Once someone in an e-group asked all of the “prayer warriors” on the list a question. It was something along the lines of: "How do you keep up with all of the prayer requests that people ask you to pray for?"
Now I do NOT consider myself to be a prayer warrior, but nonetheless, I felt I had a little bit of insight to offer, so I started typing. As it turned out, it was a good question for me to try to answer, because as I typed what little I had, God started giving me more... so I was both receiving and sharing at the same time.
You see, I used to have that problem, too. I tried keeping prayer lists, but then I felt like I was just handing the list to God... which made no sense because He could read it on my paper just as easily as He could hear me read it aloud. So I'd try really praying something specific each day for everyone on the list... and it took so long that whoever ended up at the end of the list never got prayed for. So I tried splitting the list up between days... and so forth and so on. Of course, I'd repeatedly "drop the ball" and never even get started on the list. It seemed like I got hit with guilt because I wasn’t succeeding, no matter what I tried… which made it even more tempting to just quit entirely.
But gradually I began to realize something. I began to see that each of us is not a one-man army. There are thousands of people and things that need prayer, BUT there are also thousands of praying people out there who are capable of praying! I finally realized that I am not called to be a part of every battle that I see. God has specific battles that He has called me to be a part of, and plenty others that He has called others to be a part of. Imagine a battle where every soldier was rushing around trying to fight on every single front at once... it's impossible! He wouldn't be any good to the commander at all… he'd be a completely useless warrior! Instead, he must fight in the battles that he is ordered to fight in, and trust that the commander has assigned adequate soldiers to whatever other battles are going on.
When I realized this, a huge burden of guilt rolled away... I realized that I am not supposed to pray for every prayer request that passes my way! I am only supposed to follow the orders of my Commander and intercede as He leads me to.
Then an equally astonishing revelation followed... I saw how the devil can actually use prayer requests to distract us from the battles that God has sent us to! For example, God may be calling me to intercede for several unsaved members of my family, my pastor, and the abortion issue... and instead of really fighting in those battles in the way that He wants me to, I sometimes just do a little hitting around and then rush off to pray for Iraq, Israel, the little girl that's lost on the news, the friend that has financial difficulties, etc. Yes, those things DO need prayer... but we must listen to our Commander, and trust that, if He hasn't called us to pray for the little girl that's lost on the news, then He has called others to do it. if He hasn't called us to intercede for our friend with financial difficulties, then He has called others to help fight that battle. In the same way, He may NOT have called others to pray for those unsaved family members, so if we don't do it, no-one will!!!
Doesn’t this make sense? I'm not saying that I quit sending up quick prayers for the requests that I hear about... I'm saying that, as I send up that first quick prayer, I check to see whether it’s something that the Lord really wants me to "go to war about" or if He tells me that this one is not my battle. I wait to see if He gives me a burden for that person or circumstance.
So when I finally realized this, my prayers started getting much more powerful and effective. I began to see that when I focused on the requests that He laid on my heart, He would then direct me in those battles... instead of just praying "God bless them" or "send them money," He would give me insight on how to pray... to pray that their eyes would be opened in a particular area, to come against certain things, etc...
Why am I sharing this now? Well… to be perfectly honest, I’ve been slacking off in my prayer life lately. I still chat with God throughout the day quite often, but I let myself get so busy that I quit checking for instructions from my Commander. I’ve realized this recently, and God has been challenging me… asking me to step back under His command.
I don’t want to be a useless warrior…