Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What I Pray When I Don't Know What to Pray

Been rather tongue-tied lately here...

But this morning, I got to thinking about prayer and felt maybe I should try to write.

I've said here before that of the spiritual disciplines, it's prayer in which I'm weakest, laziest, and need the most change. That said, here is how I pray for you, for people, when I am simply not sure how to pray.

Sometimes God brings a person to mind, and I know He wants me to pray for them. Often, it's someone I pray for regularly, and other times, it's one of those out-of-the-blue urges to pray for a person I've not seen in ages, or have never seen, or whom I've gotten out of the habit of lifting up to Jesus in prayer.

My first instinct is to freeze up. Goodness, what do I pray for someone, when I don't know what's going on in their lives? When I don't have a specific request from them or knowledge of the situations they are facing?! Oh, I'm pitifully weak when it comes to praying prayers that I know I'll never see the answers to this side of heaven!

But, God gives grace, yes? He floods my mind with prayers for others straight from His Word, and often this question spurs even more earnest supplication: How would I want others to pray for me?

So, here's how it goes, in my heart (and even out loud now and then - I think I mumble prayers more than I realize):

God, I don't know what So-and-So is going through today, but You do. In all things, draw her closer to Yourself, reveal Yourself to her more and more. Help her to fix her eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2); help her to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18), and let her be a person who is always seeking first Your kingdom and Your righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

Help her have Your wisdom, Lord, in every situation of the day and encourage her this day by Your truth and through Your people. Raise up Your people in obedience to You, that they may encourage her.

Give her power, Father, to know how wide and high and long and deep is the love of Christ for her (Ephesians 3:18) and help her to grow in her love for You, that she might bring You glory and be mighty for Your kingdom. Remind her, give her comfort in the reality that You are Emmanuel, God With Us. Give her grace to believe and know that You are right there with her, always (Matthew 1:23, Hebrews 13:5).

Cause her to hunger for Your Word and to feast on it daily (Matthew 5:6, 4:4).

Help her to persevere in the faith, so that at the end it will be said that she ran the race well for You (Revelation 2:3, Hebrews 12:1).

Protect her from temptation and sin and from believing any lies from the enemy or her flesh. (Matthew 6:13, Jeremiah 17:9, John 17:17), but to rest in and believe Your truth.

In Jesus' Name, because it is only because of Him that I can pray (Hebrews 4:15-16),

This isn't a form prayer, or a rote diatribe. It's not the same every time, of course, nor does it always include all those elements...sometimes it's just a few lines of prayer, other times it's more. Obviously, there are countless other scriptures God has given that we can use in praying for others.

Friends, let's pray for each other! I sure need it!

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. I Thessalonians 1:2

The Christmas break has not gone as I planned or expected. At all. I was going to teach LC and catch her up on her lagging first grade work. I was going to...oh, I don't even remember now!

We've been sick, all of us, to varying degrees and in different ways, but so far Whatever It Is has not made its complete circuit. We've been tired. And so we have rested. Resting means housework piles up, which means that when a free moment emerges, it's not Christmasy stuff I'm doing. It's laundry. Ah, me.

This is but a lesson in receiving God's plans as far better than mine. God is teaching me this lesson two spheres right now - the nitty gritty daily life sphere, and the larger there are unresolved life-changing circumstances in the air sphere, too. The Holy Spirit has made me recognize that I've apparently unlearned many of the valuable lessons He's taught me in recent years regarding His sovereignty. Humbled, I have been asking Him quietly this week to reteach me...to help me rest, really rest, in His perfect, loving Providence; to stop striving, to be still and know that He is God. Jesus said we will find rest for our souls when we come to Him. It's so true.

So, it's messy here. And very disorganized. And thank the Lord for online shopping!

We have spent lots of time sitting around watching movies and such, including It's a Wonderful Life, It's a Meaningful Life, The Nativity Story, The Sound of Music, Elf, and we are halfway through White Christmas.

It's been good to rest. Thank You, Jesus, for bringing the rest You promised. I am sorry for resisting Your will...thank You for forgiveness, for grace!

And now, for some rather mediocre photos. I do hope to improve over time in photography. I enjoy it so, but this is not a season for quickly learning new skills!

Have a smoothie. Apparently they make some people really happy!

571 all of a sudden this week, the trees are radiant with fiery colors of gold and red, and yet some green leaves are still clinging near the trunk, and I see some black ones, too, on the outer fringe....they quiver in the breeze, then release, then flutter down...spectacular.

Baby actually has dirty socks these days from all her Johnny Jumping. She was actually asleep when I took this photo (and no, I don't leave her there sleeping!)

572 the way the very air was pink last night at sunset

573 eighty degrees in mid-December

Costco had a bag of fingerling potatoes last time I was in. Great price and what fun! We've had them roasted with supper and in a wonderful egg/ham hash thing BB whipped up one morning for breakfast. Can't get over the purple!

574 the way the girls crowded around when I bathed CJ last night

575 that CJ's diaper blowout happened on the way home from Target, rather than while there

A pitiful representation of the glorious color God gave these trees suddenly over the past week...and now they are losing the leaves as fast as the color changed...that's okay...puts us even closer to spring!

576 you. whomever you are, reading this right now, I am thankful for you

Getting our Christmas tree at the grocery store. They had them hanging from the ceiling...I kept thinking death by hanging. Notice the short sleeves on most of us!

577 email from faraway friend, sharing mutual struggles, and how God allows us to help bear each others' burdens

Watching Elf while putting up our tree is one of our less spiritual traditions. Oh, he makes me laugh!! There are one or two places where we mute it...just unkind words, you know? But otherwise, delightfully silly and sweet.


  1. Thank you...I needed this, not only to pray for others more often but also the encouragment of your prayer. It has been such a tough week for me (MIL cancer, Colton, and then Friday my grandmother passed away suddenly). Thank you for your dear friendship and encouraging words.

    And I think I could use one of those smoothies right about now!

  2. Boo-hoo, I wrote a comment, hit post and everything disappeared. Hmmm.
    I will try again later and in the meantime hope that my message is not truly gone and will eventually appear as posted....
    Somebody needs to write a modern "Who Has Seen The Wind?" called "Who has seen the missing post?"
    Where does the data/message land if not here where intended? Mystery

    Yes, I will pray for you.

  3. L, I am so sorry about your grandmother and am praying for you after this hard week...

    Merlin - I HATE it when words disappear like that!! Thank you for praying, for visiting!