prayer

Answers from Billy Graham on Prayer

Billy Graham once said, “Heaven is full of answers to prayer for which no one ever bothered to ask.”

It’s true that we often take advantage of the privilege of prayer and the blessings it brings. We get too busy, we forget, we even refuse to seek God or we do so casually, rather than with bold conviction.

Yet, there is no excuse for not conversing often with God.

“Prayer is more than a wish,” Billy Graham has said. “It is the voice of faith directed at God.”

Let these five answers from Billy Graham help you grow your prayer life. Share this list with friends and family to help them too.


Does prayer really change anything?
>> Read Billy Graham’s answer.

Why pray about something when it’s obvious what we should do?
>> Read Billy Graham’s answer.

Why should I pray if God might say no?
>> Read Billy Graham’s answer.

Does it do any good to pray for politicians and other world leaders?
>> Read Billy Graham’s answer.

I’m afraid to pray in my own words. Is this wrong?
>> Read Billy Graham’s answer.

prayer

Praying for Change

Hanging above the door in our house, my mother’s favorite plaque constantly reminded us, “Prayer changes things.” From an early age, I witnessed this powerful truth through her example. She’d tell me about some difficulties she was facing and then have me pray about them with her. And later, she’d always be sure to give God the glory when sharing the awesome news that He had answered those prayers. Indeed, this is our confidence: Anything we pray for that aligns with the Father’s plan will be granted. And the more time we spend with Him, the more we’ll come to understand His will and how to pray for it. Remember, prayer doesn’t change God’s mind, but it does transform the believer’s heart. Some requests are granted immediately, simply because we asked with the realization that our Father loves to give us good gifts. Other requests may require time or certain divine preparations before they can be given. We, meanwhile, must simply be diligent to persevere in prayer. Whatever the Lord’s response or timing, we trust that He has only the very best in store for His children. That means we might not receive exactly what we’re asking for, but something even better. Such is God’s great pleasure, for He alone perfectly knows each heart’s desire and wishes to fulfill it. Our most powerful tool for shaping the world and lives around us is always available. Prayer lets us witness God’s hand in any situation. And as we give attention, time, and perseverance to conversation with Him, we find no limit to what He can achieve in people’s hearts and circumstances.

James 5:16

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

prayer

15 Tips for a Deep and Effective Prayer Life

The following tips and quotes on praying effectively come from a new volume called Encouraged to Pray: Classic Spurgeon Sermons on Prayer.


1. Be specific in your asking.

“To make prayer of any value, there should be definite objects for which to plead. My brethren, we often ramble in our prayers after this, that, and the other, and we get nothing because in each we do not really desire anything.”

“Do not merely plead with God for sinners in general, but always mention some in particular. If you are a Sunday-school teacher, don’t simply ask that your class may be blessed, but pray for your children definitely by name before the Most High. And if there be a mercy in your household that you crave, don’t go in a round-about way, but be simple and direct in your pleadings with God.”

2. You must pray in faith.

“Unless I believe my prayer to be effectual it will not be, for on my faith will it to a great extent depend.”

“Do you always remember, beloved, in coming to the mercy-seat, that you are coming to a King, and to One who gives like a King? Do you always open your mouth wide, and ask great things of the King who is so ready to bestow them upon you?”

3. Fight distractions that keep you from prayer.

“Nor should a true Christian relax his prayer through mental difficulties, I mean those perturbations which distract the mind, and prevent the concentration of our thoughts. Such ills will happen to us.”

“It is a grand thing when the soul can bolt the doors against distractions, and keep out those intruders; for then it is that prayer and faith will perform their miracle, and our soul shall be filled with the blessing of the Lord.”

4. Focus on abiding in Christ for more fruit in prayer.

“Prayer is the natural outgushing of a soul in communion with Jesus. Just as the leaf and the fruit will come out of the vine-branch without any conscious effort on the part of the branch, but simply because of its living union with the stem, so prayer buds, and blossoms, and fruits out of souls abiding in Jesus.”

“Dear brethren, if we shut our ears to what Jesus tells us, we shall never have power in prayer, nor shall we enjoy intimate communion with the Well-beloved.”

5. Pray the promises of God.

“The best praying man is the man who is most believingly familiar with the promises of God. After all, prayer is nothing but taking God’s promises to him, and saying to him, “Do as thou hast said.” Prayer is the promise utilized. A prayer which is not based on a promise has no true foundation.”

