Sometimes circumstances, such as a lack of transport or illness, may tie us down temporarily and prevent us from attending prayer meetings, church services, or other prayer activities in the community. There are so many people and places, each with different needs, that we can feel quite overwhelmed at the prospect of prayer and uncertain how to even begin!
We do not need to live close by to people and places in need of prayer, as we are connected virtually through so many means. Social media does not always get a good rap, but we can use the connectedness it affords us to help us pray informed prayers. We can use some of the time we spend on it as times of prayer! The following points provide some guidelines for doing this. Feel free to adjust the guidelines to suit you, as the Holy Spirit leads.
- The News (TV, Radio, Newspapers, Internet). Simply watching TV coverage of current events in our nation and abroad gives us much material for prayer. If you read a newspaper, you don’t need to read every story in detail, merely scan the articles while listening for the Holy Spirit and noticing prayer needs. Then, pause over certain articles to pray for the needs of the community and the individuals involved. Praise God for positive articles, and rather than becoming discouraged about negative situations, intercede for breakthroughs. If you are not using a printed newspaper, simply type ‘Top stories today’ in your browser, adding the name of the country or city you feel led to pray for.
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Have you ever felt disturbed by something you read on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or by what someone said when they misinterpreted the Bible or what Jesus meant? We can pray for the love of God to touch individuals and draw them closer to Him. You can pray for your friends on your news feed, for example. And you can do this anytime and anyplace, such as when you are sick in bed, or waiting to collect your kids, or in the queue at the supermarket.
- Calendar appointments. Pray over every meeting and appointment you and your family have scheduled for this week Pray for each person involved in every activity by name. Ask for God’s purposes to prevail in every situation, and for Him to be present and active at each meeting to change the lives of all concerned for His glory.
- Email inbox. Most people have a personal or work email address. Scan the list of senders displayed in your inbox. Pray over each one, as the Holy Spirit leads. If you receive newsletters or prayer lists via email, take some time to pray faithfully every day through each item mentioned. Allocate this as a time for prayer, rather than as a time of responding or cleaning out your inbox.
- WhatsApp groups Broadcast-lists. Do you belong to WhatsApp groups that support a certain community concern, such as ‘Farm-watch’ or ‘Neighbourhood-watch’, or to a WhatsApp group of mothers, a lift club etc.? As you open each group, tap the address list/group info (at the top) and pray for everyone on the group, as well as for prayer matters mentioned or concerns raised within the group. Be careful not to use this as an opportunity to clean up your messages. It is prayer time!
- Prayerwalk. Is there a specific school, church or house in your neighbourhood that the Lord has laid on your heart? You may not physically be able to go to the place and prayerwalk on site, but you can open its location on Google Maps and ‘walk the streets’ in prayer virtually! Pause at each place of concern the Holy Spirit shows you as you scroll through the map and pray for those places and people. It could be your own neighbourhood, or one where you used to live, or it could be somewhere that you know has particular need for prayer, such as police stations, clinics, hospitals etc.
- Church bulletin. Most churches hand out a church bulletin as congregants arrive for Sunday services. Alternatively, you may receive a weekly email or WhatsApp regarding church matters. Pray for every activity that will take place this week at your church. Lift up the church leadership in prayer, asking for their protection and for them to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.
- Daily prayer commitments. Record in a notebook what you feel you need to pray for more regularly. Seek the Lord for guidance from Scripture on what to pray for each issue. Some issues will remain news items for weeks, even months, while others will just need prayer for a short time. Divide the pages of your notebook into two sections: On the left-hand side, list prayer requests and the date. On the right-hand side, record answers to prayer and the date. It is so encouraging to see how God answers prayer! Every month or so, look back at answers to prayer, as it will encourage you to pray with even more faith and diligence.