10 Things to Help Focus Praying Over Your Community

10 Things to Help Focus Praying Over Your Community

10 Things to Help Focus Praying Over Your Community

Pastors and Sunday school teachers have been saying this for years: “If God were to answer all the prayers you’ve been praying, would it change anyone else’s life but your own?” It’s a challenging call to not only lay our own burdens down at Jesus’ feet, but also to bring him the burdens of those around us.

Amelia Rhodes tried to stay faithful in praying for the people in her community, but sometimes it was difficult to focus. So she started keeping a list of common prayer needs to help her focus praying for others. Then Amelia said that her friends asked for a copy of that list because they struggled to pray for others too. Over time she organized those prayers into a book, Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community, to share them with you.

Do you have a strong desire to pray for the people in your community, but just don’t know how or where to start? Pray A to Z is a collection of 150 topics, 5 for each letter of the alphabet, that will help you focus and remember the needs in your community – needs like: hunger, law enforcement, and nature care. A lot of the prayers are asking God for help, but each letter also contains prayers that offer praise to God. Why?

“When praying for all these heavy issues we face in our communities, I found that bringing my focus back to praise lightened the load,” Amelia said. “Praise takes our eyes off the burdens and brings our attention back to our Heavenly Father.”

Here are 10 prayer topics excerpted from, Pray A to Z. (Amelia also kindly answered a couple questions from us at iBelieve, giving us a peak into how and why she wrote the book!)

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On Writing <i>Pray A to Z</i>:

On Writing Pray A to Z:

iBelieve: Are these prayers birthed out of your personal prayer life, or was it more of a project that you set out to accomplish?

Amelia Rhodes: This book started out of my own prayer life, but I didn’t set out to write a book on prayer! One day within the span of a few hours, I received phone calls and text messages from a number of friends who were all dealing with very heavy struggles. Each one asked me to pray for them. Of course, I said I would, but at that point I recognized how often I fail to follow through on praying long-term for people. As I prayed that day, I also asked God to help me with my prayer life. I realized how many people I knew were struggling with the same types of things — adoptions, cancer, marriages. Then I decided to see if I could make an A to Z list of all the needs and struggles facing our communities today. So I grabbed a stack of 3x5 cards and started a list of 26 topics.

iBelieve: Who did you write this book for, and why did you write it?

Amelia Rhodes: It started as a project just for me, to help me stay focused in my own prayer life. As I shared how I was praying with a few friends, they admitted how much they struggle in their own prayer life and asked if I would share my Pray A to Z list with them. I started with 26 topics, one for each letter, but the list grew. It was like God opened my eyes to needs in my community that I had never noticed before. But rather than feeling burdened and overwhelmed, I found my prayer life deepening as I grew closer to God. I experienced a lightness in my spirit as I placed the burdens where they belong - on His strong shoulders. My prayer is that readers of Pray A to Z will deepen their relationship with their Heavenly Father and see His personal care for them and their communities.

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Adoption

Adoption

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint,” Isaiah 40:31.

Pray for waiting adoptive families, waiting children, host families, orphanages, and adoption agencies. Remember to include families who have adopted in years past and pray for any struggles just now surfacing with their children.

Father, I pray for every child to be part of a loving family. Be with these families and provide for their financial, emotional, and physical needs as they adopt. Give wisdom to the adoption agencies and host families. Comfort birth parents as they make the hard choice to release their child. Watch over children as they wait for their forever family. I pray all will feel Your loving arms around them as they transition to a new reality. Continue to knit together these families who have completed their adoptions. May a supportive and loving community surround them through all the struggles of parenthood. When challenges come, when hurtful words are said, when fear and uncertainty creep in, I pray You will remain in the middle. Amen.

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Elderly

Elderly

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you,” Isaiah 46:4.

Pray for the elderly in your community, for the families who care for them, and for the caregivers who assist them, whether at home or in assisted-living or nursing homes. Pray they will be honored and blessed until the end of their days on earth.