6. Don’t give up in prayer—keep praying.

“When we cannot pray as we would, it is good to pray as we can.”

“If I feel myself disinclined to pray, then is the time when I need to pray more than ever.”

7. If you struggle getting started in prayer, read the Bible first and respond to what God says.

“If the flesh in its weakness hampers the spirit, then let the Bible reading come before the praying, that the soul may be awakened thereby.”

“Dear brethren, if we shut our ears to what Jesus tells us, we shall never have power in prayer, nor shall we enjoy intimate communion with the Well-beloved.”

“Dear Mr. Müller, who is a man living near to God, whose every word is like a pearl, said the other day, ‘Sometimes when I go into my closet to pray, I find I cannot pray as I would. What do I then? Why, since I cannot speak to the Lord, I beg the Lord to speak to me, and therefore I open the Scriptures and read my portion; and then I find the Lord gives me matter for prayer.’”

8. Regularly confess your sins.

“I never expect, until I get to heaven, to be able to cease confessing sin every day and every time I stand before God.”

“The very invitation to us to pray implies that there are blessings waiting for us at the mercy-seat: ‘let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace.’”

9. Don’t worry about praying eloquent prayers.

“A mother can translate baby-talk: she comprehends incomprehensible noises. Even so doth our Father in heaven know all about our poor baby talk, for our prayer is not much better.”

“True prayer is measured by weight, and not by length. A single groan before God may have more fulness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length.”

10. When we don’t feel like praying, pray for help.

“Not to pray because you do not feel fit to pray is like saying, ‘I will not take medicine because I am too ill.’ Pray for prayer: pray yourself, by the Spirit’s assistance, into a praying frame.”

“Pray for prayer—pray till you can pray; pray to be helped to pray, and give not up praying because thou canst not pray, for it is when thou thinkest thou canst not pray that thou art most praying; and sometimes when thou hast no sort of comfort in thy supplications, it is then that thy heart all broken and cast down is really wrestling and truly prevailing with the Most High.”

11. Pray humbly.

“I have heard prayers that have seemed to me like dictating to God, rather than the humble, reverent petitions which should be presented by the creature to the Creator, or by the children of God to their loving Father in heaven. We are to come boldly unto the throne of grace, yet always with submission in our hearts…”

12. Dedicate yourself to prayer for a deeper spiritual life and more useful ministry.

“The best way by which a prophet and teacher and learner can know the reserved truths, the higher and more mysterious truths of God, is by waiting upon God in prayer.”

“The saint may expect to discover deeper experience and to know more of the higher spiritual life, by being much in prayer.”

13. Pray without ceasing.

“If I am to pray without ceasing, then every second must be suitable for prayer, and there is not one unholy moment in the hour, nor one unaccepted hour in the day, nor one unhallowed day in the year.”

“As we breathe without ceasing, so must we pray without ceasing.”

“When prayer is a mechanical act, and there is no soul in it, it is a slavery and a weariness; but when it is really living prayer, and when the man prays because he is a Christian and cannot help praying, when he prays along the street, prays in his business, prays in the house, prays in the field, when his whole soul is full of prayer, then he cannot have too much of it.”

14. Pray big prayers.

“Our needs are great, let our askings be great, and the supply shall be great too.”

“Think not that God will be angry with thee for asking too much from him, and imagine not that thou wilt insult him by asking him for little things. If thou art a believer in Jesus, God is thy Father, so speak to him as thou wouldst to thine earthly father, only have far more confidence in coming to him than thou wouldst have in approaching the most affectionate earthly parent.”

15. Cultivate a grateful heart.

“You shall get your answers to prayer when you multiply your thanksgivings in all your prayers and supplications: rest you sure of that.”

“Do not pump up unwilling and formal prayer, my brethren; but take down the hymn-book and sing. While you praise the Lord for what you have, you will find your rocky heart begin to dissolve and flow in rivers.”

 

prayer

A Biblical Basis for Prayer

How often have we asked ourselves these questions?  . . . When should I pray? . . . What should I say? . . . Where should I pray? . . . Why should I pray?  . . . Will my praying really make a difference?  . . . and the question for this month is . . . What is prayer?  By examining God’s Word, we can discover ‘what prayer is’ and ‘what prayer is not’. We read many prayers of faithful saints throughout the Bible and Jesus gave us clear instructions as He modeled prayer and taught His disciples how to pray.

