Monday, January 1, 2018


I have been making an effort lately to put more thought into praying for people or situations outside of my normal orbit. It's easy to pray about my own needs and those close to me but it takes a bit more intention to take a wider view.

I put together this 50 point list of things I would like to pray about in the future and I have dated them so I can focus on something different for (nearly) each week of the year. Another approach would be to take a different topic each day and repeat the list throughout the year.

Jan 1    Premature babies
Jan 8    Sick children and their families
Jan15   The bereaved
Jan22   Police service
Jan29   Paramedics

Feb 5    Fire fighters
Feb 12  Other First responders
Feb 19  World leaders
Feb 26   Church leaders

Mar 5     The local church
Mar 12   Refugees
Mar 19   The homeless
Mar 26   Those who are suffering through illness

Apr 2    People marginalised by disability
Apr 9    Those experiencing poverty
Apr 16  Those disadvantaged by a criminal record
Apr 23   people facing unemployment
Apr 30   People isolated by sexual identity

May 7    Those suffering with addiction
May 14  The justice system
May 21   Policy makers
May 28   lost friends

Jun 4   Missing persons and the people searching for them
Jun 11   Colleagues or employees
Jun 18   Clients
Jun 25   Our managers

2 Jul   Friends
9 Jul   Children
16 Jul  Spouse
23 Jul   Family members
30 Jul   Medical research

6 Aug   Victims of abuse
13 Aug   The future of humanity
20 Aug   The health of the earth
27 Aug   Prisoners

3 Sep   Recovery programs
10 Sep  Local community
17 Sep  Schools
24 Sep  Teachers

1 Oct   People who serve me: barista
8 Oct   Checkout operator
15 Oct  Garbage collector
22 Oct  Cleaner
29 Oct   Postman

5 Nov  Doctor
12 Nov  Hairdresser
19 Nov  Priest/ minister/pastor
26 Nov  News stories

3 Dec   Armed services
10 Dec Animal rescuers & their charges
17 Dec  Domestic abuse survivors


Snowbrush said...

I would assume that most people mostly (if not entirely) pray for themselves and the people they know and care about, so I'm touched that you would put so much thought into making this list. If I may be so bold as to respectfully ask a question about it, do you believe that God will do good things for, for example, paramedics because of your prayer, things that God would not have done had you not prayed? It seems to me that if God is a perfect God, then God, by virtue of his perfection, is obligated to do that which is perfect without the least regard for whether someone did or didn't pray for it. To think otherwise of God would--in my mind--put him in the position of an imperfect benefactor (a rich uncle if you will) who will do favors for those whom he favors, the result being that God is more likely to help a church member with cancer who is well prayed for, than a non-church member with cancer whom no one prays for. To me, this idea of intercessory prayer is one of the most troubling aspects of religion, because it seems to be based upon the premise that God can't be trusted to do what is right simply because it is right.

Christ himself seemed to hold this assumption when, in the Lord's prayer, he asked that God "give us this day our daily bread." He might have asked that God feed every person (and every creature) in the world everyday until the end of time, or he might even have assumed that God was already doing so for no better reason than that God is perfect in love, and a deity perfect in love would consider it unthinkable for anyone to starve, yet he only asked that God feed "us," implying that he had reference to the members of a select group. This surely means that Christ either cared little about those outside of that group, or he imagined that God was more likely to feed a small number of people for a small amount of time ("this day") than a large number of people for a large amount of time. The only other possibility I can think of is that Christ meant to portray prayer as being for the spiritual benefit of the petitioner as opposed to the actual influencing of God's behavior, but the problem with this is that he didn't say anything like that (in fact, I don't think such a idea even appears in the Bible), and also that God repeatedly gave Christ--and the apostles--specific things that they asked for, suggesting that they very much saw prayer as a means to achieving specific ends.

kylie said...

