The Most Overlooked Prayer


Here’s The Most Overlooked Prayer

Have you prayed about it?

That question has annoyed me many times through the years, especially when I’m telling a friend about something I’m considering and they immediately respond with a quick, “Have you prayed about it?” It’s kind of a conversation stopper, especially when I’m asking someone for their opinion or advice – it feels like they are questioning my faith or judging my question.

I usually brush off the question or perhaps mutter a weak, “Yeah, of course” as I proceed with the conversation.

The truth is, sometimes I’ve prayed about it and sometimes I’ve just mouthed a quick prayer in passing, but even the latter is not always guaranteed. It’s embarrassing to admit, as a Christian writer and speaker and as someone who really loves Jesus, but it’s true. Some of the things that impact me most, things that are happening in my daily life, I pray about the least. Though I have prayer requests that I bring before the Lord daily, they are often for the “big” issues that concern me. In my focus on the monumental, I often overlook the most basic thing I should be bringing to the Lord – my upcoming day.

The Lord has been convicting me of this through various passages in my regular Bible reading plan. Paul’s prayers have modelled how we should be praying about everything (Philippians 4:6) and asking God to “fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:11). I especially love knowing that Paul asked God to fulfill the good things that the Thessalonians wanted to do but perhaps hadn’t carried through. Too often I feel the weight of trying to fulfill my good intentions, so it was freeing to ask God to help me do that. Throughout the day, I have so many good and godly things I resolve to do but just don’t do them. The Holy Spirit can empower me to fulfill every resolve for good that he has called me to.

The Lord also brought to mind my need to pray about everything as I was reading about King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles. The Bible tells us, “He sought the God of his father” (2 Chronicles 17:4), and told King Ahab before they went to war, “Inquire first for the word of the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 18:4). When he was in trouble in that war, “Jehoshaphat cried out and the Lord helped him” (2 Chronicles 18:31) and afterwards he continued to “set [his] heart to seek God” (2 Chronicles 19:3).

In the small and huge battles, Jehoshaphat completely relied on God. When faced with a vast army coming against him, rather than trying to figure out what to do in his own strength he fasted and sought the Lord and made his people do the same. Jehoshaphat’s heartfelt prayer is one of my favorites in Scripture, “For we are powerless against this horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12).

Jehoshaphat prayed about everything. I understand praying about the big things, the things that seem overwhelming, and I have sought the Lord on my knees and sometimes on my face for those things. But I don’t always pray about the details of my day.

So I decided to pray about what’s on my schedule each day. I look at my calendar the night before, making note of all the people I’m planning to interact with the following day. And then in the morning I pray about each one. There’s the regular physical therapist that I would love to share Jesus with, and I ask God for an opportunity to do that. There’s the receptionist at another appointment who always seems down whom I’d like to encourage. Then there’s the friend who’s coming for coffee, that I want to really listen to and not offer unsolicited advice. There are meetings and requests that I need clarity on – I don’t want to commit to things or automatically dismiss them without asking the Lord. Then there are the important conversations with people in my family that I rush into without much forethought or prayer.

This simple exercise of praying about my day has yielded incredible and unexpected results. I am more intentional in my interactions and more aware of what God is doing, rather than obliviously going to my encounters, focused solely on my intended results. Now I view each task and encounter differently – they aren’t interruptions or things I need to “get through ” but rather divine appointments from the Lord.

I pray for patience if my appointment is running late. I pray to be ever aware of God in my life. I pray for wisdom and clarity on my decisions. I pray for kindness and the ability to put myself in the other person’s position. I pray for the Lord to fulfill my good intentions. Recently, my husband and I had a packed weekend, much of it helping others. Normally, I would grumble that I didn’t get any free time for myself but we both remarked that we were excited to see the way the Lord was using us.

This daily habit has changed my perspective and revealed my heart. Tasks that once seemed like obligations have become opportunities to serve God and to hear from him. The more I pray, the more I care about the things that God cares about. The more I pray, the more I hear God in my everyday life. The more I pray, the more my priorities change. This seemingly small act of praying about my schedule has opened my ears, my eyes and my heart to what the Lord is putting before me.

So as you consider the day in front of you, I’m sincerely asking, “Have you prayed about it?”

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