Act 36: Habit asked us: What generous action from the last 35 days do you want to make a habit? Two generous actions have become a habit from the past two years of participating in 40acts.
A generous action from the first year I participated in 40acts is still a habit of mine.
Three years, there was an Act to be generous in prayer. (I think there is a prayer Act each year.) I knew there was a hole in my prayer life. I knew where my prayers were stingy. I knew who I wasn’t praying for.
I had some aspects of prayer covered. Prayers of gratitude are the bedrock of my relationship with God – even in tough times. When I’m struggling, I pray. I will belt out my laments to God. When I know of a situation that is devastating or difficult, I take it to Jesus. If someone is suffering, I hold them in the light of God’s countenance.
But, praying for people – people I love and care about – on a regular basis? I never found a way to do that. If you were doing reasonably well, I wasn’t praying for you. If you were confronting the ordinary challenges, triumphs, and hurts of everyday life, I was thinking about you, talking with you, but I wasn’t lifting up your joys and sorrows in prayer with any regularity.
I tried. I read about the systems other people – and other pastors – used to pray for people regularly. I created lists and started cards files and set up photos. Sorry. If you were doing reasonably well – confronting the ordinary challenges, triumphs, and hurts of everyday life – I wasn’t praying for you very often.
In the devotional on generous prayer that year, there was a link to PrayerMate. I tried it and – let me tell you – you are prayed for!
I tossed everyone I wanted to be praying for into the app – my family and friends, members of this congregation and others I have served. PrayerMate brings you each up into my consciousness for prayer in a rotation I don’t have to worry about. I don’t have to spend time figuring out which person “really needs it now”. I don’t feel overwhelmed because it only gives me a few names at a time. If I miss a day (or three), there’s no judgment; I pick up where I left off.
Don’t say technology never does any good for humanity. I am so grateful to be praying for those I am closest to, on a daily basis, because every day I love you and care about you and want God’s will to be done in your life.
Early this year, PrayerMate and/or my phone crashed in a way that made me lose all the names I had entered and the prayers that I had written for each of you. But, it didn’t matter. God had heard the prayers. And, re-entering each of your names, I got to prayer for you all over again.
This reminds me, I need to pray for Andy Geers today. He’s the developer of PrayerMate.