Your question is very hard to answer because obviously I feel it important to support these groups of people in this way but I also don't want to think about a God who would ignore a need for lack of my prayer.
I read a book on this long ago and I remember it saying that God wants us to pray on behalf of others but i don't remember a lot more than that. Maybe it's more a matter of taking our focus outside of our own orbit. (which fits with your line about prayer being for the benefit of the petitioner)

My understanding of that particular line of The Lord's Prayer is that it intends to remind us that we are to rely on God's provision each day. If He supplied a lot of food for a lot of people for a long time, those people might feel that they were self sufficient and not in need of a relationship with God. I suggest that maybe this is what we see happening with the "Christian Right". They have been well supplied for a long time and they have forgotten who provided for them, consequently developing arrogance, pride and harshness of spirit.

Your theological knowledge is superior to mine, or perhaps your recall of it is better, anyway I doubt I will ever answer your questions in a way that is at all enlightening. All I know in the end is that I have to respond to the instruction I receive and one of those instructions was to pay more attention to praying for others.

Snowbrush said...

I don't think my questions have answers, but I enjoy sharing ideas. When you invited me to your blog, you must have known what to expect, so I assume that you do too. Still, I might give more than expected, so please tell me if I am so challenging that it puts a rift between us. I surely spent an hour or more on my response to your recent post, partly because I'm a person who has a hard time stopping editing, and partly because I don't want to cause offense.

I have no desire to make you doubt your faith, and I would be sad if I did. I perceive you as a sensitive, open, and caring person, and I see nothing but good coming from your faith, so I would have to be a complete jerk to want to compromise it.

I've heard that God is in the questions moreso than in the answers in which case God must be thrilled with me and disappointed with the mass of "believers" to whom it never occurs to ask questions, and who become very angry when anyone else does. I know that Jesus said that a person has to have the unquestioning faith of a child, but I don't believe that, if there is a God, God would want such a thing, and this is but one of the reasons that I don't have a high regard for Jesus. Surely, he was an improvement on the angry, jealous, sexist, murderous, and vengeful God of the O.T., but aside from a few parables, I think poorly of his positions.

Darn, I see that I exceeded the "character" limit, which is a first for me on someone else's blog.

Snowbrush said...

As for my knowledge, Pew Research is a major research group here in America. They determined that atheists know far more about religion than do Christians ( that, among Christians, Mormons lead the pack. I don't know why it is that people who can believe the stuff in the Book of Mormon should be so smart and educated compared to other Christians but that appear that way to me based upon the fact that I don't recall knowing any dumb Mormons. That said, my childhood church was serious about Bible study, so I learned a lot there (about Christianity--absolutely nothing about other religions). I also studied religion/theology in college, read a little on my own, and put a lot of time into thinking about God and religion, most notably the Bible.

"that particular line of The Lord's Prayer is that it intends to remind us that we are to rely on God's provision each day."

I don't understand why God is portrayed as all the time wanting our gratitude. I don't want my cats' gratitude. I just want my cats to love me and to be happy, so why should God regard me as any different than I regard my cats (if my cats live in as much pain as I do, and they knew I could fix it if I wanted to, but that I didn't want to, how could I complain if my cats hated me?)? If my cats felt that they had to be forever asking me for things, I don't think it would cause them to love me but to resent me. I wonder if, behind the piety, a lot of believers don't hate God but are too afraid to admit to it even to themselves because they worry that he would send them to hell. One of the things that I'm free of is the need to pussyfoot around God. Of course, I don't really think he/she/it (if you prefer "he," I'll use he, but the main thing is that I don't want to offend you by using the wrong pronoun, and I really don't care what pronoun we use), exists, but even if he/she/it does, I can't imagine that God really wants people to pretend to love and respect God if they don't. Besides, he would know anyway, so what would be the point in pretending? Years ago, I came across a Jewish writer named Isaac Singer who portrayed the Jews of his sect as being willing to talk about God in harsh terms that would cause churchgoers to expect a lightning bolt to come through the roof and kill such a person on the spot. One of the things I don't like about churches is their forced piety. No Sunday school group ever has a check-in during which someone says, "Well, I'm not doing well today because I can't seem to escape the conviction that God is a complete asshole." At the same time, I think it would be wrong to taunt God, there being a difference between honest disapproval and gratuitous insult.

