She looked at me and said, “I want to push back just a bit on that.”
A dear friend and I were having coffee, chatting about life and ministry. I had just said I write to process my thoughts on personal Bible study, and I share them on a public blog in hopes that they might encourage others. But I had no desire to publish my work beyond that platform.
“But the prayers you text me are so meaningful. I want to encourage you to share your prayers more widely,” she said.
Several years ago, in a sermon on prayer, my husband, also my pastor at that time, encouraged us to pray on the spot when others requested prayer. He challenged us to think about how often we casually say we will pray for others but walk away, forgetting to do that very thing. I had watched him model this point in his sermon. When a friend asked him to pray, he would often take my hand, draw close to that friend, and say, “Can we do that right now?”
In response to that sermon, I started sending a brief prayer as friends texted me or shared a request on social media. The feedback has been sweet and uplifting, but, of course, that was not my goal. My goal was simply to practice casting all our cares on God in a way that would bring glory to Him and bless the lives of others.
Writing prayers to friends and posting prayers for others to read became a way to express God’s love, inviting people to join me around the throne.
As the Apostle Paul wraps up his description of our spiritual armor in Ephesians 6, he instructs us how to appropriate or use that armor. He says, “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18 ESV).
Praying for others or intercessory prayer is not a spiritual gift given to just some Christians but a command for all of us to support one another in prayer. We see many examples of intercession in scripture. Moses often talked to God on behalf of the Israelites. Daniel interceded for Jerusalem. Stephen prayed for his murderers. And, of course, Paul prayed for churches.
Sometimes our prayers will need to be spoken, in the moment, without planning. But I want to emphasize the joy of writing out prayers. Written prayers allow us to focus clearly, be very intentional with our word choice and incorporate scripture.
I invite you to pause for a moment to allow the Spirit of God to bring someone to mind. Is there a specific need? How might you encourage them today in prayer?
There is no magic formula. I first ask God to help me pray for my friend and ask Him to give me words to say back to Him on her behalf. Then I write, first praising God, thanking Him for who He is. If scripture comes to mind, I personalize it, paraphrasing it to fit the moment. I use simple words, like a child asking her dad for help. I sandwich my request with thanksgiving and praise. And then I send it.
May I pray for you now?
Father, Your invitation to come boldly to Your throne always encourages my heart. We cast our cares on You today and ask You to give us the wisdom to follow You well. I lift up all those who are reading these words. May they find You to be their peace and joy. Increase our faith to honor You in all life’s circumstances. We humble ourselves before You, praying for Your will, Your way, and Your glory! Amen.
About the Author:
Beth Ferguson is a wife, mother, grandmother, writer, and retired educator. Still, she loves to volunteer in her grandsons’ schools and work with teachers as a part-time instructor for an online university. When not playing with the grandkids, she is reading, writing, and dabbling in home projects or enjoying rich conversations with friends over coffee. She lives in Texas with her husband, Ron.
Beth is active in her local church and enjoys studying scripture. Her writing reflects her interest in Biblical literacy and application of the Word to our lives.
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