Throughout this pandemic, prayer has become a greater priority for many.
Perhaps, like me, while COVID has disrupted your social life, it hasn’t debilitated you. Meanwhile, you have family and friends who have endured greater hardship, and therefore, they’ve been further impressed upon your heart at this time.
So, how do you pray for them? How do you effectively bring these loved ones and all of their health, finance, and emotional concerns before God’s throne?
This is a question I’ve been asking for the past five years. At LIFE 100.3 we’ve held intercessory prayer meetings with our staff and members of the community since 2016. I launched this initiative with the utter gratitude that it’s our churches and businesses in Central Ontario enabling our station to stay on-air. We ought to pray for them.
Throughout these meetings, we’ve seen incredible fruit in answers to prayer. From youth salvations to house sales to timely and abundant church donations, it’s been very encouraging. That being said, these meetings haven’t been without their share of disappointment: low attendance turnouts, job losses for businesses we’ve prayed for, and even a member of our community taking his own life.
The following are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way in praying for others.
1) Intercessory Prayer is about continuing the conversation (Tim Keller)
Prayer is precisely talking with God, and God most predominantly speaks to us through His Word. Therefore, in digesting the Holy Scriptures, in immersing yourself in what He has said, you’ll be fit to respond to Him. What’s different about this conversation than one that you’d have with a close friend is that God begins. He is our starting point.
The common ACTS prayer acronym starts with A for this reason. It’s most helpful to begin prayer with adoration. After all, this is how Jesus taught us to begin our prayers, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matt. 6:9). Prayer begins with praise. The bigger you see God, the bigger you’ll pray.
Intercessory prayer is about continuing the conversation because in doing so you’re more inclined to take a posture of reverence, and you’re also opening yourself up to greater intimacy.
What I mean by that is when you orient your prayers in the Bible; this ensures you’re walking on a two-way street.