The other day I saw an article on Facebook about decluttering your house in 30 days. Great article, so I printed the calendar.
Decluttering is a hot topic today. Some people earn a living by organizing closets, garages, workspaces, and living areas in general. Do an online search for “decluttering apps,” and you will find a smorgasbord of choices. Of course, there is the minimalist movement, which preaches less is more. Books, apps, and websites abound that teach how to join the minimalists and free yourself from materialism.
Do I sound sarcastic? Don’t mean to, I get it! When my house is cluttered my mood is affected, and I am distracted and paralyzed. It is easier to do nothing than to tackle the job head-on.
As I read this article on organizing my home, it occurred to me other areas of my life can use some decluttering. One of them is my prayer life. Right about now you are probably saying “huh?”
Praying for brothers and sisters in Christ is the norm, and even nonbelievers ask for prayer when the going gets tough. Prayer chains, family messes, and tragedies happening daily is overwhelming to a prayer life. Clutter abounds, and there is not enough time to pray for it all. So what’s a girl to do?
Because my cluttered prayer life and cluttered house produce the same reaction: distraction and paralysis, my response is often the same. Since I can’t pray for everything and everyone, sometimes it’s easier to skip it altogether.
Part of the beauty of prayer is its simplicity, but at the same time we grapple with doing it “right.” Even the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Because they asked, Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer. Ok. Now we are getting somewhere, the Lord’s Prayer is our answer to this dilemma.
I often use the Lord’s Prayer as a guide during my quiet time. Jesus begins by acknowledging God and then moves to pursuing His will. The next four aspects include supplication, confession, and protection. The prayer ends with thanksgiving and praise.
So while the Lord’s Prayer gives us an example that illustrates there is more to prayer than pleading to God for blessings, it also includes supplication in the mix, and that is where I get that cluttered feeling. So today’s post focuses on supplication.
There are countless people and circumstances which need prayer, and it is impossible to pray for everything. My family and specific prayer requests are just the beginning. Praying for my church, missionaries, the lost, the country, our military, are also on the agenda. And this is just an abbreviated list! Too often I feel like I am shooting up a cursory prayer just to check it off. How can I do it all?
In reality, you can’t do it all, but since I’m an organizing and systems nerd, I am attempting to answer my question by developing a list of prayer subjects for each day and setting aside a couple of days for fasting and meditation. I hope this allows me to go deeper as I pray for a person or situation.
If you want to delve a little deeper into this subject, check out Richard W. LaFountain’s website: www.prayertoday.org. He has written several books and devotionals on prayer. I particularly liked the study Blessed Be the Name.
Below is the list. I included some prayer suggestions because I can’t help myself. My fingers just keep typing. I also put the list on a calendar (without the extra verbiage) for easy reference. Click this link http://wsc.madestronger.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/19-Prayer-Calendar.doc to print off this one-page guide.
DAYS 1 & 16:
THE CHURCH, PASTORS, AND OTHER CHURCH LEADERS:
Pray for unity, outreach, stewardship, etc. The church is an instrument of God to reach people with the gospel. It is important to focus our prayers on this important institution ordained by God for His purpose.
Pray for strong faith, energy, stamina, and wisdom for all leaders in the Christian community. Protect the sanctity of their marriage and keep those who are single from falling into immorality.
If you look on Amazon and type in “Navpress prayer cards,” you will find prayer cards for almost all types of prayers, including ones that provide helpful suggestions on how to pray for those who shepherd the flock.
DAYS 2, 17, & 27:
How often are you asked to pray for someone? Your church gives you a list of people who need prayer and there are coworkers, acquaintances, and friends who are in crisis mode or struggling with problems and circumstances that need divine intervention. Today is the day to make sure we keep our promise to lift these people to God.
I like to put a big post-it flipchart sheet on my wall and write the requests there. If there are too many to pray for in one day there are two other intercessory prayer days during the month.
DAYS 3, 11, 15, 18, 24, 26, & 30
FAMILY AND CLOSE FRIENDS:
Every day I pray for wisdom, spiritual nourishment, and growth; furthermore, I ask God to protect my family and shower blessings upon them. Of course, I pray for pressing needs for the day e.g., a surgery, a job interview, travel, my grandson’s field trip, my granddaughter’s fever, etc. When I, or someone I know, is dealing with an immediate problem, I lift their need every day.
However, this schedule allows for a few days a month to focus on those closest to our hearts. While I lift my family in prayer every day, this allows a “special time” for family members. Kind of like date night with a spouse or a “special” day with just one of the children.
Pray for safety, honorable service, superior leadership, and strength to accomplish their mission. There is a slew of websites offering suggestions about praying for our brave men and women in uniform. To personalize these prayers choose a few members of the military and learn about their needs and wants and lift specific prayers for them.
DAYS 5 & 20
This is a big category. We can’t pray for all missionaries. Of course, if you support missionaries that is a good place to start. Learn about missions that are near and dear to your heart and pray for their specific needs. Pray for generous donations, protection, and effectiveness in sharing the gospel. Prayer cards are available on this subject too.
DAY 6 & 21
I have people in my life, even family members, who do not know the Lord. You probably do too. How can we say we love them if we don’t lift them in prayer regularly?
