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How to Pray

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In times of crisis, we can easily become overwhelmed by the numerous prayer needs of our families, churches, offices, nation, and the world. Alliance Life staff asked six Alliance workers to offer a blueprint of how to pray for various requests. We trust that their thoughts will bring you clarity and direction as you intercede.

How to Pray for Healing

by Stephen Ko

“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more” (Matthew 2:18).

She wept along the road to Bethlehem, giving birth to the “son of her sorrow.” She wept while her offspring meandered in captivity toward Babylon. She wept when innocent boys were murdered by King Herod.

She cries as innocent minorities are killed while enduring discrimination. She cries amid a raging pandemic that steals away loved ones. She cries over a fractured country where conflicts escalate beyond reason.

We all need healing—personally and collectively. When we are weeping, God meets us in our grief. In the desolation of isolation, Jesus heals our brokenness. Though He escaped in Bethlehem while other boys died, He died at Golgotha that we might live. Just as He healed every disease and affliction, Jesus desires to heal every sickness and infirmity affecting us.

How do we experience the healing touch of Jesus? James instructs us to pray, to call the elders, and to anoint the sick with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith is vital to the act of healing, yet the power of healing comes from Jesus alone. “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities . . . by his wounds, we are healed” (Isa. 53:5).
Let us pray for healing but not for our sake. Let us pray for healing for the sake of the gospel and the glory of the Risen King. Healing, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, is meant to point toward Christ. It is for His glory that we live, die, and are healed.

Our prayer for healing should mirror the prayer that Jesus taught, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The only boy to escape Herod’s genocide is the only one who can heal us.

How to Pray for International Workers

by Janet Kuhns Howard

During the 40 years I served in Indonesia, the prayers of our partners renewed us when we were at the end of our strength. We even avoided sickness in remote jungles during our first term because of one woman’s daily prayers. Fruit-producing prayers make a demand on our time, but they also make a difference in the lives of our workers.

Pray Intelligently

With the resources at our fingertips, we can learn much about the culture our workers serve in: the local religious beliefs, the political situation, and the health care available. Though most teams work in cities, others are serving in areas where even clean water is scarce. How wonderful to feel as though we are with the ones we pray for because we know about their ministry location.

Pray Specifically

Many international workers send newsletters with photos and lists of prayer requests. Share in their victories and words of thanks with prayer. Keep notes of their requests in a prayer diary and continue interceding for those needs until they are answered. Send emails asking for updates, and be part of their team by letting them know that their prayer needs are being covered.

Pray Passionately

2 Corinthians 5:14—“For Christ’s love compels us”—is our call to partner in prayer with our international workers who obeyed that same compelling call. It must be the Spirit of God that moves our hearts to care and pray. They face hardships, struggles, and emotional and physical trials that are only compounded by living in a culture and with a language not their own. Separation from family is never easy We pray that they will be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Together we share in the eternal results.

How to Pray for Your Pastor

by Steven Lausell

In a time when forest fires are consuming our communities, winds and flooding are battering our coasts, and COVID-19 is lurking everywhere, it’s difficult to peer past the difficulties and see what lies ahead. In such times it is normal to look to our pastors for vision, encouragement, and direction. Yet, the many restrictions from COVID-19 have kept pastors from caring for their congregations the way they always have. The impact of these circumstances is even greater for pastors recently called to their current churches.

How do we pray for our pastors in times like these?

First, pray that your pastor remembers what God has done in his life to bring him to this ministry and to maintain a clear vision of what God has called him to do—even if it’s difficult to see how to move forward.

Second, pray that God allows your pastor to see how God is intervening in the midst of the disruption and turmoil. Pray for great encouragement, now more than ever, and the knowledge that God did not send him to do this ministry alone; God called him and brought him along to minister together with Him. God has a plan, and that plan is unfolding before his very eyes.
Finally, pray that God will give your pastor great discernment and wisdom to make decisions as the church moves forward—decisions that honor God’s name, bless God’s people, and proclaim the gospel in words and deeds that advance God’s Kingdom and bring salvation and spiritual growth to the lives of many.

Remember that to God it is “business as usual,” even in the midst of the storm!

How to Pray for the Lost

by Sandy Kang

Deep down, we often wonder why we should pray for the lost when we have so many immediate challenges at hand. Or we doubt if our prayers will make any meaningful difference in the salvation of the lost. Just as a mother’s womb expands with the growth of her developing baby, God expands our spiritual womb to care for the lost through these small prayer burdens that eventually become our prayer assignments.

