Again, if you’ve missed parts 1-3 of this series, I encourage you to read through those first. Here are the links:
Part 1: A fresh look at prayer by praying the Psalms
Part 2: Choosing Psalms to read/pray
Part 3: Praying phrase by phrase, verse by verse, thought by thought
Last time, I gave an example of how to work through a particular Psalm and incorporating it into the language of your daily prayers. It’s a pattern that can be used again and again and never grow old (at least to me)!
The tendency, however, with this prayer “system” is to habitually pray only for yourself. Now, it’s not wrong to pray for yourself. Most of the Psalms are written by authors who were praying for themselves! But, when every single prayer we pray is only on behalf of ourselves…. well that’s extremely self-centered. We lose sight of the needs of others and by not praying for someone else we could potentially deprive them from God’s blessings when we won’t go to the Lord on their behalf. Besides, don’t you want others to be praying for you, too? That is the Golden Rule, dontcha know 🙂
So, today, I am going to give you an example of how to pray for others as you walk through the Psalms.
If you’ve stayed on schedule, today you’ll have read: Psalm 8; 38; 68; 98; and 128. Sometimes you’ll find that not all the Psalms are easy to pray for others. Often you’ll discover that many of the Psalms will guide you to praise God for most of your prayer (like Psalm 68 today). Other Psalms that you’ll come across are called imprecatory Psalms (Psalms that invoke judgment on enemies, i.e. Psalm 137 says, “Blessed shall he be who takes Babylon’s little ones and dashes them against the rock!”). This type of Psalm might not be the best to pray! Or, at least certain verses of imprecatory Psalms…
But, there are a plethora of Psalms that you will be able to use to pray for others. Let me show you how based on Psalm 128 from today’s reading.
Read Psalm 128
Psalm 128 (ESV)
128 A Song of Ascents.
1 Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in his ways!
2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
4 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the Lord.
5 The Lord bless you from Zion!
May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life!
6 May you see your children’s children!
Peace be upon Israel!
Begin to work your way through the Psalm line by line, verse by verse, thought by thought and think of other people you wish to pray for. Perhaps someone has given you their prayer request at Bible Study. Maybe you know of someone at church who is going through hard times. Many people don’t even ask you to pray for them anymore, yet you can think of family members, friends, other believers, or non-believers who need prayer.
Have someone in mind yet? Good.
This is how I prayed for my own household today (which only includes my wife and me right now).
Your Word says that those who fear You, those who walk in Your ways, are blessed. It is my deepest desire to live according to Your ways, to fear You, honor You, and glorify You all of my days. Continue to instruct me with Your statutes. May Your Spirit direct my steps today to walk the path of life. Grant that I continue to produce the fruit of the Spirit by being diligent to observe my ways and keep them according to Your Word.
Blessed Lord, I pray that this would be true not only for me, but for my wife as well! May she be like a fruitful vine in our house, producing all sorts of blessings in all that she does. May she have the same desire I have to live according to Your ways and may she witness the way I fear, honor, and glorify You so that she would imitate me.
Heavenly Father, I am not yet a father, nor my wife a mother. But, I pray that the way we live now will establish healthy spiritual habits that will bless any children You grant to us in the future. We long for our future children to witness our walk with you and that it would be so contagious that they would desire to fear, honor, and glorify You as well! May I continue to learn how to be a faithful father from You, my good Father. Amen.
As you can see, I incorporated myself, my wife, and even my future children in this prayer! Praying for the next generation is never a bad thing!
I hope one of the five Psalms you read today will inspire ways to pray for others. They need your prayers just as badly as you need their prayers!
One helpful hint, write your prayers down in a journal. Whether you record your requests word for word or even just in bullet points, you’ll be amazed when you flip through them at a later date. I’ve found many of my prayers were answered by God almost to the exact letter! Plus, if you write down your prayers, you can mark which ones have been answered and which of those that you still need to bring to God.