Sometimes it takes a crisis to move us from focusing our prayers just on ourselves to focusing them on others in our lives. For me, one of those moments came after a difficult season in which my middle son suffered a birth injury that doctors said would forever impact what he would be able to do. Like any mother would be, I was devastated and riddled with fears of the struggles my boy would face.
In a moment in which I could have turned inward to my own feelings and anxieties, the Lord used that time to grow me in my prayer life for my child. I asked the Lord, unashamedly, and repeatedly, to move in ways medical doctors said were impossible. And in many ways, God did.
Learning to talk with God about the people we love most is a way for us to care and help in situations that seem hopeless. Many times we make comments like, “Well, I guess all I can do is pray…” as if prayer is a last resort rather than a first response. Praying for friends and family is the greatest thing you can do to help, serve, and love them.
So today we look outside of ourselves and at the lives of those around us. Who is struggling with a physical ailment? Who needs hope in the middle of a trial? Who has been blessed in a way that we can praise God for His kindness?
Start with thinking about your family tree. Go through your spouse, children, parents, siblings, and extended family and talk to God about each of their needs, challenges, and joyful moments. Then move on to your friends, the ones who know you best, the ones you work beside, and the ones farthest away from the Lord.
Be systematic in your approach. Start from those closest in relationship to you and work your way out. Say a prayer for everyone you can think of, from that co-worker who drives you absolutely crazy to that aunt who has prayed for you throughout the years. Talk to God about the problems you wish you could solve in the lives of those around you that you know you can’t. Ask Him to step in where you’ve been trying to fix things for others and trust Him to work in their lives as much as He is in yours.
God hears our prayers for those we love. His love for them is even greater than ours. He sees the tears that fall when they are all alone and listens to every cry they let out in their pain. He understands the joy they feel in a new season they are embarking on as well as all the fears and doubts that may come with it. He knows which way the prodigal has wandered off to and the pain being endured by the cancer patient. He sees. He hears. He knows. Spend today loving your people by praying for them.
Prayer Prompt: Dear God, today I lift up __________________.
■ Pray for your immediate and extended family members as well as friends who are like family.
■ Pray for friends and family are going through a tough time and who don’t know Jesus or who are far from Him.