to remember to do them. Plus, you have a tangible reminder to do so.
“Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered” Psalms 105:5 (ESV)
This week I’m sharing the Top 10 Posts of 2015. I like to take the first of the year to recount some of the top or most popular posts of the previous year. I like to share them for a couple of reasons…
First, there are several new subscribers/followers who may not have seen or read these posts and might find some of them to be helpful.
Secondly, looking back also helps me to remember what God has done and is still doing through this website (that I oh-so-reluctantly started…and sometimes still reluctantly continue!).
Lastly, it helps me (and hopefully you too) know how to pray based on what the current need or demand is, and when I know that I know how to continue to pray for others. For example, 3 of the most popular posts have to do with leading someone to Christ or praying for someone to come to Christ. For starters this makes me SUPER excited to know that people are actively seeking these types of websites out. To me this means that the body of Christ is continuing to grow, and I know to continue to pray for the people who have come across these posts to have boldness to lead someone to the Lord and to agree in prayer with them that their unsaved loved ones will be saved and grow in their relationship with God. Another example, is that the posts about being unloved and unwanted are overwhelmingly popular…which makes me so sad to know that there are so many people feeling unloved and unwanted. I continue to pray that they will know and fully experience the love of God and of others.
Take Some Practical Steps:
As you look through this list of most popular posts, please take a minute to pray for one or more of the topics that stand out to you (like my examples above).
Please click on and read or re-read one or more of the posts from which you feel you may be able to receive some benefit or of which you might need some reminding.
Pay it forward…if one or more of the following posts has benefited you, please forward it/them to others you feel they may benefit (you might prayerfully consider who to share them with), or consider sharing them on your social media channels (sharing links are available at the end of each post).
Lastly, please pray for me this year to #1-continue to help others, #2-for me to have to right words at the right time, and #3-for the right people to be directed to my site for God to help them.
This past weekend we finished up a great revival at my church! I’m looking forward to some of the residual effects that it triggered in our community. And it all started with prayer, which is also our recent series topic. This week I’ll finish it up by discussing some hindrances to prayer. Prayer is a very powerful and effective force, but there are actually some things we can do that will hinder our prayers and their effectiveness. They are almost like road blocks.
When I think of hindrances to prayer I always think of a humorous story that Joe McGee told when speaking at our church one time. I can’t remember all of the details, but I remember him saying that he was praying one time when God spoke to him about how he was treating Denise, his wife. He had either been encountering problems or wasn’t getting an answer to prayer (I don’t recall), and he asked God about it. He said he heard clearly in his spirit that God told him to buy his wife the brand of soda and laundry detergent that she wanted. He had always just bought what he grew up with and was used to, neglecting her preferences. I think he even made a joke about the laundry detergent because she used Tide, and he said that was just sacrilegious since they were from Tennessee (major rivals of Alabama…aka Crimson TIDE). He said that God reminded him of 1 Peter 3:7 that said “…Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” God was trying to teach him to treat his wife well so that his prayers wouldn’t be hindered.
Aside from how we treat others, there are a few other things that can put a damper on our prayers. I’ve actually learned about 8 hindrances to prayer that can have a negative impact. Let’s take a look…