It's easy for us as Christians to flippantly say, "Praying for you", "You're in my prayers", "Lifting you up", and a slew of other cliche statements that mean that we are petitioning in prayer for someone else. We take prayer requests in our Sunday School classes and on Wednesday nights. We have a church "prayer list" that we list our concerns on. Social Media is full of petitions for us to pray for sick animals and children and circumstances that we would all rather avoid. Sometimes we will say a quick prayer like, "Lord be with them in this tough situation", and then we scroll on to the next comic strip, all but forgetting the post that we promised to pray about.
I'm guilty. I think we all are, but what if there was an easy way to remember to bring those requests before God more often? I'm sure you've all heard of "prayer prompts". This could be anything in your life that triggers a reminder to pray. It's making an association between a prayer need and a physical object that will remind us to pray.
Let me give you some examples of personal prayer prompts I use.
In my office, I have a prayer prompt board on the side of my bookcase. When I look up from my desk, I see a magazine page that is a copy of a painting of President Trump. It reminds me to pray that God will lead him to make decisions that will bring honor to God and our country and keep the people of the United States safe. It also triggers prayers for all of our government officials from those in our community all the way to the world leaders. This is not a political issue, as I also had a picture of our previous president and prayed the same thing over him.
I also have a paper bracelet from one of our youth events with the name of one of our youth on it. I prayed for her the entire weekend of D-Now, and I continue to beseech our Father to lead her, to speak into her life, to keep her safe, and to use her in a mighty way in our youth group and among her circle of friends. Can you imagine the impact our youth could have if each of them were prayed over by our church day in and day out individually?
At home, I find ways to pray for my family as they go throughout their day. As a stay-at-home mom, most of the household chores are my responsibility. This can get mundane, but oh!, how prayer changes the boring into extraordinary!! Here's how you can turn chore time into a moving prayer life:
As I fold mountains of laundry, I pray over the person that wears that garment. For instance, when I pick up socks, I may pray, "Lord, (insert name) walks many miles in these socks. My prayer is that as (he/she) walks throughout (his/her) day, you will be close to (him/her) in Spirit and help (him/her) walk in your ways. As Psalm 119:3 says, 'They also do no unrighteousness; They walk in His ways.' Lead them Lord." You can pray over your loved ones with any piece of clothing.
As I wash dishes, I pray, "Father, it's such an honor to feed my family. Thank you for providing food for us to eat Lord. Thank you for the nourishment you provide so that we may go forth and share your goodness, Father. I pray that just as we put the food you provide into our mouths, we remember Psalm 119:103 that says, 'How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.' Abba, help us to long for and enjoy the taste of your words so much that our food tastes bland in comparison."
As I do general cleaning, my prayers may sound like, "Oh father. I'm so tired. I admit that sometimes housework seems senseless because I have to do it all again tomorrow and the next day and the next day, and yes, the next day too. Jesus, clear the cobwebs and dust from my eyes and help me to see the blessings right in front of me. Thank you for a roof over our heads, Lord. Thank you for beds that must be made, for we have beds to lie in each evening. Thank you for crumbs in the carpet. More than likely they fell as someone was enjoying a snack while they laughed about a silly joke. Thank you for dirty bathrooms that mean we have indoor plumbing for our comfort and convenience. Help me, Abba, to lead my family in thanksgiving for all of our blessings. Help me to point out the joy in this home. Help me to show them what you've made so abundantly clear to me. Yes, life is hard. It is not without it's struggles, but you are always so near. Among the crumbs, the dust, the dirtiness of life that we must face each and every day, you are 'closer than a brother'. We can always trust you to bring beauty from ashes, and Lord, I pray that you will use me cleaning this house without complaint as a witness to your goodness. Fill me with your spirit, Lord, and help me to shine your light into this family, and that light into all the world. Amen."
Your prayer prompts may look very different from mine, as I use what is in front of me. The point is to use physical triggers to strengthen your prayer life and thereby strengthen the relationship between you and your Father in Heaven. Place scripture into your prayers. Tell God what His Word says. Claim those promises. They are there for you! It's okay if you don't know them by heart at first. Look them up! As you pray God's Word, you will begin to be able to remember them.
I pray that you will enjoy a strengthening in your prayer life, and the joy that comes from being able to speak freely with your Father. The overflow into your daily life is worth the time it takes to practice prayer!