Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus Saves"1 (Lyrics)
James 5:16b – The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (NLT)
"I'll be praying for you" are words which can be a soothing balm to our troubled souls in our time of need. Alas, though genuine and heartfelt, my promise to pray for others is sometimes soon forgotten. After years of feeling regretful and neglectful about my casual prayer life, I have developed a plan that has helped me to feel much more consistent and organized in my daily intercessory prayer. Rather than feeling as though I have to pray around the world every day, I have divided my prayer concerns into daily divisions which, like the concentric rings which form when a pebble is tossed into a lake, increase in scope and breadth as the week progresses. This not only gives me a good framework for systematically and consistently praying for others, but it also serves as a good memory device. Of course, I am not limited to praying for someone only on "their" day. I can pray for them anytime they come to mind. Prayer is free of charge, unblockable, and goes directly to the throne of God.
Here's what my intercessory prayer schedule looks like:
Sunday: my church – I focus on the ongoing needs of our congregation, specifically praying for my brothers and sisters in Christ and those who lead us.
Monday: my immediate family – I pray for my daughter and son-in-law and for my teenage grandchildren in all the concerns of their daily lives.
Tuesday: my extended family – The needs of my siblings, in-laws, nieces, and nephews are in my prayers for this day.
Wednesday: my friends – This broad category includes church friends, my neighbours, and friends from the various activities that I'm involved in.
Thursday: my community – People on my street, in my neighbourhood, community, city, and state are all an important part of my life and are in need of much prayer.
Friday: my nation – I pray fervently for my nation and its leaders as we face uncertain times which greatly affect all of us.
Saturday: the world – I pray for people all around the world, but especially for fellow Christians, particularly persecuted ones, and for Christian workers who are serving overseas. I also pray for our natural world which God has created with all of its vital resources.
This systematic pattern of prayer ensures that I will be regularly praying for others as I would want them to be praying for me. Our prayer for one another is vital and brings God much pleasure as He sees our love and concern for one another.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, forgive us when we are negligent in prayer. Guide us as we pray for our own needs and for the needs of others. Open our hearts as we speak to You about these needs. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.