‘Lord teach us to pray as you prayed’

Jesus is our perfect example for prayer as He modeled a love relationship between Him and His Father during His time here on earth.  Jesus lived a lifestyle of praying before His disciples – they even asked Him to teach them to pray as we read in Luke 11:1 – ‘And it came to pass that, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray…’ The disciples had witnessed Jesus spending many hours praying with His Father.  Jesus stepped away often from the busyness and the crowds to spent time with His Father praying before decisions, praying for strength when tempted, praying for direction, praying the Father’s will, praying in the garden before He paid the sacrifice for our sins at Calvary.  Prayer does not come naturally to most believers – it is learned as it is modeled by others, taught, and put into practice.  Our prayer is that all of us will develop such a love relationship with our Heavenly Father that we will pray without ceasing as we bring glory to God and see Christ’s Kingdom work accomplished here on earth.

  • Prayer is not to be feared

Prayer is living in the presence of God as we engage in intimate conversation with a Heavenly Father Who is always pursuing a love relationship with His child. We were created for His pleasure and fellowship as we read in Revelation 4:11b- ‘You have created all things, and for Your pleasure they are and were created’.  God loves us so much that He provided a way for our salvation so that He could fellowship with us. Jeremiah 33:3 tells us that God promises to answer us if we call on Him and He will show us mighty things that we could never know.  Our loving response back to God should be the same as the psalmist David in Psalms 42:1 ‘Father, as the deer pants for water, so my heart pants for You’.

  • Prayer is not primarily about you

Prayer is focused on God, Who He is and His desires.  The model prayer that Jesus taught His disciples in Matthew 6:9-13 begins and ends with praise and adoration for God – ‘Our Father, Who are in Heaven, hallowed by Thy name . . . for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever.’  As Elaine Helms shares in her book, Prayer101, ‘We become like who we worship, so keeping our eyes on Jesus as we pray will draw us closer to Him.  Getting to know the names and attributes of God will help us know what our objective is in becoming more Christlike.’  (for further study, names and attributes of God related to the monthly focus  will be found under the tab ‘Listening and Responding to God’)

  • Prayer is not having to wonder what to pray

Prayer is listening to God speak through His Word and the Holy Spirit directing us to pray back to God His Words so His will is accomplished on earth as it has already been in Heaven (Matthew 6:10).  The priority of prayer is the will of God.  As we ‘delight ourselves in the Lord’ (Psalms 37:4), our heart will line up with His and we’ll know what to pray.  The more we read His Word, the more we will begin to see our world from His perspective.  He will direct our prayers and as Elaine Helms shares in her book, Prayer101, ‘God will include us in His work here on earth as He invites us into partnership with Him to implement His own decisions in the affairs of mankind.’  This is why we are prompted to intercede on behalf of the spiritually lost, our family, those in authority, our churches, other Christians, the work of missionaries around the world, etc.  It is ‘joy unspeakable and full of glory’ as we work with our Heavenly Father by praying the prayers He wants prayed to accomplish His plans and to see the glory of God in our world today.  A quote from Andrew Murray – ‘My prayer life must be brought entirely under the control of Christ and His love.  Then, for the first time, will prayer become what it really is, the natural and joyous breathing of the spiritual life, by which the heavenly atmosphere is inhaled and then exhaled in prayer’.

  • Prayer is not about giving God a wish list of wants

Prayer is a moment by moment trusting and believing that God knows what is best for us in every situation.  Jesus tells us in the model prayer that we are to ask for ‘our daily bread’.  God has promised to provide our daily needs and He will as Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:25-34.  Our first and foremost desire should be as stated in Matthew 6:33 – ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.’  He wants us to depend on Him daily for our needs just as the children of Israel were given manna for each day.  The motive for all that we ask should not be our own selfish wants, but that God will be glorified  in our relationships, careers, family, finances, ministry, etc.

  • Prayer is not passive

Prayer is actively engaging in a battle against the Enemy for souls and Christ’s Kingdom. Satan doesn’t want us to have an intimate love relationship with our Father.  When we become a child of God, we are identified with Christ and become an enemy of Satan as we read in Ephesians 6:12 – ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’  As a solder in God’s army, He provides us with the uniform of His Spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10-19), as we prepare for battle using the Word of God and prayer as our offensive weapons against the Enemy.   Our charge as praying Christians is unity.   To use a few of the words in the song ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ – ‘Like a mighty army moves the church of God; We are not divided, all one body we’ emphasizes the strength of all of us actively engaging in prayer together.  Jesus’ prayer for His disciples and us in John 17:21 was and still is today – ‘That they may all be one, even as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me’.  Elaine Helms shares in her book, Prayer 101 – ‘We can link arms with intercessors around the world like highways on a map and bring the power of God to earth as it is in heaven’.  Let’s stay alert in the Spirit and persevere in prayer to set captives free from the enemy.  We are blessed to be a solder in God’s army.

