Tuesday, December 20, 2016
An A to Z approach to prayer
Part 1 of an interview with Amelia Rhodes,
Author of Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community
A text from a friend. An urgent phone call from a family member. An announcement at church. Maybe even a share on social media or story from the news. Many needs surrounding us require prayer. Each request is valuable and worthy of time before the Father, but the sheer number of them can be overwhelming. In Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community (Worthy Inspired), author Amelia Rhodes helps readers topically organize their prayer requests and lay the burdens of their community at the feet of the Heavenly Father.
Q: Pray A to Z is not an instruction book on the mechanics of prayer, but rather a guide to praying for one’s community, born from your personal experiences. Where did the idea of praying from A to Z come from?
One day within the span of a few hours, I received phone calls and text messages from a number of friends who were all dealing with very heavy struggles. Each one asked me to pray for them. Of course, I said I would, but at that point I recognized how often I fail to follow through on praying long-term for people. As I prayed that day, I also asked God to help me with my prayer life. I realized how many people I knew were struggling with the same types of things — adoptions, cancer, marriages. The idea of praying by topic seemed natural, and then I decided to see if I could make an A to Z list of all the needs and struggles facing our communities today.
Q: You lead readers in praying through the alphabet for their community, but there are more than just 26 topics in this book. Share with us how the book is structured and how you have organized the individual letters.
Each letter features prayers and prompts on five topics. Three topics for each letter focus on prayers of petition, and two focus on praise. So we pray about adoptions, abuse and alcoholism and then praise God for His abundance and that He is almighty. We pray for marriages, missionaries and ministers and those in the military while praising God for His majesty and mercy.
Q: Why did you feel it important to include aspects of praise and adoration, rather than having only need-based topics?
The needs get heavy and overwhelming. I found that incorporating praise brings the focus back to our great God. Praising Him helps us recognize how every need we have is met in who God is.
Q: What are some of the prayer needs you cover in the book?
I covered the needs of families in our communities, such as foster families, special needs families, pregnancy crises, raising children, marriages, divorce, adoption and infertility. I also take a look at many of the justice issues facing our societies today, including prejudice, homelessness, hunger, human trafficking, refugees and violence. The prayers also include topics related to how we interact with our communities, including generosity, kindness, estranged relationships, joy, obedience to God, vanity and our yearnings.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from this book?
My hope is readers will not just become more engaged and excited about their prayer life and their relationship with God, but as a result they will also become more involved with the people who surround them every day. I’ve had readers tell me how God has made them more aware of the struggles people are facing and has also revealed how they can be His hands and feet of love to their communities.
Q: Do you have any additional or supplemental resources to help readers pray A to Z?
I developed a set of prayer cards featuring just one topic per letter but covering many of the major issues in our communities. I’ve also created a guide for groups that is available for download for anyone who desires to begin a prayer group in his or her neighborhood, church or community.