I spent the summer of 2007 working with disabled children whose parents had abandoned them because of their country’s one-child policy. One hot and dark evening, intense miscarriage pains overtook my six-month pregnant body. This dreadful and fearful night did not end in another miscarriage but birthed a special burden to pray for the unborn.

Upon returning from this country, my small prayer burden became a clear mission for the next season. I prayed with boldness that God would move mountains so these unborn children would live. After nearly seven years of stewarding this burden, this nation’s policy was reversed. Was it my prayer that brought about this change?

I will confidently say the opposite—my prayers actually changed my own heart. It is in prayer that I intimately received the Father’s heart of compassion, love, and longing for the broken, abandoned, and lost. A fierce passion to stand in the gap for the spiritually blind refined my personal life mission to be His prayer ambassador to the nations. And from this place, I have since embraced many orphaned children and fed them with God’s love and hope.

Those who prevail in prayer for the lost may experience a spiritual pregnancy that may last for a moment, years, or even a lifetime. Some may never witness the spiritual birth of the ones they fight for in prayer. Even so, may we give God our “yes” to receive His invitation to pray, because it is only in prayer that our heart’s capacity grows to love and care for the lost.

How to Pray for Revival

by Jelani Aswad Nkosi Pinnock

Knowing revival is a corporate move of God, I reached out to a few worship leaders I know (Geoffrey Golden, Psalmist Raine, and Kendall McDowell) who are seeking revival daily. As I interviewed these humble giants in ministry, I asked, “What are the seeds of revival?” I hope their words will encourage us to plant and water all that Jesus is doing in our days.

Seeds of Prayer

Prayer is “allowing our reality to take a back seat to what we see in the Spirit,” says Geoffrey. This happens when we pray the way Jesus instructed us to in Matthew 6, saying, “on earth as it is in heaven.” Prayer supernaturally allows us to see life the way God sees from heaven. We need God’s eyes before we can experience revival. May we seek God’s sight as we seek His face.

Seeds of Teaching

Psalmist Raine spoke of how the Lord had been stirring her to add language to what people often experience when they are seeking God. She desires to aggressively come against any force attempting to interrupt the move of God in our churches. Pray for teaching that instructs the Body of Christ to supernaturally combat what seeks to halt the revival Christ is bringing.

Seeds of Hunger

Hunger for the Lord Jesus is “the spiritual fuel that keeps the spirit of revival alive,” says Kendall. The empowerment for ministry found in Acts 1:8 is derived from that hunger. He says hunger begets empowerment, empowerment brings revival, and revival “changes everything about us.” Revival dethrones every old system, paradigm, and ideology we adopted “in order for the Spirit of God to truly infiltrate a region and influence a people.”

Let us pray earnestly for these seeds to come forth in our churches. “We’re gonna’ see revival, Your Holy Spirit poured out, falling on sons and daughters. We wanna’ see You move in this room” (from “See Revival” by Geoffrey Golden).

How to Pray Against Spiritual Oppression

by Craig Stephen Smith

As a Native American believer coming out of an animistic culture, I see Satan’s manifestations as incredibly overt. Because of the utilization of idolatrous sacred objects, the sins of our fathers have visited well beyond the third and fourth generations (see Exodus 20:4–5). In more than 40 years of ministry, I’ve often confronted the supernatural face-to-face.

Because science-based Western culture denies the existence of the supernatural, Satan’s work is covert. Western Christians are easily lulled into a sleepy indifference to darkness that dismisses such things as superstition. Scripture affirms that “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24). Biblical truth acknowledges the reality and power not only of God but of our enemy as well. So must we!

To be free from Satan’s attacks, believers need to pray intentionally toward:

  1. Guarding our hearts. If you are under spiritual attack, recognize Satan’s desire is to kill, steal, and destroy. Devour God’s Word daily and speak it to the supernatural world. Remind Satan’s legions they are already defeated by Christ, and command them to go in His name! Exercise your God-given authority through the Holy Spirit’s power.
  2. Guarding our homes. Israel was commanded not to bring any sacred objects of the nations into their homes lest they become set apart for destruction (see Deuteronomy 7:25–26). Today, many believers possess sacred objects of animistic people, believing them to be only artistic pieces. Strong powers of darkness attach themselves to sacred objects, often manifesting themselves in our homes and families. Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal if you have entered into unholy alliances. If so, it’s time to clean house!
  3. Guarding our minds. Renounce any ground given over to Satan in the strong name of Jesus (see Proverbs 28:13; Ezekiel 14:6)! Take it back through prayer, and dedicate it to its rightful owner, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This practice pulls the roots of the supernatural out of our lives.

House cleaning is powerful action, renouncing is powerful praying, and obedience is powerful living. Freedom comes when we do them all!

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