‘The Holy Spirit has us by one hand as He indwells us and Jesus has us by the other hand as He is at the right hand of God – so we’re in pretty good company when we are praying’.  (T. W. Hunt)

Download A Biblical Basis for Prayer as a PDF

Source: oneinprayer.net

Bible, prayer

Quiet Time With God

What is a“Quiet Time”?

A “Quiet Time” is a daily personal appointment with God, during which we get away from distractions and meet with God through prayer and Bible study. Through these disciplines God talks to us and we talk to God.

Why is Connecting Daily with God through a Quiet Time so Important?

It reminds us that we belong to God.
Jesus said, “I choose you!” (John 15:16)
It creates room for God in our busy lives.
“Be still and know that I the LORD, and wait patiently for him.”
(Psalm 37:7)
It builds our relationship with God through regular communication.
“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God
and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
It helps give direction to our lives as followers of Jesus Christ.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
(Psalm 119: 105)
It enables to live deep and fulfilling lives.
My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28)
I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)

What are some Practical Steps to do a Quiet Time?

Set some time aside during a day, or every day. Start with about 15 minutes and you work up to 30 minutes and more for each day.
Pick a place that you want to go to be alone:
It doesn’t matter where you go (a lake, bedroom, roof, park, etc.). The important thing is that you get rid of all distractions. Get away from people, phones, the internet, computers, anything that would detour your thoughts from God.

Get your Materials Together
A Bible 
A notebook and pen
A songbook, favorite worship tape/CDs & player
A reading plan 

Follow a Simple Plan
Relax, Be Quiet before God – ask God to settle your mind and heart and then to become present with you! It is difficult to set aside all the voices in our lives that compete for our attention. Here are some practical activities to help you.
Bring a pad of paper, and ask God to quickly bring to mind the important tasks that need to be accomplished that day. Write them down and set the pad of paper aside. This practice will allow you to release these concerns knowing that you will return to them later.
Turn your mind toward God. Think about who he is, what he has done, and your relationship with him. This intentional focusing on God begins your quiet time.
Worship-
Praise – for who God is.
Thanksgiving – for what God has done.
Adoration – express to God your love for Him
Listen and/or sing a worship song or two to God.
Bible – Read a section (eg. 6-12 verses), asking God to speak to you through the Word.
Read slowly, repeatedly, aloud, asking yourself the following questions:
For what specifically can I offer praise to God (Father/Jesus/the Holy Spirit)?
What do I see about what God has done for which I can thank Him?
Is there any example for me to follow?
Is there any command for me to obey?
Is there any sin or error for me to forsake?
Is there any promise for me to claim?
Write down in your notebook anything you observe and learn from God in the passage.
Pray – Talk to God
About anything you’ve just read in the Bible.
About your requests for others (family, loved ones, Christian friends, non-Christian friends, family and colleagues, our church, government, missions).
About what you need (confession and forgiveness of sin, Christlikeness, daily filling of His Holy Spirit, work, finances, family, relationships, witness).
These are just some guidelines, and not a strict formula you have to follow to get something out of your quiet times. You can start with this model and move on to tweak it to mold into a model that is the most beneficial for you.

prayer

Making Time to Pray

With so many competing time demands, why should we pause to seek the Lord in prayer? Among the many reasons, here are three essential ones to make time to pray:

Prayer Honors God

It’s said that you can tell the popularity of the church by the number who show up on Sunday morning; you can tell the popularity of the church’s pastor by the number who show up on Sunday night; and you can tell the popularity of Jesus by the number who show up to the prayer meeting.

What has happened to our churches? You call a prayer meeting today and very few people show up. I know of a church of 5,000 in Denver that called a prayer meeting and only five people came.

That’s a far cry from the day a century earlier when the entire city of Denver paused for prayer — “even at the high tide of business.” The Jan. 20, 1905, Denver Post reported: “Seldom has such a remarkable sight been witnessed — an entire great city, in the middle of a busy weekday, bowing before the throne of heaven and asking and receiving the blessing of the King of the Universe.”

Oh, that believers would honor God in prayer and seek the Lord similarly today!

