When I was in my early twenties, I was trained in how to lead a youth ministry. Besides sharing the gospel and discipling others, we were encouraged to help students get a vision for the world. I was working in Hawaii at the time. Many locals had never left the islands, so when I talked about praying for other nations, this was a strange concept for them. Each time I met with my Bible study girls, we would pray for a different nation or people group. First, we read a little background about the spiritual climate there and then we would pray.
We all began to grow in our excitement when we realized that our prayers had a direct impact on people opening up to the gospel, even in lands we would most likely never see!
While Paul was in prison in Rome, he asked the believers in Ephesus to pray for him to know the words to say when sharing the gospel and to have the courage to share it (Ephesians 6:19-20). Prayer is a mysterious, yet powerful weapon. It requires great discipline and perseverance as we often may not see direct answers for a while. In Ephesians 6:18, Paul teaches us several important things about prayer. First, we are to pray in the Spirit. Ask the Lord to guide you as you pray. Let His Spirit put things on your mind. Allow Him to fill you with His words, emotions, and knowledge regarding the people, needs, and situations in which you are praying. Ask Him to show you His will and then pray accordingly. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that he hears us – we know that we have what we asked of Him”
(1 John 5:14-15).
Paul also tells us to pray on all occasions. Another passage says to pray without ceasing. The way to do this is to include God in your thinking. Let your thoughts be in continual communication with Him. Then as different people come to mind, say a prayer for them. In Ephesians 6:18, Paul tells us to “always keep on praying for all the saints.”
-Are most of your thoughts and prayers about yourself? Make an effort in this next week to pray for different people who come to mind throughout your day.