Day 8 of the Pray-May Challenge: Pray by name for everyone you can

Welcome to Day 8 of our month-long prayer challenge! I’m excited to introduce you to our prayer practice today, as I’ve found it very engaging and helpful to me.

Day 8: Pray By Name For Everyone You Can

We often pray for people as they come to our minds, or for a set of people on a regular basis–family and friends, people with needs, anticipating an upcoming event or inspired by particular situations.

Today, we will pray for everyone we can think of, within a certain amount of time, bringing each one before the Father and committing them to his care. And we’ll do that by making a long list of names.

Here’s how it works.

  1. Get a notebook or a few sheets of paper and a good pen. If you have a journal or prayer log, you might want to use that.
  2. At the top of the sheet or page, write a brief prayer for everyone you will be naming in prayer. It could be “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all” who are on this list. (2 Corinthians 13:14). Or you might pray, “Jesus, may each person I name feel your love and experience your grace today.”
  3. And then, begin writing the names of the people in your life, beginning those close and obvious, and then moving outward. (I do find that hand-writing is best, as it is slow enough I can draw each person’s face into my mind as I pray for them. But if you need to type this list, that’s great, too.)
  4. At first, names will come fairly easy. You will name your family, your friends, and you will cover ground quickly. Then, after a number of names, you will pause and begin thinking of others, further out. You’ll recall their kids, or a person you met just the other day. You’ll remember a barista, a clerk, a student or a neighbour. And the list will grow. Push yourself to keep writing names steadily and prayerfully.
  5. Some of you might struggle to remember their names, but you can still recall the people. That’s okay–the Lord knows who they are. I encourage you, if you think of a person you met the other day but can’t remember their names, describe them briefly (red coat), or just say “that woman I met at the grocery store on Wednesday” and then move on.
  6. For particular name or groups of names, things may come to your mind. You may know more of what you can pray for–do so briefly. The Holy Spirit may even insert new thoughts or impressions to pray for others. Go with that. For most, you’ll just be writing their names, and speaking a general blessing over them.  But as you do, you are offering each to the Lord, and asking for his love and grace and freedom and power to meet and transform each one. That’s a powerful exercise.
  7. You can take as long as you like on this exercise, or, if time is a concern, set a timer for 10-15 minutes and just write as steadily as you can during that time. Do what works for you.
  8. When you are done your list (which could be hundreds of names long), offer a closing prayer for them. Pray from your heart, asking for the Holy Spirit to minister to them today. How amazing it is to know that he can do just that, for each and every person you’ve named.

That’s the prayer challenge for today! A simple practice and yet forming a prayerful exercise of memory and relationship. I found as I did it that I remembered people I’d not thought about for a long time, and was even able to send a few messages of encouragement as a result.

Jesus knows intimately each and every one. Let’s pray today for his guiding and graceful presence in the lives of all we know.

And for you, dear reader and faithful pray-er, I ask, “Lord Jesus, guide the thoughts and hands of each one today. As we pray for those we know, be them close or only in brief acquaintance, may we grow in our conviction of your loving personal care for each one, and our part in interceding in prayer for them. Thank you for your grace. Amen.”


Our Pray-May Challenge so far:

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