For Whom to Pray?

This is the sixth post in a series on prayer.

I’ve always prayed mostly for myself, my family, my church, my nation, and the world, and generally in that order. Last week a buddy of mine (Kit) gave a talk on prayer and he used the term, “praying in concentric circles.” I think it’s a fantastic way to structure requests in prayer. So here’s how I work prayer request subjects.
I tend to start in the center and work outwards. First, myself. This is generally either, “God, this is AWESOME. I can’t believe how much you love me to have given me a day like today,” or something more like Psalm 102 (Prayer of the Afflicted). It might seem selfish to start with me during prayer time, but getting my immediate worries out of the way (Philippians 4:6-7) helps me clear my mind for the other (some might say more important) things to talk to God about.

While there’s not a verse (that I can find) that says, “Pray for your wife,” I think it goes without saying. She is your flesh, half of you - Genesis 2:24 again - and that means that if you’re praying for you, half of that should be praying for her. Also, she puts up with you all the time. Definitely a good idea to pray for her.

Along with your wife, your children (if you have them) should be a subject of your prayers. You should pray with them and for them. Model prayer to them and ask God to work in their lives. Job is reckoned a pretty righteous man, and he not only prayed for his children but made offerings on their behalf - Job 1:5.

In 1 Samuel 12:23, Samuel notes that for him to not pray for the people (Israel) would be a sin. Israel was Samuel’s responsibility, at least in prayer. He delivered God’s word to them and shepherded them in the ways of the Lord. They were his ministry. Jesus likewise prayed for His ministry. He prays in John 17:9 for the disciples, and then in John 17:20 He prays for all believers. In effect, he prays for His specific ministry, and then the church. That’s a model we should follow. And if you don’t have a ministry, pray that God will lead you into one - Isaiah 6:8 - then find it and do it!

Lastly, I pray for those in need and for the world. My prayer for the world is simply Matthew 6:10, from the Lord’s Prayer; “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” I pray this because the woes of the world, the hurt and hunger and injustice and cruelty - human and situational - is more than I know how to pray for. I figure that the man upstairs probably has a lot better idea of what’s going on than I do (John 21:17). I pray that He does what He knows is best. That’s really all any of us can do.

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