This scene has played out over and over in my life. Quite possibly you’ve lived this too:
A friend or family member texts or calls you with troubling news. A cancer diagnosis. A high risk pregnancy. Discovery of an addiction. A marriage falling apart.
The news always ends with a request.
“Will you please pray for us?”
Two years ago, after answering “Yes, of course, I’ll pray” over and over, I realized how often I failed to follow through on that promise long-term. I’d pray on the spot, and in the coming days as the situation came to mind. Then weeks would pass, and I’d realized I hadn’t prayed much for my friends’ requests.
My prayer list kept growing, and I felt overwhelmed by the number of deep needs around me. Sometimes, I didn’t even know where to begin and would blanket pray, “God, please just help them all!”
I wanted to pray more purposefully, but I didn’t know where to start. I asked God to help me find a way to be more disciplined in praying for the needs in my community.
One afternoon as I prayed, a thought came to me. I knew so many people going through the adoption process and a number struggling with cancer. I wondered, what if I prayed by topic? What if I came up with an A to Z list of prayer requests?
As I prayed from A to Z, I no longer felt overwhelmed. I even found myself praying for more people and situations than ever before. As I placed each need where it belonged–on our Heavenly Father’s strong shoulders–I experienced a peace and lightness in prayer that I hadn’t known in a long time.
Then I began to also praise God from A to Z. I realized how every need we have is met in who God is. As I prayed for adoptions, alcoholism, and abuse, I praised God that He is abundant and almighty. I prayed for marriages, missionaries and ministers, and the military, and praised God that He is majestic and merciful.
As we bring our communities’ deepest needs to the Father, we bring God’s light into the darkest corners.
And our communities need His light now more than ever before.
Will you join me in praying for your community? Together, we can shine a whole lot of light.
Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community features 5 topics for each letter. Three of those are prayers of petition, and two are prayers of praise. Each topic has a verse, a prompt, and a short prayer to get you started.
Pray A to Z can be used in many ways, including your personal quiet time, as a part of a small prayer group, during family devotions or in Sunday school classes. You can pray all the way through one letter each day, completing the entire alphabet in a month, or imply lift up one topic per day, or utilize any other order or schedule that suits your needs at the time. I’ve often camped out on one topic when there’s been something heavy on my heart.
My hope and prayer is that this book will help you experience a renewed excitement about prayer and enjoy a closer relationship with God. I also pray God will open your eyes to the struggles others are facing and show you how you can be His hands and feet of love to your community.
Pray A to Z is available now wherever books are sold, including online at: Order Pray A to Z
Amelia Rhodes lives in Michigan with her husband and two children. Amelia encourages women to discover who they are in Christ and to deepen their relationships with each other. She is the author of Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community (Worthy Inspired, 2016) and Isn’t it Time for a Coffee Break? Doing life together in an all-about-me kind of world. Her writing has also been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Upper Room, and GEMS’ Girls Clubs.
Connect with her online at www.ameliarhodes.co and via social media: