How to Pray Through a Heavy Prayer List
My prayer list is full of burdens today.  Maybe yours is, too.  
 
In fact, I look at the ones that are immediate, critical needs, and I tell the Lord, “There is so much pain and concern/worry for the families here!”
 
Our daughter-in-law is recovering from a very invasive surgery for Stage IV colon cancer.  The recovery is going well but will be slow.  There will be more treatment in the future.
 
One friend went in for two procedures a few days ago and should have come home the next day.  But one of the procedures went poorly.  It has resulted in trying to figure out the problem and additional surgery.  As you know, if you’ve been the family in a situation like this, it is worrisome and exhausting.
 
One friend has declined in just days from being able to take care of himself to being racked with pain and weak to the point he needs help doing everything.  And he got the flu on top of that.
 
One friend is in the hospital with critical burns and at least one failed graft suffering intense pain.  He will be there another 5-7 weeks.
 
One friend lost their daughter after multiple bouts of breast cancer that finally overtook her whole body. She is rejoicing in heaven, but leaves a husband and seven little boys, parents, grandparents, sisters, and many others with a deep loss.
 
At Thanksgiving, no less.
 
Of course, the list continues with daily concerns for friends and family.  The list of those I pray will come to Christ is there.  The prayers for our church, our nation, our schools, missionaries, our family.
 
But those first items I listed are pressing in for prayer throughout the day, and I’m thankful for so many passages in God’s word that give hope, not only to me but to those longing for comfort, strength and/or healing and those waiting for their recovery.  Even for those who are asking, “Why?”
 
I thought I would give you some ideas about how to pray in and for these situations.  This doesn’t have to be a linear process - although I would start with Worship first.
 

Begin with worship  

Praise the Lord for who He is.  Think of the characteristics of God that are not based on what he has done, but WHO HE IS.  The list is long - Scripture is full of them.     

If you’re struggling with the weight of the concerns and struggle, it might be difficult to think of some. Here’s a starter list:

Holy - set apart, unequaled, unique, the ONE true God (1 Samuel 2:2; Psalm 22:3; Revelation 4:8)
Good - a good we struggle to imagine because we don’t know anyone perfectly good; kind (1 Chronicles 16:34; Psalm 106:1; Ephesians 1)
Able - all-powerful; sovereign over ALL things (Matthew 6:13; Mark 5:30; 1 Timothy 6:15)
Promise-keeper - faithful to keep every promises He has made (Numbers 7:9; 1 Corinthians 1:9)
Prince of peace - He has provided a way for us to be at peace with Him (Isaiah 9:6; Ephesians 2:14)
Strength - He is almighty and He will convey strength to those who look to Him for it (Psalm 18:1; Ephesians 6:10)
Wisdom - He promises to share his wisdom with anyone who asks (Psalm 104:24; James 1:5)
Protector - if He doesn’t take you out of the storm, He will protect you in it (Psalm 3:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:3)
Victorious - our Living Hope is in Christ who has overcome the grave and will end evil forever (Revelation 17:14)
 

Thank the Lord for His great and precious promises and that He is the great Promise Keeper!

Here is a short list of precious promises to get you started:

  • He invites us to give Him our burdens (Matthew 11:30; 1 Peter 5:7)
  • He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7)
  • He promises to be near the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18)
  • He promises a light burden to those who come to Him (Matthew 11:30)
  • He will be found by those who seek Him with all their heart (Deuteronomy 4:29; Jeremiah 29:13)
 

Ask God to do in the situation what He has promised in His word (see #2)

 For example:
 
Lord, I pray that Suzie will give her burden to you knowing that you will lighten her load because you care for her.
 
Father, I know you promise to be near to the broken-hearted, so I pray that Johnny will sense your nearness and lean into your comfort.
 
A resource I have found so helpful for praying for believers in these crushing situations is a book by Nancy Guthrie.  “I’m Praying For You:  40 Days of Praying the Bible for Someone Who Is Suffering” has helped me so much in my prayer ministry.   
 
The goal of this book is summed up in this statement from the introduction:
 
“Instead of praying only for the brokenness to be made whole, we’re going to pray that the glory of God’s character would be on display uniquely through the broken places.”
 This is a great reminder that God has promised to use everything for good.  And His desire is always that we seek first His glory.  

For each passage, Nancy has written a short devotion, a prayer based on that passage, and then has provided a sentence or two we can send to the person, so they know how we are praying for them.  There is also a place for notes at the end of each “chapter,” and I put the date and the person I prayed for there.
 
I have not used it as a 40-day commitment to one person’s suffering.  Sometimes a person’s suffering doesn’t last long.  Yet it could surely be used that way.  
 
The beauty of using the Bible as a foundation of our prayer is that we know we are praying in God’s will.  
 
When you just don’t know how to pray, ask the Holy Spirit to pray for you.  
 
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;  Romans 8:26
I would love to hear the ways you pray through these heavy concerns in life or how this has encouraged you. If you haven't subscribed to get notified of new posts, you can do that up at the top of the page.

Lord, we thank you that not only do you promise to care for us but that you are able to do all things according to your will.  Help us to trust you as we lift our heavy burdens to you for Christ to carry.  Amen!



1 Comment

  1. I really like the description of praise and worship first. Many times. I start out doing that and then get caught up in the serious need of the requests.and it would give more energy to the prayer time if I would focus on that.

    What I like to prat to with my requests is that through it all someone will see their need for Jesus in their lives..like in losing a loved one and they want to see them again they must get saved and as Nancy says. ...be more specific in telling them how we are praying.

    This is all good Beth, thank you.

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