Previously we covered the overall purpose of the Lettering Prayer Journal and the internal categories that deal with your heart before God. Today’s post delves into the external categories - outside yourself - within the Lettering Prayer Journal.
Most people find it easy to pray for themselves. Our worries and concerns are always at the forefront of our minds. This isn't a bad thing. But it is unbalanced, because the Bible explicitly tells us to pray for others. And not just people we like, but our enemies too (Matthew 5:44). It takes extra intentionality to do this, but praying for these external categories shifts your mind off yourself and on to the people and world around you.
Sometimes the events in the world and in people's lives can feel overwhelming, making me wonder if there is anything worthwhile that I can do. I recently heard a news anchor comment that, sure you can pray for the people who are hurting post-hurricane Harvey, but the most important thing you can do is get out and help. I'd argue that she has it backwards. Prayer is not a cop out. Yes, Christians are to be the hands and feet of Jesus, but if our efforts are not backed up by prayer, they are for naught. Prayer is the most powerful tool at our disposal. Let’s use it!
"Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the omnipotent muscle of God.” -Charles Spurgeon
Praying for others is an essential part of the Christian faith and a tremendous blessing. Here are the external (outward) categories included in the Lettering Prayer Journal to intentionally get you praying for others:
Sometimes it's hard to pray for the people closest to you – your family. Often these relationships are strained or shaded by everyday annoyances, irritations, arguments. But these are the people who you have the greatest opportunity to impact. Pray for their health, safety, salvation, and for specific concerns with each person. If you're not close with your family, ask God to restore those relationships.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
We’ve probably all heard the casual, “I’ll pray for you.” Do we believe that? How many times have we said it and not followed through? Ouch. As Christians, we can grow with one another by consistent, fervent prayer for our friends. How much better will they feel hearing, “I wrote you down in my prayer journal and prayed for you this week.” Or more specifically, "I prayed _______ for you this week." Tell them what you prayed: I prayed safety for you, or God's strength for you, or supernatural wisdom on you.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
There are many kinds of sickness, and there are many ways to grieve. Notice when someone is dealing with a difficult circumstance – a disease, depression, a troubled marriage/relationship, loss, or a financial hardship, and lift them up in prayer. You may be the only person in that individual's life that will pray for them today.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
God has placed you in a specific place at this specific time. It might be a job you wish you could leave or a school you didn't want to attend, but you are there for a reason. Pray for the people and leaders in your sphere of influence, including your pastor, church, school, neighbors and coworkers. Ask God to give you a burden for the lost and show you how to make an impact where He has placed you.
“Seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.” Jeremiah 29:7
Praying for those in authority is a Biblical command. Without question, the international community needs our prayers! With terrorist attacks on the rise, wars and rumors of wars, with the great tension and culture war in America, we must pray. Pray for world leaders, pray for Christians who are being persecuted in the Middle East, pray for the salvation of the lost and for the gospel to reach all nations. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and that our country will always be a friend to the Jews - God tells us he will bless those who deal favorably with Israel.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you." Psalm 122:6
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4
In addition to the categories given, the Lettering Prayer Journal also includes a blank space that you can use for anything that might further enrich your prayer life. Consider adding a custom category, detailing how previous prayers have been answered, or noting additional verses and quotes that spoke to you. Sometimes I write a "diary" type entry of what God did during the week that I want to remember.
The more I seek God in prayer, the more exciting it gets. I trust my heavenly Father, and I trust that he hears and he won't withhold good from my life. (Psalm 84:11)
“I’ve learned to praise God when the answer is no, not just when the answer is yes. It simply means I’m asking for the wrong thing or for the wrong reason or at the wrong time.” - Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle (James 4:3)
I pray you experience a deeper, more meaningful walk with God as in prayer. I hope you’ve enjoyed walking through the Lettering Prayer Journal with me!
What are some of your challenges in praying for those around you? How have you been successful in consistently praying for your community and the world? Share your thoughts in the comments!
With love and lettering,
Ready to dive in? You can purchase the Lettering Prayer Journal here!
Want to try it before you buy it? Download a free week of prayer pages below.