Back in high school, I worked at a Christian bookstore. Some of the best memories were concerts and friendships and knowing when all the new DC Talk, Steven Curtis Chapman, and 4Him music came out. I loved seeing all the new Max Lucado books and cute Pass it One cards. One of the downsides were all the cheesy Christian t-shirts (ripped from secular companies) and the cheesy books (some of which are still out there).
As a teenager, even though I had been saved for over a decade at that point, I was just learning how to pray, interact with Scripture, have a quiet time, share my faith – all the things that a growing Christian does. Some of the books that were helpful were those little “Scripture” books that were a list of scriptures you could pray if you : were afraid, needed advice, scared of people, didn’t know anyone, had spaghetti on your tie (well, not really but you get my drift). Some were helpful, some verses were pulled out of the context they were in in the Bible. But, really, they helped you learn to pray God’s Word for any situation you were in.
What I know now that I didn’t know then, is how cruel this world could be. How much sin totally affects and effects our lives – every bit of it. And if sin affects my heart, it must affect those around me. Now, that we are more than two decades out from my Christian bookstore days, I know even more of the people around me and the pain and reality that intersect their 24/7.
Amelia Rhodes, in her helpful prayer book, Pray A to Z, doesn’t teach us how to pray, but she gives examples of prayers that could be prayed for your community : your family, your neighbors, your co-workers, your church members, your friends – and gives a verse and sample prayer that could help you – jump start or continue – in how to pray for these.
Here is just a sample:
Adoption (I know so many in this process right now)
Abuse (unfortunately, I know some who have been or who are in a type of abuse)
Law Makers (are there any lawmakers that you know?)
Law Enforcement (the Word speaks to their lives as they protect the community, especially with all the violence escalating in our communities)
Pain (physical, mental, chronic)
Prince of Peace (especially around Christmas time, people are in search of peace more than usual).
What a great way to engage your people this holiday season – ask them how you can pray for them. And, if time permits, stop and pray right then. If you are just passing them and have a brief second, please pray later (don’t forget) and shoot them a text or a snail mail letter recording that prayer, or just telling them you prayed. Maybe it won’t seem like a big deal to them in the moment, but I’m sure they will remember your kindness and gospel opportunity later.
This is also a great way to teach little ones some practical ways to pray – it is systematic and has verses and prayers right there, on one page. It will teach kids to invest in the lives of others so they know what to pray and it will teach them how to include God’s Word in their prayers back to Him.
Thanks to Litfuse for this book and all opinions are my own.