As Christians, we are called to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This does not mean that we have to pray 24/7, but it does mean that we should live our lives with a spirit of dependence on God that manifests itself in returning to him in prayer throughout the day.
Doing this effectively often means making prayer lists. But if you’re like me, making prayer lists is a long, tedious task that usually ends in me feeling like I’ve wasted time that I could have used to actually pray.
A couple of years ago, Eric McKiddie, on his blog, Pastoralized, suggested that we already have ready-made prayer lists in our lives that don’t have the official title “Prayer List”. Below is his list of 7 Prayer Lists You Already Have. The list is written with pastors in mind, but I think these are prayer lists we all have whether we’re in vocational ministry or not.
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.