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If you’re like me, then there are times when praying is hard for you. I’ve written in the past about ways that I pray when I don’t feel like praying. But today I’m writing about the very best piece of advice about prayer that I have ever gotten–and it has really transformed my relationship with all of those names on my prayer list.
About a year ago, a woman in her 80s approached me at a large women’s Bible study. It was the second or third meeting and I was new and in a sea of over a hundred ladies—it’s easy to blend in and remain unnoticed. I had shared briefly with the group, basically just to introduce myself—but outside of that, I had never spoken directly to her. Anyway, she told me that during her daily prayer time the Lord told her to pray a specific passage of scripture for me.
“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” ( 1 Peter 4:11 NIV)
Wow! It’s like God used this woman to say, “Hey Ally! I see you!”
What an amazing feeling that was—to be truly seen!
So I made a promise to pass that feeling on—to be open to the nudge of God and risk possible embarrassment. When I tell people that God told me to pray a specific scripture for them, I never really know how they will react. But it has really enhanced not only my prayer and spiritual life but my social life as well. Most people are actually really thankful.
It’s been almost a year now and I have learned to love praying the scriptures. See, I never felt like I was praying the “right” words. I would get easily distracted or sidetracked because I was trying to search for the perfect platitude. I know that there isn’t really a wrong way to pray when I’m speaking with the Lord because He knows my heart. But still….I want to make it sound good—I can’t help it!
Obviously, the words in the Bible are far more relevant than anything I can come up with.
The advice is simple, actually–first, I seek God’s guidance in finding the perfect piece of scripture. Then, once I’ve found just the right verse, I pray circles around it on behalf of a friend, family member—or for myself.
Prayer can be intimidating, but I would encourage you to just dig in and start somewhere! Here’s how I started—
First, I chose a verse for each member of my family because I pray for them daily. As situations change, so might the scripture and that’s okay. I even picked a verse for each of the people on my list that I pray for regularly. For example: those who are facing a long-term illness, having marital trouble, each of the women in my small group and those people in my life who aren’t yet saved.
From that point, I try to be totally open to wherever the Lord wants to lead me—and I trust that when there is a prayer need, God will make it clear to me.
I can promise you that if you start to pray God’s word, your spiritual life will strengthen in the most unexpected ways. For me, it has been the look of amazement when I share with someone the scripture I’ve been praying for them and it happens to be a verse that has been popping up their life as well.
Do you pray scriptures for the people and situations on your prayer list? How has it changed the way you pray?