Here is a composite day in my life and the seemingly random prayers I pray:
* I make my morning coffee with beans from Veracruz, Mexico, and pray for Bible studies across Latin America.
* As I get dressed, I pull on my favorite giraffe socks (doesn’t everyone have favorite giraffe socks?), and pray for a former missionary to Africa.
* During my quiet time, I pray for my son, and also for a friend’s son whom I’ve never met.
* Before breakfast, stomach growling, I pray for the Compassion children I sponsor who live in poverty.
* On the way to work, I drive past a Hummer. Before it disappears in my rearview mirror, I lift up a prayer for a young man in Cambodia.
* At dinner that night, while eating leftover curry, I pray for at-risk kids in an orphanage in Hyderabad.
Pretty random praying, right? Yeah, it seems like it. But that’s because I’m not a very good list pray-er. I make prayer lists with every good intention, and then before long, lose them, forget about them, or otherwise neglect them. So God, knowing what I’m made of (see Psalm 103:14) has given me a way to pray for the important people and prayer needs I want to remember. The method isn’t systematic, but it is consistent.
Each of the prayers I pray on the “composite day” I just wrote about are based on cues. The cues remind me of the people or needs I want to pray about. For example, the Hummer prayer is because the exchange student we hosted a few years ago was fascinated with Hummers and made remarks about them whenever we’d pass one. The giraffe socks? A gift from my friend who lived in Africa for 18 years. My friend’s son? Whenever I pray for my son, I remember to pray for my friend’s son, too. And the orphanage? I help to sponsor a Bible club in India, so I pray for the children there when I eat Indian food.
You get the idea. If you are prayer-list challenge like I am, perhaps you could ask God to give you cues that will prompt you to pray for the people and needs that matter most to you. Anything can serve as a cue—photos on your refrigerator, activities you engage in, Facebook statuses from friends, items in a grocery store, headlines in the news, the label that says where your clothing was made, gifts you received from friends. You get the idea.
The longer I go, the more prayer cues I accumulate. Which means that, without much effort at all, I find myself moving closer and closer to the goal of praying without ceasing. And I like that. Because I like being in steady communication with God throughout my day.