I offer specific prayers for those whose needs I know specifically. But for others, I pray general prayers. But let me tell you that the term general is a very vague word. And for some time now I've been thinking if I'm doing the right thing.
I truly believe in praying for specific needs. However I also agree with Bruce Wilkinson when he said in his book The Prayer of Jabez that we cannot really contain God in a box. We can ask for a pink Honda Civic for example, but God intends to give us a red Mercedes Benz. It means we can pray in general too. So if you want to travel and don't know where to, you may let God choose for you.
In praying for a long list of people, how should I pray? I mean please...How do I pray for each one of them? Upon reading a book about prayer and praying, I came to a realization that I can still maximize my prayer life especially when it comes to interceding for others (and I mean lots of others). Here's my revelation and solution:
- List the names of the people you are praying for. I have in my list 24 mighty women from my smallgroup/leadership group, 9 ladies from my own smallgroup, 20 family members, and 17 friends. And counting.
- I list down prayer points from those I'm able to talk to and from those who are able to share with me at a particular time. When someone asks for prayers through texts messages or emails, write them down asap so you could remember to pray for them after your quiet time or devotions or whenever your prayer/intercessory time is.
- Now for those I'm not able to chat with or have bonding moments with, I usually pray a general prayer like 'good health', 'provision', etc., based on how I know them. But now I realized I can go by theme which could turn out to be prophetic prayers for them. For example: the fruit of the Spirit. This week I will pray for patience for all of them. Next week – joy. And then love. And so on. After the fruit of the Spirit, I could go by praying the armour of God for all of them.
- You may opt to pray for them what God revealed to you during your quiet time. For example, if you are reading Mark chapter 14 for your devotions, then you may pray for them Mark 14:38 and say "May you keep ____ attentive enough to watch out and continue to pray so that ______ will not fall into temptation for the spirit is willing but the body is weak." This is what I currently do.
- You may opt to pray for different group of people daily.
- Set a specific time for prayer (and of course, quiet time).
You would still find yourself praying for others not in your list, and from time to time you'd be praying for more people, and your list could be endless. It might include national leaders and more. But you'll be surprised! Because however busy you are, you'll find ways and time to pray and pray passionately.
When you are in the toilet bowl (ahem), pray.
When you are breastfeeding, pray.
When you are commuting or driving, pray.
When you are bored, pray.
When you are cooking, pray.
When you are lining up to a very long line (of course) in Mcdonalds, pray.
If you're killing time, why not pray?
Don't let your minds go idle. Pray instead.
There's time for everything and a season for very activity under heaven - Ecc. 3:1.
Pray a bunch. Pray for a bulk.