Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:18
Do you ever find that at the end of a small group, church gathering, or even just a meal that the obligatory prayer time feels dull to you? If you’re like me, you’ve just forgotten about half of the new people’s names and definitely can’t remember their grandmother’s dog’s name who just broke it’s leg. Am I the only one that fails at praying for my friends (and their grandma’s dog)?
Prayer is never easy because we have decided it needs to look a certain way—quiet, head bowed and serious. Not that there is anything wrong with that type of prayer life but it’s not the only way to bring concerns before the Lord, nor is a prayer chain the only way to end a worship gathering. Prayer can be as playful as we are, if we incorporate it into our moment-by-moment routines. Here are just three examples of how you can include prayer in the things you enjoy.
- Hiking Prayer
When I hiked my first 14er (Non-Coloradans: a hike that summits above 14,000ft.) I knew I would have eight hours to enjoy the arduous journey. I decided to use an hour of that time praying for friends. I asked 20 friends how I could pray for them, then took a printed list with me. Even through short breaths, I brought my friends’ concerns to the feet of God and used that time to listen for any encouragements He may have for them.
If you’re not the outdoorsy type, but you spend quality time with the TV monitor on the elliptical machine at the gym, maybe this week you can take some prayer requests to entertain you instead. Long commute to work? Try turning down the radio and praying then. There are many hours in our day where we are doing necessary things but can be praying at the same time.
- Crafting Prayer
Calling all crafters! Crafting for your friends is the best, right? I love receiving a handmade gift from the people I love. When a friend prays over my life, my marriage, or my baby, while creating the piece, the gift becomes a reminder of how she lifted me up to God. Let your creativity be a tool for prayer.
- Banner Prayer
When I had my first baby, some friends wrote prayers on pieces of construction paper in the shape of a flag. Then we attached all those prayers to a string and it became a banner of prayer over my birth. This can be so fun at baby showers, wedding showers, birthdays, or any special occasion. How fun, colorful and powerful is it to have prayers from a variety of friends strung over you!
- Candle Prayer
If you are more of a reflective, contemplative type, perhaps burning a candle for your friends would be an innovative act for your prayer life. Light a candle for a friend and allow that lit candle to be a visual reminder to continually pray for that friend throughout the day.
Prayer is vastly creative and as colorful as our God. There is no one way to talk with God, so I hope that the burden of “scripted” prayer is lifted from your shoulders as you explore what works best for you. God just wants us to approach Him. And when we do, we are talking with a God who listens and redeems our life and the life of our friends. When a friend asks for prayer, don’t take it lightly. Instead, use it as an opportunity to abide with God and intercede on behalf of your friends.
Questions for your Community:
What are your past experiences with different types of prayer?
Why do you find it hard to pray?
How can you start incorporating prayer into an activity you are already doing?
Why should you “be persistent in your prayers?”
Take an hour this week and write a list of activities you enjoy (get those creative juices flowing) that could incorporate prayer for yourself and others.