It is such an incredible privilege to be able to pray for others. When someone asks me to pray for them, I take that responsibility very seriously. I know how much I appreciate and covet others' prayers....and it really is such a neat thing to be able to take someone else's name and requests before the Lord on their behalf.
I'll be the first to admit, my prayer life has not been and still is not where it should be. I don't have an excuse except for laziness....That is so silly and inexcusable because the Lord DESIRES for us to be in constant communication with Him...listening, renewing our hearts and minds, and always seeking Him.(Even in the small things that we think don't matter.)
Before I had a prayer journal, I was really bad to 'forget' to pray for someone when they asked me. I was all the time coming into contact with someone and I'd think, "Oh, I need to pray for them- I'll remember...," but sad to say, it didn't happen. That is not okay. And it's not an excuse. I started a prayer journal after one of our ladies' retreats a couple years ago, and I highly recommend that if you don't have one. It has been BEYOND humbling to look back through it and see my different prayers. It absolutely amazes me how much the Lord has blessed and to see Him working in ALL of those situations...
One of my favorite things to do is go back in to an old prayer and write "PRAISE!" God is so good, and it's such a good reminder when you need it later that He is faithful!!!
Since I've started the prayer journal, I've started doing something else too. If someone comes to me with any kind of issue, or asks me to pray for them, I do it RIGHT THEN. There is something so powerful about praying together and them being able to hear you talk to God on their behalf.
I thought it would be weird, but it has never been. People may be taken aback a little at first, but not in a bad way. They always seem to appreciate it.
(And if you're nervous about praying in front of others, remember, there IS no right or wrong. You are just talking to God. It doesn't matter how simple or how eloquent....He jut loves to hear from us.)
Another thing I have focused more on when praying for others is praying very diligently, sincerely, and specifically. I admit that sometimes I have been guilty of praying for someone very vaguely, just out of routine and habit. I'd say the same thing every day. For the past few months, I have been very specific and focused in my prayers for others....and it has been AWESOME to see God work and answer those prayers. He has definitely blessed BIG time...(I can share some of the praise reports later!)
I started with Big Jon. I used to pray a very ordinary and blanket prayer over him daily....until the Lord pricked my heart and showed me that I needed to be so much more diligent in praying for him. Jonathan is called to be the spiritual leader of our home and family, which means Satan is going to try to attack him big time. That is part of my role as his wife is to absolutely cover him in prayer. Daily.
And I'm also learning that when someone else hurts my feelings, upsets me, makes me mad, or does something that I feel like goes against God's Word...it is my job to LIFT them up in prayer. Not to judge, condemn, have a pity party, stop talking to them, etc. Simply pray. Praying for someone is one of the most powerful things you can do for someone and can have some of the most impacting results. So many women I know, for example, try to nag their husbands into changing. If there is something you don't like about your husband (or family member, friend, co-worker, etc.), I want to challenge you to PRAY for that person before you do anything else. And do not give up praying. Continue to. God is always working, and sometimes He is working out other things first (that we cannot see) so He can do a work later on.
We are called to devote ourselves to prayer. And a big part of our prayer lives should be in praying for others. I know the Lord is still revealing lots to me about HOW to pray for others, but I am so thankful for what He has already taught me. God is so good.