Praying for Students Entering College

If you feel called to pray for your community and/or your church, one of the best ways you can pray right now is for young people who are entering college.

Our community prayer group is currently praying for:

  • Students still in high school but starting dual enrollment classes in college this semester.
  • College freshmen returning to school after their first home break.
  • High school students applying for college for next fall.
  • High school graduates who took off the fall term and are just entering college for the first time this spring.

If you went through this process as a young adult, you may remember how stressful it can be. At that age, students often feel that the rest of their lives depend on the decisions they are making in the moment. They put a lot of pressure on themselves.

It is helpful to pray that the Lord, first of all, will keep them in His peace. That they will be fully aware of His presence and His leading through this process. That they can trust Him with their lives and their futures. That they will be able to enjoy the moment and the experience with Him.

Pray for wisdom. For God to open and close the right doors. For God’s intervention where the enemy or man might present an obstacle.

Pray for God to keep them encouraged, and to help them find peace in their own identities and in knowing they are absolutely precious to God. Pray for godly people in their lives and for God to keep them from the wrong influences.

Above all else, pray as the Holy Spirit leads you to pray.

Remember also to pray for the parents as they guide and support their young ones through this process.

You can pray this in general for your community and/or for your church family. God knows who the young people are that need your prayers, even if you do not know.

If you personally know young people going through this process, tell their parents you are praying for their children in their transition to college life.

If you are part of a church prayer team, perhaps the pastor would like for you to say a prayer out loud on a Sunday morning – ask him or her about it.

In whatever ways God leads you to pray, just know that this process of transition to college is a big prayer need for our communities and churches at this time of year. Thank you for your heart for prayer. God bless.

Prayers for Community Organizations: Junior Achievement

How many children in your community know how to balance a checkbook? How many adults do?

Financial illiteracy adds challenges to already difficult situations. If someone is struggling with poverty, not only does that person need employment opportunities and training. He or she also needs life skills to sustain that employment and provide for his or her family.

Many community organizations put volutneers to work, sharing and teaching life skills. Poverty is not the only stumbling block to learning life skills. In my own community, we have children living practically homeless, often without adult supervision; grandparents, aunts, and uncles trying to raise more children than they can care for; parents in jail; extreme levels of addiction in the population; and few corporate jobs or work-training programs.

Fortunately, our community has responded to these challenges with many organizations fueled by volunteers. As prayer warriors, it is important that we get to know the volunteer programs in our community, and not only join one that’s appropriate for us, but also pray for one or two others. Each of us can ask the Lord: “Where should I volunteer to help my community? And please show me one or two organizations You would have me pray for.” It’s important not to overextend, but to hear strategically from the Lord. One person can’t be everywhere or pray for everyone. But the Lord can orchestrate many willing hearts, so that everything is covered, and we are praying in unity.

To gain some experience in praying for a volunteer organization, let’s look at one that made a difference to me when I was a teenager: Junior Achievement. When I was in high school, I learned life skills, entrepreneurship, and how to serve as a corporate officer through my JA company. I received a sense of self-worth by the fact that several corporate employees gave up one night a week to mentor us. And the life skills and financial literacy I was taught by my parents were reaffirmed and put to work in our JA company.

Recently, I was thrilled to learn from a teacher-friend that JA still exists, and has revamped for the young population of today. They provide weekly entrepreneurial and financial literacy training at learning centers, as well as “JA days” in the classroom. What a great opportunity for children K-12, as well as for the adults who volunteer.

I would encourage you to take a look at the JA website and see what they are offering. How might we pray strategically together for JA, or for other organizations like them?

Here are a few suggested prayer points:

  • Pray that the children will discover their God-given identities and a sense of self-worth.
  • Pray for hope to spread through the communities this organization is serving.
  • Pray that the children will discover God has provided this opportunity for them (James 1:17).
  • Pray that the volunteers will not overextend or grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9).
  • Pray for the Fruits of the Spirit to be exhibited by volunteers (Galatians 5:22-23).
  • Pray that as the children are helped, whole families and neighborhoods will be impacted.
  • Pray for creative ideas for teaching life and work skills to each child.
  • Pray that the organization has sufficient volunteers, funds, and resources, and invests these wisely into the lives of the children and communities.
  • Pray for protection for the children and volunteers, and that the organization effectively screens out individuals who intend to harm the children.
  • Pray that the body of Christ will learn, through organizations like this, how to make a difference in the lives of the people in the community where God has planted them.

Let’s each take a few minutes and pray through these points together for the JA nearest you. Your prayers right at this moment will make a difference for JA and those children today. They will feel your prayers, they will experience breakthroughs by God’s power, and they will have an amazing day. How awesome is that! As we pray together, there is strength in our combined prayers.

What are other ways you would pray for Junior Achievement and organizations like it? Which organizations are doing similar work in your community?

Group Prayer – Feel the Difference

When I arrived home tonight, I felt amazing. For me, lately, that’s unusual. It’s been a rough stretch. But I felt well and truly amazing.

That’s when I realized I had been praying, together with other people, all day.

I got together with a group of folks in the morning and we prayed. What an awesome time with God.

In the late afternoon, another prayer group. Again, awesome.

Spent the evening doing our church service at the jail – again, a lot more prayer, together as a group.

And at the end of the day, I felt amazing – body, soul, and spirit.

There is nothing wrong with praying by ourselves. I do that all day long, and I encourage it! But praying with a group is so important too. There are amazing benefits in praying together that we can barely wrap our understanding around.

But you can feel it.

And why should that surprise us? Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20 NKJV). That should make any of us feel amazing!

