prayer, Summer of Prayer Series

Prayer List Problem

Summer of Prayer Series

It is great to see the interest people have in developing and improving their prayer lives today. A great number of new books, articles, websites, apps, and Bible studies are available on the subject. I actually think the best is to be found in the older classics on prayer, but that’s me. Certainly, the most absolutely reliable writing on prayer is found in the Bible. Something to keep in mind when exploring all the new materials available today.

This post is about prayer lists. I guess because we tend to like having a list and checking things off, the idea of a prayer list sounds appealing to many. This is promoted widely and is generally a good suggestion. However, too much emphasis on this particular aspect of prayer leads to some problems. Sadly, some people are finding prayer to be disappointing when prayer list praying becomes the main focus. Instead of prayer time being the center of a real relationship with God, it becomes something heavy to carry each day. I’ve noticed people that seem to be under pressure to pray about all the things on their list. Praying on behalf of others is viewed as a serious duty with the outcome of people’s lives at stake.

C.S. Lewis mentioned what he called “one very silly sort of prayer. I have heard a man offer a prayer for a sick person which really amounted to a diagnosis followed by advice as to how God should treat the patient.”

I have heard this type of prayer very often when praying with a group.

The outcome of whatever we are praying about is NOT dependent upon us  

Faith needs to be in God not in our praying 

A vibrant prayer life is not about meeting some requirement but is about your relationship with God.

Put aside the list if it is dominating your time spent alone with the King. After all, God knows everything and does not have need of a detailed presentation to understand the details of problems, needs, requests…

I like to keep a list of people I am praying for but find that the best times of praying for others is when God brings a person to my mind. Amazingly when these times happen the prayer is so easy and natural because it is God who is calling me to pray not my list.

How about you?  What do you think about using a prayer list?

Please share your thoughts on prayer 


Prayer List ProblemSummer of Prayer

5 thoughts on “Prayer List Problem”

  1. Thank you for speaking to this topic. It is most important to understand prayer and how it builds our human-divine love relationship. Excellent work!

    The context for our praying is an intimate communion relationship with our God, making prayer the channel for conversation with our God on every matter of importance to Him and to us in our living. Prayer can be and is meant to be an intimate expression of a deep, mutual love relationship. Marriage is a human-level model of that intimate relationship. Imagine how a marriage would go if we spoke with our spouses the way we tend to speak with our God – only at a few set times in our day, only a one-way communication and not a two-way conversation, only focused on what we want the other to do for us, and mostly filled with pleading, begging, and directing. It sounds painful.

    For a great many people, prayer is evidence of a relationship turned on its head. Humans assume the directorship, giving directives to their God who has effectively become a type of servant to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your description of the kind of relationship that is self-focused does indeed sound sad and painful. A good reminder that we all can benefit from checking the health of our most important relationship. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


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