Personalizing Our Prayers
"Save my children, dear Lord," prayed Liz, weeping. "Sharon and Kent have turned away from You and no longer have any desire to live a godly life."
Liz got up from the couch and walked over to the family portrait that hung on the dining room wall. She took it off the hook and went back to the living room. Liz stood with the photo held heavenward. "You gave me these precious children, and my heart breaks, for they are far from You," cried Liz. "Please send the Holy Spirit to them and draw them back."
Many Christian parents weep daily for their children who are no longer living a Christian life or who have never known the blessed gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Photographs of our children remind us to send a silent prayer to the Lord for their souls. We are moved with great emotion and our intercession becomes intense. However, praying for people we don't know may become an obligation.
The Bible tells us to "be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6, NKJV). The Lord knows that we are prone to worry, so He tells us to have faith that He is able to take care of our concerns.
Yet, the Lord also tells us, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16, NKJV). Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (1975) describes "fervent" as "very hot, glowing, marked by great warmth of feeling, exhibiting deep sincere emotion." The fervency of our petitions will grow by personalizing our prayer.
There are many needs in our nation that need our prayers.
Christian teachers, principals, administrators, and students in the public school system are "missionaries" in our own neighborhoods. The attack of the enemy on our schools is increasing, and we need to pray for them every day. Since Jesus tells every Christian to be His witness, what better opportunity than to be part of the public school system?
How can we energize our prayers for the public schools? Drive by one of them in your area when the children are playing outside or waiting for the school bus. The Lord loves these precious children just as much as He loves our own. However, unless we have children attending a public school, most Christians never think to pray for them. Seeing the children will help us to personalize our prayers; we can pray more fervently for the Lord to work in their lives and in the school system.
Our national leaders need our prayers too. Whether the leaders are Christians or not, we can ask the Lord to use them to bring about godly changes in our government. If we go to the government website for our state, we should be able to find photos of senators and representatives. If we print the photos and use them as reminders during prayer time, we will have a greater sense that we are praying for a person, not just a name.
Personalizing our prayer lists may take a little effort, but our prayer lives will be enriched as we bring each of these people and issues before God. The Lord doesn't need a photo to remind Him of whom we're praying for, but personalizing the people He has placed on our hearts will bring our prayer times alive for us.