The Best Way to Pray
Here’s the truth …
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).
Prayer can be daunting. My husband and I spent much time each morning a few years back trying to pray about everyone and everything, each and every morning when we'd awaken, only for my husband to say, “We have to stop! We gotta get to work!”
With all sorts of needs out there, how in the world could we cover them all during our prayer time? We would try to pray for marriages on the rocks, health issues, job crises, relationship woes, the President, our church, our daughter’s future, world peace, etc., all in the morning hours before we’d even begin our day. It truly became exhausting!
I bemoaned my state to a friend of mine, and she suggested that I categorize my prayers so that I could use the entire week to get through them instead of trying to pack them all into one prayer session. Below is what I came up with to tackle every need I could think of.
Praise God for all the blessings He’s given to you in your marriage. Any trait in your spouse or something that your spouse did that you have really appreciated recently? Specifically thank God for it.
Pray for the struggling marriages in your circle of friends and family.
If you are single, pray for your future spouse as well as for the single folks in your circle to find a good spouse.
Pray for the couples that aren’t struggling to be able to stay committed to each other and to grow in their marriage.
We have seen much fruit in the couples we know from these prayers.
Praise God for all the financial blessings He’s given to you. How has He provided for you (reliable transportation, home with heat, food on the table)? Any area where God has gone above and beyond lately in pouring out blessings to you?
Pray for your finances and for the finances of your church and friends and family members.
Pray for anyone in your circle who is out of work to find employment.
Pray for our national debt to get paid.
Pray for God to show you ways to be a financial blessing to others.
Praise God for your good health. If you are not suffering with a major illness, thank God for that. Focus on the positive. If you can only hear out of one ear, thank God for your one good ear!
Pray for those who are physically or emotionally sick.
Pray for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
Pray for those who are lonely.
Pray for the overall wellness of our country.
Pray for God to give you ideas of how to be a blessing to those who are suffering in some way.
Praise God for good friendships, helpful family members, peaceful gatherings.
Any broken or strained relationships? Pray for any harmony that’s needed in your relationships. Pray for God to give you wisdom for handling that relationship with care.
Pray for harmony in your church. You need to be thankful for the fact that you have healthy church. Pray that it stays that way.
Pray for our country’s relationships with other countries in the world.
Pray for your enemies here. Pray for God to give you compassion for them.
Pray for people in your circle who don’t know Jesus to develop a relationship with Him.
Praise God for bringing children into your life in some way. Their childlike approach to life can be a refreshing reminder not to take life so seriously and to have a childlike faith when trusting God for your needs.
Pray for your children or for any kids in your life (nieces, nephews, students, neighbors).
Pray that God directs their steps. Pray for God to grant you wisdom as a parent or an authority figure in that child’s life.
Pray for the child’s career path, marriage, purity, good decision-making, spiritual growth, etc.
Even if your child is young, start praying right now the same things for his/her future spouse.
So there you have it! This plan should be adapted to your preferences and concerns, of course. You might choose Missionary Mondays, for example, or Work-Related Wednesdays.
I can tell you that before implementing this strategy of creating daily prayer topics, my prayers had become way too long and unfocused. I found that I was able to pray more fervently when I could devote an entire day to one topic and not shortchange the other topics since they would be prayed about later in the week.
The alternatives to organizing your prayer life? Either pray for everything you can think of every day or wander around aimlessly letting life happen to you without praying at all. God’s Word says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT). Prayer, then, brings the kind of peace we crave. We also know that “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (James 5:16 NLT). You can’t get those results without giving it a try!
… and that’s the truth as I know it!