When I was doing my student teaching in Paraguay every Friday (or was it every day?) we would do a Bible Story time. At the end of the time we would take prayer requests. My students were five and six years old, so some of those prayer requests were just gems. We prayed for hamsters and dogs, but we also prayed for grandmas and sisters. All important parts of our lives, right?
I remember in middle school and high school our long-suffering Bible Study leader Sandy who tell us that when it was prayer request time she wanted to hear about us. She wanted to pray for us. Not our friend’s cousin’s neighbor. And Sandy definitely didn’t want to be praying for anybody’s hamster.
It’s important, this vulnerable sharing of prayer requests about ourselves. How can I be praying for you? What’s going on in your heart? What’s going on in your life?
I have found it difficult to pray for myself. Instead of, “God I ask,” or “Lord, will you,” I’ve found that my prayer-for-self comes through meditation and silent processing. When I sit quietly and think through my life, through my feelings, and my motivations, I find myself grateful and doing the, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief,” thing.
So then these more structured prayer times, I almost always find myself praying for others. Thanking God for others. Thanking God for my dogs. Asking God to strengthen others and give them rest and wisdom (don’t we all need more rest and wisdom?).
From my prayer journal this week:
I pray that she would take the time she needs to grieve the reality that she isn’t there and that life is different now. I pray that after that grieving time and even within it that she would know and trust and believe and know and know and know that You have her exactly right here as she is for a very, very good reason. And that reason is not only beneficial to Your Kingdom plan but it’s also beneficial to her. Praise You.
I thank You for the husbands who know that taking care of their own children is not “babysitting.” I thank You for the men You have gifted to be natural fathers and the men You have not who are trying really hard anyways. I thank You for the men who are raising children that are not biologically theirs. I thank You for being the ultimate Father, Lord. I pray that You would be the example we all look to.
I pray that You would speak to her about what You have next for her. I pray that her life would be vibrant and strong and clear. I pray that life would make sense to her as much as possible. I pray that she would feel important and loved and seen and valued and necessary. I pray that her relationship with her husband would continue to be one of lovey-dovey flirtation. I praise You for love like that.
I want to do things that honor and please You. Sometimes things feel neutral, but as soon as I say that I know that is not true. Nothing is neutral. It is either helping me to be more like You or it’s not.
Thank You for the friends I have made at the hostel, even though they leave forever and I’ll probably never see most, if not all, of them ever again. They are still a gift and I’m grateful for (almost) all of the conversations. I pray that You would continue to lead me and guide me in Your word and in Your grace as I communicate with people who are different from me. I pray that You would empower me to lean into those I really don’t want to talk to and that I would always lead with a servant’s heart.
I pray for all of the teenagers in the LGBTQ+ that will be participating in YouthWorks trips this summer. I pray that they would feel safe and known on their trips, but that they wouldn’t feel the need to overcompensate, You know? I pray that the staff meeting them will see them as just another teenager who is mostly great but also kind of a mess. I pray for adult leaders who have to have hard conversations with teenagers about stuff like sex and gender and dating and identity and orientation – tough stuff! I pray that adult leaders wouldn’t shy away from these conversations. I pray that they would be honest and vulnerable in front of their teenagers and in front of each other to say, “I don’t know,” or, “This is hard but I love you.”
I pray for that child, that he would feel Your presence as supernatural and comforting as he makes this crazy transition. I pray for my future children, wherever they are, if they’re even born yet – I’m so excited to be a mom and I only want to do it how You want me to do it. I pray that if any of my children are out there right now that they would feel loved and cared for in the meantime.