Today's guest post is by Dean Ridings, a representative of The Navigators’ Church Discipleship Ministry. The author of numerous articles, devotionals, and mongraphs, he has received several awards from the Evangelical Press Association. Find Dean on Facebook. As an online complement to The Pray! Prayer Journal (NavPress), Dean offers prayer inspiration on the Pray Every Day blog.
Thank you Dean for sharing with us!
“I’ll pray for you.” Do these words sound familiar, perhaps when someone has pulled you aside to share an update or request? It’s a quick, natural response, offering to talk to God on behalf of another. It certainly is biblical (James 5:16). It certainly makes a difference (Jeremiah 33:3). Yet what about follow through?
I want to pray generously, yet I’ve struggled through the years to do so. In fact, I want to go beyond offering prayers in passing but to be persistent, to “pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1-8). I want to follow up with the people I’m praying for to see how God is answering. I desire to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
As I’ve wrestled with this, I sensed the Lord saying that my first step was to create a place to write it all down. That was the start of what I call the “pray every day” plan, a place on paper for every request.
Here’s how it works. Mondays I pray for family; Tuesdays, God’s family, the church; Wednesdays, people I run into in the community; Thursdays, the nation; Fridays, the world; Saturdays, the helpless, hopeless, hurting, and lost; and Sundays, I pray for myself.
This became the basis for The Pray! Prayer Journal, eventually published by NavPress (http://www.navpress.com/). It also inspired me to “keep the conversation going” with God myself, and also to inspire and equip others to do the same. But how?
Social media provided the answer. I started “Pray Every Day” on Facebook (www.facebook.com/prayerjournal). Today nearly 20,000 people across North America and around the world have joined in what I like to call an “extended prayer meeting.”
From the beginning I determined to keep it biblical, inspirational, and consistent. I settled on five posts a day to ponder and pray in light of: first, the “pray every day” plan above; second, a passage of the Bible (e.g., Psalm 100, Romans 8, Ephesians 1, and presently John 15); third, an inspirational quote on prayer; fourth, various promises of God; finally, a prayer-related question.
So how have I seen prayer serve as an act of generosity through Pray Every Day? I posed the question to friends from the Pray Every Day community, who chimed in with responses as far away as Johannesburg, South Africa.
“This site encourages my prayer life, assists in helping me to learn more and understand more from the Bible, and gives me prayer pals to help support and pray for each other,” DeDee in Mississippi said. “I feel blessed to have Pray Every Day and try to share often.”
Sharon from Rome, Georgia, replied that she appreciates the daily inspirational thoughts and quotes. “I think it's an act of generosity,” she says, “and also an act of necessity. I pray because that is what keeps me close to God. It's required of me and I do it to help others that are struggling and I do it to make them know I truly care. It's the ultimate gift to someone.”
“It takes love for someone to stand with others in prayer,” responded Christabella from Kenya. “You sacrifice your time to pray for others. That’s generosity.”
And from Virginia, Wini added: “when it comes to this site, I think whoever is behind ‘Pray Every Day’ is being very generous of their time and spirit to faithfully post prayers and scriptures every day, and I am very grateful!”
As I seek to pray generously and help others do the same, I would be remiss if I didn’t invite you to pick up the print journal or to join the extended prayer journey on Facebook. Meanwhile, I welcome your questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.