Today: Thursday, November 21, 2019

Prayer: Say One For Me    (3/27/2011 )


Prayer can be one of the most difficult things for new believers—and sometimes even for people who have believed for a long time!

Often, new believers aren’t sure what to pray about, or how to pray… how long should we pray for? Should we be formal with God? Should it be out loud? What sort of things should we cover? (If you’re in doubt about any of this, Jesus gives quite a bit of prayer guidance).

Sometimes, new believers tend to focus on prayers which address their own immediate concerns, whereas people who have believed for a long time struggle to pray for themselves and find it easier to pray for others, or the world.

The Church of England runs a prayer website during this period of Lent, before Easter, to help people pray. You can post your prayer online at the website, or at the associated Facebook page. There’s no need to register, just type your prayer right in, and you can remain anonymous. Other believers have promised to pray about all the concerns posted there.

The system is ideal because often people are more use to typing out emails, instant messages and Facebook posts than praying, so this helps to make prayer easier for them. It can also help to keep prayers shorter; God doesn’t need us to go on and on!

The site lets you see other people’s posts, too, and therefore connects you with a wider praying community. Reading their prayers is literally heart-rending; this child has cancer; that person’s marriage is ending; another desperately needs a job. It is not a big jump to go from feeling compassion for those situations to praying with the person who posted the prayers. Simply offering up a quiet ‘Yes, Lord’ as we read someone’s prayer enables us to join in solidarity with that person and adds our own weight to their prayer.

I think the way this site makes prayer easier and more accessible, and helps us to appreciate and pray for other people’s situations, makes it a great way for new believers to start praying or to develop their prayer life.

The Church of England has done some analysis of the prayers people have posted and found:

  • 19% are prayers for the world (over a third of them for Japan)
  • 14% are about healing for others
  • 10% are for family members
  • 9% are prayers for help with spiritual development
  • 7% are thanks to God
  • 4% are work-related concerns
  • 2% ask for healing for one’s self
  • 2% are about money worries.

Some people might ask whether typing something into a webpage is really the same thing as talking to God, whether God sees it; or whether it might be respectful enough. My answer to this is that God doesn’t mind how we talk to him; he sees everything; he doesn’t mind how we contact him, as long as we do. If our loved one is far from home, do we mind whether we hear from them by text, email, phone, IM or Facebook? No—we’re just glad to hear from them!

If you’re comfortable with Church on the Net, maybe you’d be comfortable with online prayer. Why not try it for yourself, and pray others’ prayers with them? But if you’re still struggling, remember the Lord’s Prayer covers everything you could possibly need to pray for.

Pray: God, I don’t always find it very easy to pray. Help me to find the right way, and the right words. Amen.

Think about: If you were God, how would you like people to pray to you, and what about?

Challenge: Go to the Say One For Me website, post your own prayer, and join in with any other prayers you see which touch you. You don’t need to leave your name or any details.

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