Prayer Teaches Us

We may earnestly desire God’s glory. We may pour our lives into serving others for His sake. Still, we have to admit that, try as we might to avoid doing so, our own agendas taint our prayers. What can we do about these mixed motives?

Let God search you. When we pray for God to cleanse our hearts and our motives as David did in Psalm 139:23-24, it is important to yield the search-and-destroy mission to Him. He will bring wrong motives to our attention and lead us into repentance.

Confess mixed motives. Ignoring them won’t make them go away. While they may always lurk, Jesus invites us to confess them and receive forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9).

Ask God to teach you. As we surrender to His refining hand, we can ask Him to redirect our hearts and and cause pure motives to rise to the surface (as the psalmist did in Psalm 119:36).

Grow in thanksgiving. When we thank Him, we’re not looking for anything from Him. We’re focusing on Him and thanking Him out of a heart that’s full from what He’s given.

Prayer Changes Things

It’s said that Habakkuk means “wrestler,” and the prophet sure did grapple with God. He saw fellow Hebrews worshiping idols and sacrificing their children to foreign gods, and he cried out for justice. But it seemed his prayers weren’t getting through.

The short book of Habakkuk records the “wrestling match,” even when the Lord did answer and it wasn’t what the prophet had prayed for. But by the third chapter, observe and be encouraged in your own prayer life by the prophet’s new view and renewed trust.

Habakkuk stopped looking around and started seeing things from God’s perspective. He resolved to live by faith in light of who God is, what He has done and is doing, and what he has promised to do — not only in the world, but also in his own life.

Are you grappling with God? Let Jesus’ prayer be yours: “not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). And let Him know you agree that the Father knows best.

Article by Dean Ridings

prayer

How Do I Talk to God?

Whether you’re searching for God or a longtime believer, there’s a good chance you have questions about prayer. How exactly are you supposed to pray? And why should you do it? Here are some guidelines from Billy Graham.

How do I talk to God?

Billy Graham: Prayer is simply talking to God—and the most important thing I can say about this is that God wants you to talk to Him! He loves us and He has promised to hear us when we pray. How can you learn to pray? First, understand why prayer is possible.

Prayer is possible because Jesus Christ has removed the barrier between us and God—a barrier caused by our sins. You see, sin separates us from God, and because of that we have no right to come before Him. But by His death on the cross, Christ paid the penalty for our sins and removed the barrier. God then gives us the privilege of coming into His presence when we commit our lives to Christ.

The Bible says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). If you have never done so, ask Christ to come into your life today.

Then understand that God now welcomes you into His presence and promises to hear you—and He cannot lie. The Bible says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14). Trust His promises and learn to bring every concern to Him in prayer.

Does God only hear us when we pray out loud or does He hear silent prayers also? Please forgive me if this is a dumb question, but I didn’t grow up in a religious home and have just become a Christian.

Billy Graham: Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions when you don’t understand something about the Christian life; after all, God wants you to come to know Him more and more each day. Jesus’ disciples repeatedly asked for His help, and so should we. On one occasion they said, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).

Yes, God hears our prayers on all occasions, whether we’re praying out loud or praying silently in our hearts and minds. After all, He knows all about us and knows what is going on inside us—both good and bad. The Bible says that God “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The Bible also says, “The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him” (Proverbs 15:26).

God even hears our prayers when we can’t even put them into words—times, for example, when our hearts are too burdened or confused even to speak. The Bible says, “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26).

One of God’s greatest gifts to us is the privilege of prayer—a privilege that is possible because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Thank God for the privilege of prayer and learn daily to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Does God really answer prayers?

Billy Graham: Prayer is one of our greatest privileges as God’s children, and even if God doesn’t seem to answer your prayers at first, don’t stop praying. God loves you, and no prayer goes unanswered.

Jesus once told a story about a poor widow who repeatedly asked a corrupt judge to do what was right. (You can read it in Luke 18:1-8.) Repeatedly the judge refused—not because her request was wrong, but because he just didn’t care.

But because of her persistence, he eventually gave in and granted her what she deserved. In a far greater way, Jesus said, God (who is righteous and does care for us) hears the prayers of His people, and we must never give up.

But let me add two things. First, realize that sometimes God is actually answering our prayers when we don’t realize it—and the reason is because His answer may be “No” or “Wait.” Yes, we think we know what’s best for us—but God sees the whole picture, and sometimes He lovingly refuses to give us what we request, because He knows it isn’t according to His perfect plan.

