“Listen closely, my God, and hear. Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city that bears your name. For we are not presenting our petitions before you based on our righteous acts, but based on your abundant compassion.” Daniel 9:18
Praying for others can be difficult. Often, we say we’re praying for someone but we don’t say what we’re praying. I’m a big believer in specific prayer, the more specific the better. The Serenity Prayer, written by Rienhold Niebuhr is one of the most beautiful prayers written outside of those in the Bible. Most people know the first few lines of the prayer, but they don’t know it in its entirety. If you need help writing an encouraging prayer for someone, maybe the full version of this prayer will help:
God, grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
One moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace;
Taking as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it;
Trusting that You will make things right
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
The beauty of this prayer is it covers everything. There will always be things in life we cannot change, and there will be things we can. We need to know the difference between the two or we will waste time on the wrong thing. When we accept life as it is, we can find joy in the moment, trusting God’s plan, no matter how difficult the circumstances. There will always be sin in this world, but if we trust that the hardships of life lead to peace, we will have peace. Peace can be found in surrender to God’s will. Remembering this life is temporary, helps us understand we aren’t meant to be completely content here on earth. If we were content, we wouldn’t have the longing to be with Jesus, we wouldn’t need Him. But we do need Him, we can find reasonable happiness in this life, but our supreme happiness comes when we are reconnected with our Creator in heaven.
Take time today to write a specific prayer for someone in your life who has asked you to pray for them. Be specific in what you are praying and asking God for on their behalf. If they need financial blessing, ask for an amount and let them know what it is. If they need healing, be specific the type of healing you’re petitioning God for on their behalf. Whatever their need is, write out a prayer for them and send it to them. Just knowing you are being specific will help them find the pathway to peace through the hardship they are facing because they will know they are loved.