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By Trudy Vander Veen


Do you ever have trouble knowing what or whom to pray for?  You’ll be amazed how much guidance you’ll find right in your Bible.


Most of us would hardly think of going out in public without checking our personal grooming.  And we always plan carefully before entertaining guests in our homes.  But many of us drop casually to our knees with little notion of how we are going to spend out time with the Lord.  Sometimes we don’t have in mind anything to pray for, but start to pray automatically because “it’s time,” or we’re conscious that our list of petitions and praises far outnumbers the moments we have allotted for prayer.


Without a plan, our prayer time and thoughts are erratic:  we voice a quick thanksgiving, state a need, confess a sin, raise up a friend’s prayer request, and so on.  All the while we’re fighting the tendency to dwell on the many pressing tasks that need doing.


Undoubtedly such casual, unplanned prayer is better than no prayer at all.  And often we need simply to resort to the Lord in prayer without a specific plan for that time: we need time in His presence more than we need specific communication.  But for our prayers to be “powerful and effective” (James 5:16), we need to follow Peter’s advice: “The end of all things is near.  Therefore, be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray” (1 Peter 4:7).


One way to be clear minded during prayer is to use a memory device, “Pray Powerfully.”  After we’ve practiced using this device for a while, the letter in “pray” should call to mind four elements of praise, while those in “powerfully” should remind us of ten types of petitions.  In our family, we don’t use the acrostic in a regimented way that takes away the spontaneous nature of communion with God.  It is simply an aid in bringing specific aspects of prayer into focus so that we can give each appropriate attention.  And since we cover so many elements in praying according to this pattern, we realize that sometimes we’ll have to choose to cover only a few in a given period of prayer.






Praise the Lord, Proclaim His Greatness.  “I will praise you , O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.  For great is your love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of the grave” (Ps. 86:12-13).

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