Father, I bring the elderly in my community before You today. Thank You for the long life You have granted them. Help us as a community let them know we value them, their wisdom, and their experiences. I ask that they would be honored and blessed until the end of their time on this earth. As they endure bodies and minds breaking down with time, grant them courage to face each day. May they remember that You are the God who made them, and you still sustain them. Should they experience loneliness, may they know You are always with them. Prompt a family member or friend to visit, call, or write. Surround them with people who patiently care for and unselfishly serve them. Be with the facilities offering care and assistance to the elderly in my community. May the staff serve the residents today with grace, patience, and dignity. Amen.

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Kindness

Kindness

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law,” Galatians 5: 22-23.

Pray that you and your community will be filled with and known for kindness and compassion.

Father, I desire to display the fruit of kindness, yet sometimes I don’t know how to do so. Through Your Holy Spirit, please grow this fruit in me until it overflows into the lives around me. Prompt me with practical ideas to reach out and offer Your loving-kindness to those around me every day. When I am the one in need, help me to humbly open the door and allow the kindness of others into my life. Begin a movement of kindness in my community that catches and spreads. May we show kindness, not for recognition or a good feeling, but quietly, out of love and appreciation for the kindness You have shown us. Show us this week who needs a smile, a gesture, or a helping hand. Give us courage to act and not to expect anything in return. Amen.

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Ordinary Life

Ordinary Life

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God,” 1 Corinthians 10:31.

Pray over the elements of your everyday, ordinary life. Remember to bring Him every detail – not just the big challenges, but also the daily routines – and seek to glorify Him in all you do.

Father, thank You for Your concern over every detail of life. Forgive me for the times when I’ve gone about my normal day and not given much thought to You or asked for Your direction. Today, as I go about my activities, I desire to honor You in everything. I bring these ordinary routines to You and invite You to be part of them. May my community not just come to You when we’re in distress. Rather, help us recognize how much we need You every day, and how You desire to be part of every element of our community. Help us remember to open our hearts and lives to You and learn to recognize Your presence in the ordinary mundaneness of our everyday lives. Amen.

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Pregnancies

Pregnancies

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb,” Psalm 139:13.

Pray for those who are pregnant. Pray for those who have unexpected pregnancies to have wise decision-making skills and support. Pray for those suffering from postpartum depression to receive help and experience hope and healing.

Father, You are the Creator of all life. You know us whole we are still in our mothers’ wombs, and you know all the days of our lives before they happen. Thank You for the lives growing within mothers. Protect the children growing inside them. May this be a special time of seeing You in deep and meaningful ways. Ease their fears and anxieties about giving birth. Should they experience complications in their pregnancies, help them know the peace and comfort of Your presence. Surround those with unexpected pregnancies with a community to love and support them long-term through the challenges ahead. For those who are suffering from depression and anxiety, give them courage to ask for help. Enable the community around them to see signs of their despair and offer help in ways they can accept. Help them to receive Your love and healing. Amen.

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Revival

Revival

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” Psalm 85:6.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to move in peoples’ hearts and bring renewed spiritual fervor. Pray that believers of Christ will have a passion for Him and His Word. Pray for pastors, teachers, and church leaders to stay true to God’s Word in their teachings.

Father, I need Your Holy Spirit to move in people’s hearts and bring a renewed spirit for You. Will You not revive us again? May a revival begin in my community, and may it begin in my heart. Reveal what is stealing our love and attention away from You, and remove any false gods from our lives. Shift us away from lukewarm faith, and light in us a passionate, all-consuming belief in You (Revelation 3:16). Awaken in us a deeper thirst and hunger for You and Your Word. Tear down the walls of our hearts. May we see Your truth, and may it set us free. Stir the pastors in my community into deeper devotion to You. Move through their faithful teaching of the Word to bring souls to dedicated faith in you. Have Your way in our hearts and lives, and launch a revival that stretches across our community and nation. Amen.

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Suicide

Suicide

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?... For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life,” Psalm 56:8,13.