"Maybe it's more a matter of taking our focus outside of our own orbit."

Maybe, but there would be other ways to do it. You do it through serving others, and a person might also spend more time reflecting upon God's nature instead of asking for things. I know that the way I see it might have nothing to do with how God might see it, but I wouldn't like it if people were forever asking me for things even if the things they were asking for were good things. Here in America, I've seen baseball players make the sign of the cross when they step up to bat, and I would think, "Really, you're asking God to help you with your batting?" To me, that kind of prayer would be about as bad as it could get in terms of blasphemy.

kylie said...

There is a character limit????

Snowbrush said...

Yes. I hit it all the time when I post comments to my blog, but I've never hit it on anyone else's blog until now.

Marion said...

For many years I kept prayer journals...and the answers to the prayers. Those journals have carried me through many hard spiritual times, especially recently. (I would like you to add abused women to your list...It is a silent epidemic and 1 in 4 women are killed by a "loved one", sadly.)

Six months ago my husband of over 40 years got on Meth & smoked poisonous bath salts and almost killed me...I was strangled, clobbered with a heavy lawn statue, punched in the head & suffered a concussion and was held at knifepoint. He violently twisted my breasts which stayed black & blue for over a month and raped me viciously. The verbal abuse was even worse... As the Meth use came on so suddenly, I had no idea he was on drugs...I thought he wasn't sleeping due to some new medications because he had recently been diagnosed with diabetes. We had been financially secure, looking forward to retirement... and before this, he had been an okay guy...Now, my entire life is a fearful question mark. My WHOLE large extended family deserted me but for one child who lives far away. I am suffering horrendous PTSD and loneliness. My husband, out on bail, filed for divorce & a judge awarded me a permanent restraining order and the use of the home. I sleep in a different room each night, fully clothed with a weapon as advised by a domestic abuse counselor. I have no idea where he is...I say all this to reiterate the serious need for prayer for domestic abuse survivors. It's been a living hellish nightmare. It takes over a YEAR for his abuse case to go to court. I now get why so few women report abuse...We suffer greatly--- xo

kylie said...

Marion I am so very sorry you have suffered with all of that! I'm sorry it is an ongoing situation for you.
When I compiled the list I knew there would be more things to add but I didn't think of domestic abuse. I should have, I'm no stranger to it.

I'll pray for you

Snowbrush said...

Here in America, it's very common for medical caregivers to ask the patient if he or she feels safe in the home. Since Peggy and I invariably go to the doctor together, it's an awkward question for the caregiver to ask. Knowing we would be asked it, Peggy and I have sometimes kidded the one another about ratting the other out, or saying that we were abused by our blue heeler (when we had a blue heeler), which was really true in that she had bitten each of us on occasion. We wouldn't really make jokes about abuse, of course, if only because they would go over about as badly as telling bomb jokes at the airport or armed robbery jokes at the bank. I once got bored when filling out a form for a new doctor, so I became creative and listed my religion as squirrel worshipper and was surprised when the doctor took me seriously, thinking, perhaps, that I was mentally ill.

Kylie, I took the liberty of giving your link in the comments' section to my last post since you had told me that it's an open blog. I've known both you and Marion for years, and I hope you can be friends. Kylie, Peggy was excited to hear from you again, which she told me when I found her sitting in front of the computer taking her photo with button trays. Truly, her buttons are far more impressive than they look in such photos as she can take. She has been a collector since the late 1980s, has held every office in the Oregon State Button Society and in her local club. She now has four legal file cabinets full of buttons as well as many other pieces of furniture around the house. I had thought that it would be a good hobby because it didn't take up much space or cost much money, but I was wrong on both counts.

By the way, I think you have an extra "e" in the title of your post.