"Never underestimate the power of prayer." That's the response I'm guaranteed to get from my best friend Jenny when I'm at a loss over what to do in a situation. I don't dare utter the words, "I guess I'll just pray about it," around her anymore. "Just pray about it? Sweet friend, prayer isn't a last resort."
Prayer should be our first response in every situation. It exercises our trust in God, deepens our relationship with Him, and helps us recognize our need for Him. Prayer is essential to our faith.
But if I'm honest, I'm not the best at following through with my prayers. There are several times throughout my day where a friend asks me to keep them in prayer or I offer to pray for a loved one and in all honesty, I forget. Or sometimes I get overwhelmed at the sheer number of prayer requests that I don't even know where to begin. So last winter I created a helpful little prayer calendar to help me keep up with the petitions of others. Each day I pray for a different category - family, church, salvation, healing, thanksgiving, missions, and a catch-all, "other". I also left a section for praises, because sometimes we get so caught up in our own wants and needs that we forget to praise Him for the countless blessings He has poured out on us! This sheet seems so simple, but it's made a big difference in my prayer life.
Today I added this helpful printable to the Library in the hope that your prayer life will benefit from it, too.
A couple months ago I noticed that I left one section off of my prayer calendar: myself. The Dean of Women at our seminary wrote a blog post on what she prays for herself each day, and I loved the idea of making a list of my daily needs, things that I need God's help with on a regular basis. So I made one more printable to record the things that I pray for myself. I added that to the Library today, too.
Here's a look at some of the things on my list:
1. Rid me of myself.
Oh, how often I need to be reminded that there is nothing good in me. My only boast is Jesus.
"And he said to all, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lost it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it." Luke 9:23-24
"But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." Galatians 6:14
2. Renew my mind.
It's easy to get caught up in the things of this world. I need God to renew my mind and help me focus on the things of Him; the things that are true, honorable, just, pure, and lovely.
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2
"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:8
3. Give me peace.
I'm learning that the root of all my worry is doubt. Worrying over finances = doubt that God will provide. Worrying over the future = doubt that God has good plans for me. Peace comes from putting full faith and trust in Him.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
4. Remind me of who I am compared to who You are.
So often I'm fooled into thinking that I'm at the center of my world. The truth is that all of creation is centered around God, and He just so happened to choose to gift me with grace. That humbling truth puts everything in its right perspective.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9
5. Be my delight.
I want to be fully satisfied in Christ and delight in Him. When I'm tempted to believe that I can find satisfaction in the things of this world, I need to be reminded that nothing will satisfy my soul like the love of Jesus.
"But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14
"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11
6. Teach me to love.
It's one thing to act like I love others and another thing entirely to genuinely love them and sacrifice my comforts for their gain. That's the Gospel in a nutshell - sacrificial love - and I can't truly love others without knowing the love of Christ. Although I can't see God, His character is on display when I earnestly love other people.
"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us." 1 John 4:11
7. Give me a heart of obedience.
That saying, "It's better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission" is not God-honoring. Our Father has good plans for us, He wants and knows what's best for us, and He pours out blessings on us when we are obedient. The more I say "yes" to God, the more I see these truths firsthand.
"And Samuel said, 'Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams." 1 Samuel 15:22
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
8. Protect me and guard my heart.
Satan knows my weak spots very well and he doesn't hold back in trying to defeat me. I am in constant need of God's protection and strength.
"But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard against the evil one." 2 Thessalonians 3:3
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1
Both of these prayer printables are now in the Library! Log in to access both design files if you're already a monthly subscriber or...
Now it's your turn. How do you stay on top of your prayers and petitions? What are some things you pray for yourself on a daily basis?