Pray for those in your community with suicidal thoughts, that they will know their lives have value and they are loved. Pray that God will give hope, peace, and a sound mind and spirit. Pray for children and families in your community who have been affected by suicide, that they will know God’s deep comfort.

Father, all life is precious and created by you. When I encounter someone who is silently struggling under the weight of hopelessness and believing that life has no value, may Your Spirit prompt me to offer words of hope and life. Help those contemplating suicide to accept love from You and others. Prompt people around them to show love and acceptance. Enable all to see the truth of their incredible value to You, to their families, and to friends. Defeat the lies they have believed or heard from others. Provide Your comforting hand to families whose loved ones took their own lives. Remove any guilt or shame they may feel, and bring a community to surround them with Your love long-term. Be with counselors and service providers helping them. When despair sets in, bring the hope and peace that comes only from you. Amen.

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Unity

Unity

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace,” Ephesians 4:3.

Pray for unity among believers and for churches to come together in the name of Christ to love and serve the community. Pray for unity in families where there is division, and for relationships where there is strife. Pray for unity even among diversity and disagreement, for God’s glory and honor.

Father, help me see where I can be a catalyst for unity in my community and spheres of influence. Show me Your compassion for the brokenhearted, and equip me with prayer, strength, and leadership to make an impact in the world for your glory. Bring the churches in my community together in the name of Christ to serve the surrounding areas with love and practical help. Help Your Church to grow together in love seeking the common truth of Your grace. Enable unity in the most intimate places – our families. Help families in my community stand strong together in Your Word and in prayer. Where there are divisions, show how healing can begin, and let there be peace. Show us how the beauty of unity can thrive in the midst of diversity. Where our families, friendships community groups, and churches experience disagreement, allow unity to continue for Your glory. Amen.

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Victory

Victory

Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garmetns stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? ‘It is I, proclaiming victory, mighty to save,’” Isaiah 63:1.

Praise God for His victory over sin and death through Christ. Recall the ways He has brought His victory in to your life and community. Offer praise for His victory, which overcomes the world and all the trouble in it.

Father, You are a victorious and mighty God. You have defeated Your enemy and delivered Your people from the restraints of sin and death. You have given all who follow Jesus Christ the victory, and sin holds no power over us (1 Corinthians 15:57). I offer praise for how You’ve delivered me from the grasp of sin and darkness through Jesus. I praise You for the victory You have given my community. Through You, we overcome the darkness in the world. Though the battle may feel all-consuming and wear us down, You renew our strength, and help us run and not grow weary, walk and not fain (Isaiah 40:31). Your victory overcomes the world (1 John 5:4). You are the victorious One, who is mighty to save. Amen.

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Zero Prejudice

Zero Prejudice

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” Galatians 3:28.

Pray for healing of racial tensions in your community and for the elimination of all types of prejudices. Pray that you would see each person as a valued image-bearer of God. Pray for love across all races, religions, and genders, while not compromising the truth of God’s Word.

Father, the world today is ripped open with bitter conflict, racial tensions, and religious and gender prejudices. Convict me, Lord, where I have prejudice and stereotypes, and through Your Holy Spirit replace these things with honor and love for others. Help me see people who are different from me through Your eyes. Bring healing from racial tensions and religious and gender prejudices in my community. I ask for Your help to love my neighbors as myself and realize that everyone is valuable to You. Give us all courage to speak and act in someone’s defense when we see an injustice happen, whether in a prejudiced word or action. Help us share Your love with those around us a break down the barriers of prejudice in our communities. Amen.

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<i>Pray A to Z</i> Solo or in a Group

Pray A to Z Solo or in a Group

Amelia Rhodes is an author, speaker, and storyteller with a passion for connecting people to God and each other. She is the author of Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community, and Isn’t it Time for a Coffee Break? Doing life together in an all-about-me kind of world. Her writing has been featured in four Chicken Soup for the Soul titles and in the international devotional The Upper Room.

If you are interested in using Pray A to Z with a group, get the free Groups Guide here, and learn how you can get a discount on quantities of 25 or more.

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