As a missionary, people come to me daily with an assortment of needs. There is only so much one can do. Why me Lord? Why does everyone come to me with their burdens? The standard answer we give people is to let them know we will "pray for them." Ten minutes later there is another need and situation. By days end we have such a pile of prayer concerns on our shoulders with little idea of what to do with them all except to feel guilty about letting people down who are depending upon me for faithful prayer support.
Sometimes I just feel overwhelmed by it all. How does God handle the billions of daily prayer concerns and millions of people crying out to Him every second of the day? I feel guilty that the best I can usually offer is a hurried, whispered prayer under my breath as I am already doing something else. I confess to not really feeling much of anything for most of those needs tossed my way. Sure, I care, but do I care enough to drop other things to really spend meaningful time praying? All of them are important. All need serious consideration. When I have needs and concerns, I want people to passionately pray for what I bring to the table. But where do we find the spiritual energy and disposition to do justice to so many needs clamoring for our attention?
Does God really expect us to seriously pray about each and everyone of all the requests we are bombarded with daily? I wish I had that kind of prayer passion in me, but unless something directly touches my life, there is little praying that gets done for others prayer concerns and needs.
So, how do you deal with all the needs fired your way? What do you do to give appropriate prayer support to the needs God sends your way?
I have been giving some thought to this. I truly want to be a person of prayer. I want my prayers to be heard and answered by God. I want my prayers to make a difference. I want to be known as a "person of prayer." What do I need to do to become this kind of prayer person?
Some ideas that come to mind...
- Set aside a daily time slot for praying for the needs of all those asking me for prayer support.
- Find appropriate Scripture verses and promises that apply to the particular need. Pray the Scripture over the need and let the person(s) know this is the verse the Lord has given me for them and their need.
- Pray for these needs (albeit brief prayers) throughout the day as the Spirit brings them to mind. Some of them will be brought to my mind several times a day. My interpretation is that as often as the Spirit brings them to mind, the more that need should be prayed for.
- Make it a point to follow up via email, phone, or face-to-face with each request, expecting an answer from the Lord about that particular need.
- Ask the Lord specifically about personally giving financially to help alleviate the particular situation. Most of our "tithe money" is already given for the needs of the saints, but giving can be tricky, and I don't want to create problems with our giving. If you give to one person, others also expect to be given to (word gets around no matter how hard you try to make it secret.)
- When someone asks for prayer, if possible, try to stop right then and there and pray with them on the spot.
- Spend time in silence before the Lord after laying one of these requests before Him and wait for the Lord to show us how to pray for the situation.