Like many followers of Jesus, I keep a prayer list. It is maintained online, through an app that synchronizes between a couple of my devices, although I usually just call it up from my smartphone in the morning. Recently, I have been challenged to make it less of a “rote” prayer list, where I feel compelled to pray about the same things every day about each person on the list. Instead, I am challenged to make it more of a conversation with God (a suggestion that I got from one of my teenage children, and one which I value).
When I try to make my prayer time more natural, though, I admit that I feel guilty if I didn’t pray “enough” for certain people on that list. Hopefully, I will get better at discarding this legalistic attitude over time, remembering that God already knows who needs help, and He isn’t going to withhold His blessings to someone just because I missed a day of asking for them.
The verse below caught my eye during a devotion, though:
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 NLT
This is a nice blessing, and could even be a friendly greeting to other believers yet today. (If you start greeting your friends with blessings from the Bible, they might be a little surprised at first, but I suspect that if you are sincere about it, they will grow to appreciate your genuine love as you request God’s goodness upon them.)
What strikes me is that this verse could be my prayer for most of the people on my prayer list:
- Those with physical suffering. These friends and family members need hope as they endure pain.
- Those serving as missionaries. These laborers for God are blessed when they find joy while they minister to others who need the redemptive word of God.
- Those with marital struggles. These people need peace in challenging times.
- Those struggling with inner turmoil. These honest hearts often need the grace to work through difficult questions, resulting in their trust in God being strengthened.
- Those serving in the church. These patient souls need all of the above!
And, I think that every one of us could use more of the Holy Spirit’s power.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we all convert our prayer lists to just repeating this verse for everyone we know. There are many styles of prayer (including Jesus’ example in Matthew 6:9-13, and commands like those in 1 Timothy 2:1-6), and I am hoping to offer some ideas, not be prescriptive or legalistic.
However, I invite you to think about some people in your life who need the blessings captured in this prayer. Take a moment to pray for them in this way, and then let them know that you did so. Maybe you could just text or message them with a link to this verse, and tell them that you are praying this prayer for them. Or, maybe they will be blessed if you call or (if you are able) stop by to tell them directly.
In the same way, as you read through the Bible, look for other examples of blessings and prayers like this, and try them out as “templates” for how you ask God to get involved in others’ lives. These verses don’t have to limit what you talk with God about, but you might find your own soul being recharged at the same time, as you learn Scripture and watch God work.
I pray that you will be filled completely with God’s joy, peace, trust (in Him), hope, and power today!
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.