About a month ago I posted about finally putting in some serious effort at having an active prayer life. And I am happy to say that the desire hasn't fizzled out, but that it is still going strong!
I will admit that weekends are harder for me though. Routine is off, Les is home...things are just different. Sometimes I will still sneak away to my bedroom for some prayer time, but since it's just not the same as during the rest of the week, weekends sort of fall by the wayside. My goal is to change that -- but for now I'd like to share how the rest of the week goes.
Without fail, the first thing I do after the kids are in bed is sit at the dining room table and spend some time with God. I have broken things down into different 'categories' and I pray for at least one person in each category.
The first category is my family -- Les, Joelle and Malia. They get prayed for every day, without fail. And for the most part, I still pray about something different for each of them, although occasionally Joelle & Malia get the same topic covered.
My extended family is next -- both mine & Les' siblings and their children and then of course both sets of parents. I have been doing one sibling (and family) or set of parents per day but that only ends up working out to praying for them all only once a week. So I'd like to start praying for 2 siblings and/or set of parents each day so they at least get prayed for twice a week.
The third category is close friends. I have a small handful of friends so near and dear to me, and I love taking time to pray for them too.
Next category is other friends. This is a longer list, so again, they don't get prayed for as often as I would like. I might start picking 2 or 3 from this list every day too so that it doesn't take as long in between turns.
Moving on to the 5th category is my co-workers. I have a fun group of friends at work who I always eat lunch with and take breaks with. They are all somewhat around my age -- some up to 5 years younger, some a few years older. Some married with kids, others single. Some guys and some girls. It's a really fun group...but they all live a very different lifestyle than I do. So my prayers for them (among other things) is that they find a personal faith in Jesus Christ.
Another category I have -- and this has proven to be a tough one for me -- is praying for people who I don't get along with, for whatever reason. Some may be in this category temporarily if we are working through an issue that is bothering me. Some may be in this category for a long time. Sometimes they're on this list not because of a specific thing that has happened between us, but because I just don't have a good attitude towards them. What ends up happening is that I don't just pray for THEM to change...but I pray for ME to change in regards to how I feel about them. It's really been quite humbling.
And in the 6th category are people who need prayer for very specific and very big reasons. Not to say that we don't all have big things to pray about...but these are ones that I know about and ones that I am hurting for. A cousin fighting a brain tumour, neighbours who just welcomed their first baby into the world while the Dad is going through chemotherapy, my sister's best friend whose husband had an affair and they are now separated...things like that.
And at the end I leave room for any other prayer requests that may have come to me throughout the day. Now I really do mean it when I say "I'll pray for you."
God has been teaching me so much throughout this praying business too. So often I find that when I'm praying for somebody, He points things out about me too. It's not always pleasant -- or easy -- but the outcome is good.
One example of that is with my co-workers. There have been times when I'm praying for an individual co-worker about wanting him/her to find faith...and I admit, I think to myself "Do I really believe this could happen?" Yup, I doubted God right in the middle of my prayer. Shame. On. Me. And you know what? It was the very next time I was at work when what were some of them talking about at lunch? That they were interested in maybe trying to go to church sometime.
Okay, God...I won't doubt You anymore! No matter how impossible it may seem to me, there is nobody that God can't reach. No matter what.
I have also enjoyed some other things that have come out of my prayers. Close to the beginning of starting this prayer journal, one of my prayers for Joelle was that she would know how to handle a bullying situation. First of all, my prayer was for her to never be involved in the actual bullying -- but above and beyond that, I was praying that she would have the strength to stand up to those who were doing the bullying. The very next day, Joelle and Malia came home from school telling me about a situation that happened on the school bus where someone got made fun of. No, they didn't actually stand up to the bullies -- but I was proud of them for being aware that it wasn't right and that they were really upset about it. It gave us a prime opportunity to talk about it.
One way that I have really grown though is in the category of praying for those I'm not necessarily feelin' love for. One of the people on that list is someone who used to be one of my very best friends. Now we haven't spoken in over a year and likely won't ever again. The first time her (and her husband) were on my list, I could barely get their names to come across my lips. I was tempted to just skip over them, it was just too hard to pray for them. It took a few minutes to get over that, but I did manage to pray for them that day. And now when I come to their names, the prayers just flow out for them.
Bottom line: I have really enjoyed the experience that this has already proven to be. And it's only been in the first month! There are other examples I could share about how God has moved in me -- and in others -- through the time I spend one-on-one with him, and I can't wait to see what else is yet to come!