Pray for God to surround your lost friends and family with people who are willing to share Jesus Christ. Pray that hearts are softened and minds are prepared to hear the truth. There is an abundance of resources online for this subject. I don’t know about you, but I need help in this area.
To expand your prayers to the lost of the world check out www.joshuaproject.net and download the JP App.
DAYS 7, & 22
SPOUSE, MARRIAGE, SIGNIFICANT RELATIONSHIP, SINGLENESS:
God calls people to singleness. Pray that God directs you to a ministry where He can best use your talents and further His kingdom.
For those of us who are married, or in a serious dating relationship, use this day as an opportunity to pray for your spouse (significant other) and your relationship. Lift up tensions, problems, and temptations, which both you and your spouse struggle. Ask for patience and understanding. Most importantly, ask Him to show you how you can be the wife He has called you to be in your marriage.
DAYS 8 & 23
This is so important. The United States is in need of a great revival; in fact, the world is in need. Revivals always begin with fervent and consistent prayer. Pray for an increase in people’s thirst for God’s Word. Ask God to open minds and soften hearts to understand and recognize the truth. Pray that churches become houses of prayer. Prayer cards are available.
DAYS 9 & 12
FINANCES AND FUTURE:
It doesn’t matter if you are in need or have the net worth of Bill Gates, we all need to pray about our finances. Pray that you will be a good steward of what God has provided, and seek guidance about giving to your church and other Christian ministries. Lift your job to God asking for guidance in all your employment decisions. Pray to always honestly and honorably earn your God-given provision.
We flow from one season of life to the next. Pray for the next adventure that God has planned. It may be college, a new career, marriage, children, a ministry, or retirement. Pray for grace and acceptance as our life moves toward eternity. Ask God to prepare us for the future and use us until our life ends here on this earth.
DAYS 10 & 25
This ten-letter word can be a four-letter word in the Christian community. However, I believe that we miss this aspect of prayer and suffer the consequences. Of course, Christian meditation is to fill our minds with God’s Word and truths – not to empty our minds and become one with the universe.
There are many ways to meditate. I like to choose a verse, write it down and circle the words that stand out. I use a concordance to find a relatable Scripture and repeat the same steps. It helps me learn the meaning of the verse, while God’s Word floods my heart and mind.
You might want to check out: https://abide.is/ This app walks you through meditation using Bible verses on a variety of subjects. It is my favorite app. It helps me meditate and focus.
DAYS 13 & 19
ISRAEL AND PEACE IN JERUSALEM, WORLD TENSION, AND THE COUNTRY:
See Genesis 12: 1-3 and Psalm 122: 6-19. Pray for the Middle East and all its problems with terrorism, hate, and war. Lift up the tensions in this world and pray that we will not lose faith as we approach the end times.
Pray for more Christians in public service and the government. Pray that the politicians in government will represent the people, instead of their own interests.
We should also pray for forgiveness for the country’s neglect of God. Confess that as a country we have allowed the massacre of babies and have turned our back on the sacred institution of marriage.
Pray for our President, Vice President, Cabinet, and Congressmen and all those in authority. Pray that our country will return to its Christian roots and value God’s Word instead of secular worldviews.
DAYS 14 & 29
COMMUNITY AND SCHOOLS:
Pray for competent leadership and teachers. Pray for protection over our schools and all public facilities. Ask God to protect our children and teachers from emotional, spiritual and physical attacks. Pray that teachers have patience, wisdom, and good judgment and that there will be more Christian teachers in our public schools and offices.
PERSONAL SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Pray that God will draw you closer to Him and teach you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Help you to bear fruit daily and to be strong in the face of persecution or those who mock or disparage God. Pray for increased faith. This prayer will be personal to God’s call on your life, your circumstances, weaknesses, and strengths.
When a month has 31 days, I am going to try a full or partial fast. Get up early and pray throughout the day: dawn, during your commute, mealtimes, instead of watching TV, and at sunset.
Choose a prayer to focus on during this fast. Concentrate on a current struggle, a life question, a physical need, or spiritual quest. Pray for others or the lost. Allowing the Holy Spirit to guide my prayers during a fast is always a good idea. Look up verses that apply and use them to pray more effectively.
Of course, only fast if you are medically able to do so. There are other ways to fast: give up TV, favorite food, some form of entertainment, or take a vow of silence! Be creative.
Now I know that some of you might think having a “system” is not allowing the Holy Spirit to move and prefer to let the Spirit guide your prayers. I understand that being sensitive to the Holy Spirit during our prayer time is vitally important, and if you are led to pray about something, by all means, follow the voice of God.
So take what you want and make it your own. Employ what works for you. It is my prayer that this guide blesses and enhances your walk with the Lord. Don’t forget to pray the other parts of the Lord’s Prayer: Adoration, God’s Will, Confession, Protection, Praise, and Thanksgiving.
Remember you can print a one-page PDF copy of the calendar by clicking on the following link: http://wsc.madestronger.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/19-Prayer-Calendar.doc.
If you have suggestions to help readers declutter their prayer life, please comment below. Also check out the Word of the Week, which is CONFUSION. (For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace 1 Corinthians 14:33a.) http://wsc.madestronger.com/wow-confusion/
The children will be walking through Isaiah this week.