I recently discovered a website that reminded me of my brother and brought back a welcome memory, that of a precious bedtime routine my brother had as a teenager.
First, I need to explain that I am almost 12 years older than my brother Matt, and my sister Lisa is two years younger than me. So, needless to say, Matt was like an unexpected baby doll given to both of us girls. We adored him; still do.
Matt had some childhood health issues, and though he loved to pontificate on sports, possessing statistical knowledge of every team imaginable, he was never really an athlete. He was (and still is) one of the smartest guys I have ever met though.
By the time he was in high school, I was married with a family of my own. My boys often spent afternoons with my parents and my brother while my husband and I were working. I was also attending college at this time, so I often picked up late shifts at our local hospital where I worked as an admissions clerk and switchboard operator.
On those late nights, my mom helped me so much by not only keeping my kids but by feeding my little family and helping my equally exhausted husband bathe the boys and get them ready for bed. I often swung by my parents’ home to pick up all three of my men before heading home for the night.
When I did, the scene was always the same: three adults, chatting and watching the news while two little boys napped on their laps. And in his bedroom, my brother Matt had his own nightly routine.
I often snuck back to give him a goodnight hug, only to find his door slightly ajar and him sitting on the floor with a high school annual from the previous year opened in his lap. I would stand quietly and watch my teenage brother touch the picture of every kid in his school and pray for them individually. It never failed to make me cry. It still does. And that scene still convicts me to love more and care more and pray more.
I always wondered how his prayers impacted and touched those kids, and I marveled that some of those students in his school, maybe even most of them, would never even know they had been prayed for so earnestly – until eternity.
Through the years, I have been given the privilege of seeing some of the fruit of those prayers in several people I met along life’s path. In fact, one of my most treasured friends is actually much younger than me and happened to be one of my brother’s classmates. I met her years later when we worked together on the ministry staff of our church.
When she found out who my brother was, my friend said, “He was such a great witness in high school, and a great friend to me. I always knew he was praying for me, and God only knew how I needed those prayers back then. And look how God answered those prayers.”
I told her of Matt’s nightly ritual back during those years, and we both reflected on the amazing power of prayer. We speculated on all the things those prayers accomplished and agreed it would be great to one day see the eternal scope of Matt’s focused, consistent, name-calling prayers.
Focused, consistent, name-calling prayer was the vehicle that began this trip down memory lane in the first place. I had been doing some online research for another story when I discovered a ministry that specializes in focused, consistent, name-calling prayer – www.pray4everyhome.org.
Think about it. What if Christians could systematically call out the actual names of their neighbors in prayer? What if it were possible to map out street-by-street, home-by-home, in order to pray for every single person in every single town across our nation?
That is exactly what pray4everyhome.org does. It gives individuals, groups, and churches a way to cover each neighbor in prayer. Signing up and getting started is easy. In fact, pray4everyhome.org has the process simplified and color coded. If you simply want to pray for your neighborhood personally, register through the orange tab. Churches sign up via the red tab, while other civic or social groups use the green tab. And all signups are free.
Once you sign up, the website guides you through mapping your neighborhood, keeping up with prayer lists, documenting your prayer time, and finding encouraging stories of others who are praying. And don’t forget that the Bible encourages two or more praying together as touching one thing.
Keep in mind that you will only receive the actual names of others who have signed up as well, but you can use the prayers and maps provided to enhance your own house-by-house prayer list. Let it be a starting point to walk through your actual neighborhood and pray for those not even registered at pray4everyhome.org.
Take the time to sign up today at pray4everyhome. You can also share the website with others in your neighborhood, civic group, or church, and encourage them to sign up and pray with you. Start a prayer revival in your neighborhood and watch what God will do with your time and effort. It could literally change America, one street, one home at a time.
If mapping out your neighborhood in prayer sounds too daunting, American Family Association also has a great prayer resource available at www.pray.afa.net. Check it out to find a short, daily corporate prayer, based entirely on scripture. Follow the prayers for a three-year cycle, and you will have prayed through the entire Bible.
Bryan Fischer, AFR radio host of Focal Point, maintains the pray.afa.net website, and he says each day’s prayer is short but powerful. Fischer encourages users to personalize each prayer as narrowly or broadly as needed.
Fischer also quotes I John 5:14 in which God promises to hear every prayer prayed according to His will. So, the scriptural prayers found at pray.afa.net are “the revealed will of God, beginning to end.”
Whatever website or source you choose to use, let us all commit to a renewed sense of urgency and consistency in our prayer lives. Our world is in desperate need of our prayers, now more than ever.
And remember, we may never know the full extent of our prayers until we reach our final destination. But won’t it be wonderful then to see just how God answered our prayers?