I am working on improving, expanding, growing my prayer life. I wrote about this on the blog a while back, how we so readily say to people, "I'll pray for ya", but how often do we actually do it? We mean to follow through, but life distracts us from the best of intentions. So, I'm trying to get better.
Look to the Lord and his strength: seek his face always. (1 Chronicles 16:11)
One of the prayer practices I adopted a while back is always asking for the name of the person I'm praying for when it's someone I don't know personally (a friend's family member or friend-of-a-friend kind of thing). I had a neat experience with this practice once when one of my grandsons was extremely sick. I had to call into work to say I would be spending the day - and many more days - at the Children's hospital. My boss - a precious, Godly man named Mike (who did not know my family) - says to me on the phone, "What is your grandson's name?" At first I thought that was kind of an odd question, then he let me know that the prayer team at his church would be praying for my grandson, BY NAME. That touched me then and, in fact, it still does. So, asking for the name of the person I am praying for is something I not only do, but the name I purposely call out to God in prayer.
Here's something else I've been doing. Probably the best way I can explain it is to give you an illustration.
I had a friend recently go in for an MRI in follow up to some 'early stage cancer' results that had been found a while back. In praying for my friend on the day of her test, let's just say, honey, I prayed for everybody that was working at that radiology place that day. I prayed for:
The receptionist putting my friend's information into the computer system, that all the key information got entered correctly so the doctor got everything he or she needed to know.
I prayed for the Technician doing the MRI that he or she would be on their game today, feeling good, being precise, doing their best work.
For the Engineer whose job it is to keep that MRI machine in tip-top shape so that it works like it's supposed to.
I prayed for the Doctor who is going to read that MRI, that he or she is also on their game today, that they are thinking clearly and thoroughly when looking at my friend's results and making a diagnosis and treatment decisions.
Of course, I also prayed for my friend, that she would have the peace and comfort of Jesus as she went through this stressful event. I prayed she would sense the presence of the Lord every minute of the whole ordeal.
And, it goes without saying, I prayed for healing in my friend's body, which is totally a God-doable thing.
Was this over-praying? I mean, it's not like God needs me to worry about these details. Yet, I find, when I 'over-pray', first and foremost, it slows me down. It settles my head and heart, it focuses my mind to the specific need at hand. It's conversational, it's intimate. It requires me to take a minute or two, talking directly to God, which is never a bad way to spend my time. By considering the details, I am reminded that God is in every thing, every life, every situation.
No, God doesn't need me to pray like this, but I need me to.
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