And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
At that time for me, prayer was very personal. What I mean is that the things for which I prayed were things that somehow connected to me. I did not always pray for myself or about myself, but I prayed for things and people with which I was familiar. Those on my heart were my family, my friends, and my brothers and sisters from church. When I asked God to move, it was in ways that I could see with my own eyes and gauge. It was not until a friend of mine handed me a copy of the Voice of the Martyrs magazine that it occurred to me to pray for people and circumstances which were foreign and unknown to me.
It can be easy to practice our faith in our little bubbles. We attend the same church and see the same people regularly. We fellowship with the same brothers and sisters, and their needs are the ones which seem pressing as they are evident to us daily. We cannot forget, however, that the body of Christ is much larger than the place we call home. We also cannot forget that we are instructed to pray for all of God’s children. We do not need to know who they are or what they need in order for us to fulfill this command and pray for them. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us, and we can trust in his discernment. Specificity is not required; a general prayer can be more than enough.
The point here is that God wants each of us to have the entire body on our hearts. He wants each of us to feel burdened to pray for all of our brothers and sisters in this world. We might not agree with all of them about everything, and we might not even get along with some of them, but none of that matters. Each of God’s children is still God’s child nonetheless. We should be burdened to pray for them just as we are burdened to pray for the ones we know and love who are much closer to us. If we ever feel as though we do not know how to pray, it never hurts simply to pray for the body to be united as God requires. Father, transform our prayer lives that we would be burdened to pray for all your children and even be able to discern their needs.