Sometimes circumstances, such as a lack of transport or illness, may temporarily tie us down and prevent us from being able to attend prayer meetings, church services, or partake in other prayer activities in the community. There are so many different needs to pray for, that we can feel quite overwhelmed at where to start to pray!
However, we no longer need to live near people and places in need of prayer, because we are connected virtually in so many different ways. Social media can be a trap, but it is possible to use this platform to help us pray informed prayers. The following points are some guidelines on how to optimise your prayer life!
1. The News (TV, Radio, Newspapers, Internet)
Simply watching TV coverage of current events in our nation and abroad provides us with lots of prayer material. Without having to read every detail in a newspaper, you can incline your heart to listen what the Holy Spirit prompts you to pray. Certain articles will give you insight of how to pray for the needs of the community and the individuals involved. Praise God for positive articles, and rather than becoming discouraged about negative ones, keep interceding for breakthroughs. If you use a digital Newspaper App, you can locate the ‘Top stories today’ in your browser, and then type the name of a country or city on your heart, to see what possible matters to pray for.
2. 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? Instead of becoming upset, we can see such items as opportunities to pray for God’s love to touch individuals and draw them closer to Him. You can pray for your friends by scrolling down your news feed on Facebook, for example. You can do this at any time and any place, even when you are sick in bed, or waiting to pick up your kids from school, or while queuing at the supermarket.
3. Calendar appointments
Pray over every meeting and appointment you and your family have scheduled for the coming week. As far as possible, you can pray for individuals by name, as well as every upcoming activity. Ask for God’s purposes to prevail in every situation, and for His tangible presence at every meeting to touch and change lives.
4. Email inbox
Most people have a personal or work email address. You can scroll down the list of senders displayed in your inbox and pray over each one, as the Holy Spirit leads you. If you receive newsletters or prayer lists via email, take some time to faithfully pray through each item.
5. WhatsApp and Telegram
Do you belong to WhatsApp or Telegram groups that support a certain community concern, such as a ‘Farm-watch’ or ‘Neighbourhood-watch’? Or perhaps a group of mothers, a lift club etc.? As you open a group, you can tap the member list/group info (at the top) and pray for individuals on the group, as well as for matters mentioned or concerns raised within the group.
Is there a specific school, church or house in your neighbourhood that the Lord has put 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 and pray at every place of concern the Holy Spirit points out to you. 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.
7. Church bulletin
Some churches still hand out a church bulletin as people arrive for Sunday services. Alternatively, you may receive a weekly email or WhatsApp regarding church matters. Pray for upcoming activities this week at your church. Lift up in prayer the church leadership. Pray for their protection and to hear God’s voice and direction for the church.
8. Daily prayer commitments
In a notebook, record points or matters you want to pray for on a more regular basis. 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.
Perhaps you carry a prayer concern for a specific country or people group somewhere in the world. Consider subscribing to a digital application that will guide you in specific prayers for those countries or people groups. You may consider downloading and using the following applications on your mobile device: Jericho Walls Daily Prayer, Operation World, Voice of the Martyrs and Unreached of the Day.
Sometimes we just need to connect with the Lord in prayer and reading Scripture may encourage us on days we need to tangibly experience God’s presence in our lives. There are wonderful Bible Applications (e.g. YouVersion Bible App) with many different reading plans to help us to pray for people facing depression, anxiety, loneliness, divorce and much more. You may consider signing up for such reading plans and pray for suffering people you know by name, as you complete these different studies.
There are endless possibilities for us to spend more time in prayer. Ask the Lord to lead you to resources that will equip you for the things He puts on your heart.