Second, remember that we have the privilege of coming to God only because Jesus Christ died for our sins. Have you given your life to Him? If not, let your first prayer be one of confession and faith, asking Him to come into your life as your Lord and Savior.

prayer

Prayer for 2017

Dear Heavenly Father,

We worship you and thank you for a new year. We thank you for the new mercies, greater grace, and fuller life that it will bring. May it be a year full of your favor in our lives. Keep your hand of blessing on us so that we can bless others. Open up doors that have been closed in the past. Lead us beside still water so that our souls are refreshed this year. Bring restoration to the parts of our lives that have been shattered and broken.

You alone are our strong foundation. You are the One we build our lives on. May we see growth and progress spiritually, financially, and emotionally in 2017. We know that you are good, and that you have good things for us. We give you the freedom to move and work in our lives this year as you see fit. Your plan for our lives is better than any plan we could ever come up with. We submit to you, your plans, and your goals for our lives.

Help us to have enough oil in our lamps to do the work you’ve called us to. Put the right people in our lives to stir up your gifts inside us, to move us in the direction you would have us go, and to maximize our potential. Help us to add value to our friends, family, and those who cross our path this year. Give us God ideas on how to build others up so they are rightfully restored to the people you created them to be.

Give us greater wisdom in all areas of our life so we make better choices this year. Give us discernment so we can know your voice, your path, and your direction in our lives. May this be a year of tremendous growth, productivity, and expansion for us and your Kingdom. Use us to spread your light, your life, and your compassion so that you will be lifted up and people will be drawn to you. Thank you for all you’re going to do, and we give you all the honor and glory as we dedicate this year to you.

In Jesus name we pray,

Amen!

prayer

How to Pray Everyday

We love people. We want God’s best for them. We quickly say, “I’ll pray for you” to those going through tough times — a family member, neighbor, grocery store clerk, pastor or friend from church. But do we?

Here’s a creative, helpful way to have a “place” for every prayer request so you can be sure to pray. Think of it as a way to pray every day.

Monday: Pray for Your Family

Take time to pray for each member of your family. Include extended family members. Entrust each one to the Lord. Wherever they are in their relationship with God, pray that He draws them “ever one step closer.” Be as specific as you can as you pray that He will meet them at their point of need.

Tuesday: Pray for God’s Family

Pray for the church, starting with your local church. Pray for your pastor(s), ministry leaders (e.g., elders, deacons, missionaries, teachers, nursery workers) and their families. Who else in the church needs prayer? Now think of the church around the world. Pray that the Gospel would be preached “as of first importance” (1 Corinthians 15:1-11).

Wednesday: Pray for Your Community

Think about the groups where you are an “insider” and pray for the people you see regularly — those you live near, work with, bump into at school or the store, and so forth. How have they asked you to pray for them? Pray that the Lord will meet each one at his or her point of need, both physically and spiritually, according to His will.

Thursday: Pray for the Nation

Pray for the revival of God’s people, and that we’ll truly love and serve those around us. Pray for those in authority. Ask God to bring to mind local and national spiritual and political leaders, and pray for each. Pray about national issues and challenges, such as the economy and its impact on everyday families.

Friday: Pray for the World

Pray that God will use His people to help others “to know Christ and to make Him known.” Pray that revived Christ followers would respond with Jesus’ love, grace, compassion and wisdom to social struggles — add to your prayer list specific needs you are aware of. Pray for the persecuted church. Finally, pray for the advance of the Gospel everywhere, toward Matthew 24:14.

Saturday: Pray for the Helpless, Hopeless, Hurting and Lost

As part of a regular Pray Every Day strategy, on Saturdays take time to pray for the down-and-out. Start with the world, draw closer to your nation, closer to your state, and closer still to your own community. List the names of and pray for the physically and spiritually afflicted. Pray specifically for ministries that are reaching out to the helpless, hopeless, hurting and lost.

Sunday: Pray for Personal Guidance

Finally, take time to pray for your own personal needs. Sometimes we pray for everything and everyone else but forget to pray for ourselves. On Sundays, pull away and pray for yourself. Walk with God through every aspect of your life — your personal, family, work, community, and church aspects of your life. Say, “Speak whatever to me, Lord, I’m listening!”

See how this can help you become more intentional in your prayer life? Indeed, prayer is the most important conversation of the day — with the Creator of the universe who is there, who cares, and who listens with an ear to respond both for His glory and for the good of people!