If you live with or near family, you can start there by praying together as a family. Be intentional about it. Spend time together in prayer.

But not everyone has family nearby. Even for those who do, it’s also great to join with other prayer groups outside of your family. When one person in a family is struggling, the whole family struggles. A prayer group outside your family can help lift these burdens to God at times when you and your family don’t feel able.

Do you have a couple people you can pray together with? If not, ask God to give you the names of a couple people. You might be surprised to discover those very people are looking for this as well.

You can also call your local church and ask if they have a prayer group, or if they would like to create one. They should be able to connect you with a couple like-minded hearts who would enjoy praying together each week.

If you haven’t tried praying with a group lately – try it. You will feel the difference. Let me know how it goes for you.

Community Prayer Starts with You

Prayers for a community are powerful. Ideally, you want your whole community covered in prayer. Even better, you want your whole community praying.

It takes time. And lots of prayer.

If community prayer is your heart, then it starts with you.

Our community is blessed to have many prayer groups, some who have been active for decades. I also know of prayer groups who met here historically, so we are built on a bedrock of prayer.

Even if your community is newer, and doesn’t have a deep history of prayer, I guarantee you God has already been at work preparing the soil. When you respond to His call to pray, He will bless and flourish the prayers you sow into the community.

For several years in our community, we had a group of intercessors meeting each month to pray together. We came from all different churches. We listened for how God would have us pray, and we prayed in unity. Folks in our community saw fruit of what God had led us to pray. (Remember: Prayer is inviting God to do what He already desires and intends to do.)

This summer, I felt led to start praying with others for the community again. We meet once a week at a sidewalk cafe and pray as God leads us. Sometimes we prayer walk around the streets of downtown.

We pray for our schools, health care, highway safety, law enforcement and first responders, businesses, elderly, people living in poverty, students driving for the first time, and other requests that arise with our community news and daily interactions. Our community prayer group meets right before another group of us goes into the jail for ministry, so we pray for the people in the jail as well.

We also declare together that Jesus is Lord over our community. We invite Him to come and have His way in our town.

If you have a heart to pray for your community, see how God would lead you to respond. Do you feel led to start praying with others? It only takes a couple people to get this started. Don’t feel discouraged if you are the only one at first. Spread the word and show up to pray. Often times, the person who starts the group will pray alone for a few weeks. That’s okay. Be faithful and obedient. Before long, others will join you, and it will be amazing.

Keep track of your prayers. We write ours down and take them home to pray during the week. Notice when and how prayers are answered, and thank God together for what He has done. If people want to join you but can’t come at that time, send them your prayer notes so they can join you in prayer from home.

Here are some ideas of what a praying community looks like.

I pray that God will bless your community prayer group immensely and multiply the fruits from the seeds He sows through your prayers.

 

Pockets of Prayer

There are certain stretches of highway that I love driving. One runs through Macon, Georgia, and another through Gainesville, Georgia. Those I travel frequently so I’m aware of them. But I believe many other pockets exist.

These are pockets of prayer on the highway. The result of someone(s) praying in that vicinity for years. It may be a church. It may be an individual. It may be a business. It may be a family. But someone is praying. A lot.

The best way I can describe the feeling of driving through that area is Peace. Rest. Exhale. An awareness of nothing but God’s presence, all around. A lifting of every burden. A reminder that His Kingdom is real, and now.

When you pray, your prayers not only change your heart, your family, and even the world with the ways you’re inviting God to move. Your prayers affect the atmosphere around you. Spend an hour just sitting in God’s presence, soaking Him in, then go to Wal-Mart. You might not see the results but I guarantee you that people’s lives will be affected for the better that day.

It’s like the scripture verse where people were healed as Peter walked by and his shadow brushed over them (Acts 5:15). When you pray, you affect the atmosphere and the people around you in the very same way. They may not know it’s your prayers that just brushed over them, but what they will know is an awesome encounter with the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ that day.

I could sit all day in those pockets of prayer along the highway. It is so refreshing. One of them is good for local business – I always stop for gas there, because I can spend more time breathing in that Peace of Christ.

Do you love to pray? I’ll bet you have a pocket of prayer around you and don’t even know it. Keep praying! The world needs your prayers. God bless you.

Summer Prayer for Our Children and Their Families

Dear God, I pray for our Pre-K-12 students and their families, as they transition from school to summer. Give children and parents a smooth transition and a joyous, safe, nurturing summer. I pray that every child has the meals, the daily care and protection they need for the summer. Help each child with their summer reading. Be with our graduating seniors during this big change, and with our Pre-K, 5th and 8th graders as they move up to the next school. Bless our teachers and school staff. Give them rest and renewal. Give each child good friends and amazing experiences this summer, and help them discover more about You. Thank You for watching over our kids and our schools all year. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Jail Prayer Vigil

Here is a 24/7 prayer vigil calendar, created prayerfully with the help of two friends of mine who were incarcerated. They know what the prayer needs are at every hour of the day and night. They have personalized this prayer vigil to those specific needs.

When you click on the prayer vigil link below, you will be taken to the full calendar and will see the current day highlighted; you can scroll to find the prayer for the current hour. Visit as often as you’d like and pray what’s highlighted for that hour. Know that you are praying this in unity with other visitors.

Don’t feel overwhelmed that you have to pray it all. God will prompt you and orchestrate visits from others to cover the full day and night each week. Ask God what your part will be. Let Jesus carry the burden, and find your rest in Him as you pray for these precious folks. Thank you and God bless you!

Please click here to visit the Prayer Vigil Calendar.