Saturday, March 10

Overwhelmed by all the needs for prayer

The needs are always there. Dozens of people asking and needing our prayers. Everyday. The phone calls...emails...prayerletters. The sick...spiritual battles raging...those going through a crisis. It never stops, never even slows down! It's everyday! Then there are all our own prayer concerns...the needs of our family...our ministry...personal concerns...trials...burdens...loneliness.

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.
What comes to your mind about this whole matter of prayer and the multitude of prayer requests? How does one best get a handle on all of them to do them justice?

4 comments:

Ken Sorrell said...

Guy,

While serving as MIRs at FPO I was exposed to a new way to use my computer as an effective prayer tool in terms of applying Scripture to how I pray for others.

I have an Microsoft Excel sheet set up in columns with headings like, Family, Friends, Leadership, Missionaries, Others, etc. Under each column heading I put the names of the people I want to pray for regularly. Using the "comment" box option I place a Scripture verse to think upon as I pray. When my mouse cursor passes over the name, their verse pops up.

I was also given an Excel sheet that has most of the names of God listed with corresponding verse that pop up as well. This has really changed the way I pray.

Darrell said...

In Janurary I began looking for a tool to help me remember to pray for needs like you are talking about. I have been using it daily since then. It has really helped. Here is the link:

http://air-support.blogspot.com/2007/01/found-great-prayer-tool.html

EL OJO PROTESTANTE said...

Querido Guy,
Usted ha planteado una perspectiva poco acostumbrada a escuchar, de manera sincera y realista.
Creo que para comenzar, bien vale decir que su primer compromiso es de una vida de oración que lo vincula en una relación personal con Dios.
Las necesidades de los demás, son cargas, y aunque en mayor o menor medida lleguen a su sentimiento, no dejan de ser las cargas de otros. La Biblia dice que debe echar sus propias cargas en el Señor ¡Cuanto más las de otros!
Pienso que recibir el motivo de oración no significa literalmente, "haré una rogativa especial por este tema". Quizás si, pero en realidad lo que hacemos, como hombres llenos del Espíritu Santo de Cristo, es depositar estas cargas en el Señor.
En otras palabras nos mantenemos en una espíritu de oración todo el tiempo. El Espíritu Santo intercederá, si el caso amerita. Por que no sabemos cual es la perfecta voluntad de Dios para nuestras vidas ¡Cuanto menos para las de otros!
No creo que cargarnos de las "miserias" de los demás sea la conducta apropiada. Terminaríamos cansados, agotados, quemados.
Creo que debemos echar todas las cargas sobre Cristo, las nuestras y las de los demás. Dios es Fiel.
La comunión con Dios a través del Espíritu Santo hace que la obra se complete.
No creo que debamos sentirnos culpables. No es por nuestras fuerzas.
Un gran abrazo. Dany

GuyMuse said...

Ken, Darrell,Daniel,

Thanks to each of you for the advise and ideas about getting a better handle on the avalanche of prayer needs. I downloaded the prayer program that Darrell recommends but have yet to install it.

Daniel, gracias por las palabras sabias que siempre me hacen reflexionar. El poder echar todas las cargas sobre Cristo es lo que la Palabra nos enseña para así no terminar en cansancio y agotamiento. Buenas palabras--gracias mi hermano!