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How to Pray Big—Really Big

Your faith can transcend the boundaries of place and spirit as you embrace the power of these words.

How to pray big
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Like many people, I’ve prayed since childhood. I pray for many things: parents, children, grandchildren, my job, my aches and pains, safe travel and more. 

But years ago I took a prayer retreat at a real, live monastery and learned a new way of praying. A bigger way. The monks, who met for prayer and worship seven times a day, considered a key part of their ministry to be prayer for the world outside the monastery walls. They prayed big prayers, believing that though they were cloistered, their prayers would extend and ascend far beyond the boundaries of their own lives.

That example started me on a journey, and I’m still on it. I’m praying big. Here are just a few examples:

For Nations and People Around the World
God, You reign over the nations (Psalm 47:8), and Your will is for all peoples on earth to be blessed (Genesis 12:3). Thank You for the nation I call home, even as I pray for people far and wide to know You and the blessings of family, freedom, justice, prosperity, health, community, safety and productivity. Bring about greater freedom and blessing in all the nations of the world and greater understanding and cooperation among them. Amen.

For Churches Around the World
Jesus, You prayed with Your disciples and for Your disciples through the ages, according to John 17. I believe that You’re praying still, so I join You in praying for Your church: protect all churches by the power of Your name, that they may be one, across all lines, national, denominational, ethnic and racial. Grant that Your people may have the full measure of Your joy within them. Protect them from the evil one. Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. Grant that they may be brought to complete unity. Let Your love dwell in them and flow through them, that they may be recognized by their love—for You, each other and the world. Amen.

For Nature and Natural Disasters
Lord, the heavens declare Your glory (Psalm 19:1), and the earth is Yours and everything in it (Psalm 24:1). Thank You for the beauty of Creation, for the wonders of nature. Those wonders can be fearsome, though, so I pray for You to turn back hurricanes and tornadoes, mitigate volcanic eruptions and destructive wildfires, defuse earthquakes, floods, droughts and tsunamis, sparing wildlife and human life and property from the destruction they would otherwise bring. Say, “Peace, be still,” to the cycles and processes of this amazing world You’ve created. Amen.

Against Wars and Oppression
Father, Your word says that You make wars cease to the ends of the earth, that You break the bow, shatter the spear and burn the shields with fire (Psalm 46:9). Where there is war, make it cease. Where there is violence, make it cease. Where there is oppression, make it cease. Where there is terrorism, make it cease. Bring peace, bring justice, bring healing and hope. Amen.  

For Victims
God, Your word says that You are “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5, NIV); “In you the orphan finds mercy” (Hosea 14:3, ESV). You hear the cries of all who are in need, and You bend Your ear to the prayers of victims. Please protect those who are in danger. Deliver the abused, the trafficked, the marginalized, the malnourished, the injured, the broken. Prove the truth of Your word, that says “You, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; You consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to You” (Psalm 10:14, NIV). Amen.

For Industries and Professions
Lord, so much of modern life depends on the effective work of so many industries and professions. Bless the workers and artisans who labor for the good of others, those who work with hands, those who toil with brains, workers in fields and factories, employers and employees, those who help or heal, those who create and those who clear. Preserve industries that use righteous means and serve righteous ends and frustrate those that don’t. Inspire innovations that will preserve and improve lives. Let Your favor, Lord God, rest on those who do good, establish the work of their hands (Psalm 90:17).

Against Disease 
Lord, Your word says that You are “the Lord who heals” (Exodus 15:26, NLT). And Jesus, while You walked on earth, You went about “healing every disease and sickness among the people” (Matthew 14:23, NIV). So, I pray, do it again. Do it now. Please heal every disease and sickness causing suffering and death among the people today. Visit Your healing power on those in the hospital, those in palliative care, those who know they’re sick and those who don’t. Remove all sicknesses roaming the earth, to the glory of Your Name, amen.

These are just seven ways to “pray big.” Each one is a prayer of faith—big faith. They may require more faith than you think you have right now, but if you pray them—as you pray them—feel these prayers extending and ascending far beyond the boundaries of your own life…and that, in itself, may be an answer to prayer.

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