The problem with prayer lists is that we feel productive after making one, even if don’t get around to actually praying. That’s like drafting a fantasy football team and never setting your roster the whole season (don’t you hate that guy?). Only this is worse, since the people in your church are real.
So time is best spent getting right to the praying instead of creating an ornate prayer list that will never show signs of wear. Here are seven lists that will give you plenty of fuel for prayer. And you already have them.
1. Your calendar. Pray about your meetings and appointments beforehand. Ask for wisdom and grace.
2. The church directory. Pray for your people by name. How encouraging do you think it would be for someone in your church to hear, “Hey, I was just praying for you this week”? The pastors at my church pray through the list of our members (by photograph!) throughout the course of the year during our staff meeting prayer time.
3. Your task list. How’s this for a task: “Call plumber to discuss unexpected bill.” Let’s just say I wasn’t looking forward to that call. Praying about it certainly helped my attitude. Feel busy or overwhelmed? You know that Luther quote, right? “I have so much to do today that I should spend the first three hours in prayer.”
4. The “ministries” menu on your church website. I bet your home page has a drop down menu of your ministries. Your just a few clicks away from a couple dozen catalysts for prayer. Just don’t get distracted!
5. Your email inbox. Pray about the emails that raise your blood pressure. Those long-neglected ones that you don’t know how to answer? Ask for wisdom.
6. Your voicemail. We get voicemail updates regarding our attenders and members who we are showing pastoral care to. Though I don’t do this nearly as often as I should, sometimes I pray for the people as I go through my voicemail.
7. Church bulletin or worship folder. Our worship folders contains a list of our elders, pastors, directors, ministry residents, and associates – all people we should be praying for. The back page features a different missionary each week, and includes prayer requests.
So much for the “I don’t know what to pray for” excuse.