I have an aversion to “prayer lists”. I guess I always felt like I was facing a task when I picked up my list, and was always wanting to move on to the next name. I’m sure, of course, that this is in part due to an attitude problem on my part. But still. I enjoyed the feeling of freedom when I came to God without a “task list,” if you will. Not that that stopped me from trying to make lists and use them, but I never have been good at sticking with it. However, the fact that I may not… really, I know I am not keeping in mind even the people for whom I’ve said I would pray, has bothered my conscience considerably of late.
Lately I’ve hit upon something, really simple, which sure seems to work for me. I took a stack of index cards and began writing down names, one to a card. All the cards (plus several blanks) go in an envelope that can stay by my bed or go with me. If I tell someone I’ll pray for them, I can pull out a card and write down their name. I have also started writing down scriptures that I want to meditate on and adding them to my prayer envelope. Then I can pull it out at any time and start through my stack, pausing over each name. Sometimes I don’t get through the entire thing, but then I can just pick back up where I left off the next time I come to the Lord. And I’ve found pondering over scriptures mixed in with the requests is a wonderful time of fellowship with Him. Often, before I begin, I turn the cards over and mix them up. I know it sounds silly; but somehow it helps me come to each person fresh.
I know that it doesn’t really matter how you keep a list, or even if you keep a formal one at all. But I just thought I’d share something that has helped me to follow through in prayer, which is a matter in my life that has needed some tending to.
Several weeks ago, a friend and coworker told me her son-in-law had been suddenly diagnosed with aggressive rectal cancer, having a tumor that had already grown very large. He is not only a wonderful son-in-law, but also a wonderful husband to their daughter and very close to his 6-year-old son. Since then he has also been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and there are several spots in his bones; they are trying to determine which of the two cancers they are. His large tumor is pressing on a nerve and keeping him in severe pain. He started chemo a couple days ago, and faces at least two surgeries and further unknown treatments, not to mention that the next two chemotherapy treatments will likely make him very sick. Understandably, he and his wife are having a very hard time with it all, and so are his in-laws– they live nearby and the whole family are very close to each other. Surely it goes without saying that anyone facing cancer starts piling up medical bills pretty quickly.
I don’t know what their spiritual situation is. I do not believe they have a church home. Please pray not only that Rene would be healed, but that God would use this trial to make Himself known to them and draw the whole family to Himself. Pray that those of us at the antique mall who are praying will know how best to reach out to them. We have organized to provide meals every day Shirl works for her to take home for all of them. They live about 45 minutes away, so it is difficult to find ways to do practical things.
Please, please pray.
Today, I would live for Your glory: I would overcome. I would turn in the face of disappointment and fear and say “O my soul, why should not you rejoice?” And I would rejoice, with gladness. I would rejoice, for You my Maker have plans for good for me. You have put great things before my eyes, and I do rejoice with thanksgiving!
Only this: that You would give me wisdom for this task– to give joy, to give comfort, to give hope, as You have given me. I believe that one person can, by turning themself to the task of loving, effect change in others; one person can make the difference– one person, submitted to You, empowered by Jesus Christ.
Today is not for me, for my purpose, for my glory. It is for You.
And it is You alone Who will enable me to meet it.
And why should not you, O my soul,
Rejoice with mouth and heart and mind?
Forget your cares, forget your fears;
Remember all in him you find–
E’en now He wipes away your tears.