First of a 2-part teaching series
by Kathe Wunnenberg
“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power.” (II Thessalonians 1:11)
Flashing lights and sirens.
A sleepless night.
Women who’ve lost children.
At first glance these things may seem unconnected; however, they represent prayer triggers God uses in my life to prompt me to pray.
A prayer trigger is anything that initiates a reaction or response to talk to God and activate His power.
Just as prayer is personal and can be expressed in a variety of ways, so are prayer triggers. Too often it’s easy to miss opportunities to pray because you don’t recognize them. Enlarge your prayer perspective this year. STOP and consider the following prayer triggers God has used in the lives of others.
Events, occasions, problems and crisis can ignite prayer. For example:
- When choosing a king, Samuel prayed.
- When Queen Esther discovered a plot to destroy her people, she prayed.
- When Peter was jailed, his friends prayed.
“Information fuels my intercession. When I hear about a problem or an injustice, my spirit rises up to say, ‘But with God all things are possible’,” says Cheryl Sacks, author of The Prayer Saturated Church, a handbook for prayer leaders, and Prayer Saturated Kids, equipping and empowering children in prayer. “When I read statistics about child pornography or girls enslaved in the sex trade, I say ‘Enough is enough!’ I find myself on my knees crying out to God.”
What event, occasion, problem or crisis stimulates you to pray?
Specific days, time of day, and seasons can provoke prayer. The Sabbath and Passover promoted pray time. Jesus rose early in the morning while it was still dark to pray. God woke Samuel in the middle of the night.
One night I awoke at 3:00am with the strong urge to write President George W. Bush and send a copy of my book, Grieving the Loss of a Loved One. After rationalizing he would probably never receive it, I dismissed this crazy idea and went back to sleep. A few days later, terrorists bombed the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and multitudes were grieving. I regret ignoring this prompting to pray and will never know the impact I could have made…had I obeyed. Sometimes God speaks in timely ways and you need to respond. Your next sleepless night could be a prayer trigger.
Tangible items can trigger prayer. Samuel used anointing oil to pray for kings. Harvested crops sparked the Israelites thanksgiving prayers. Israelite rock alters prompted remembrance prayer. Bread and wine motivate communion prayer.
What objects inspire you?
Physical locations and settings may activate prayer. Moses prayed on Mount Sinai. Daniel prayed in his room. Jesus withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Multitudes went to the tabernacle and temple to pray.
“I have my special quiet time chair for everyday praying. When I take a DAWG day (day alone with God), I use a friend’s home to get away from phones and other distractions,” says Marlae Gritter, executive vice president for Moms in Prayer International (formerly Moms in Touch).
Where do you go to pray?
People can motivate us to pray.
- “Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord.” (Numbers 11:2)
- When Joshua fought the battle with the Amalekites, Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill and as long as Moses held up his hands the Israelites were winning (Exodus 17:9-11).
Fern Nichols felt the need to pray for her children and their school. The ripple effect of this prayer trigger has multiplied into a worldwide ministry called Moms in Prayer International. The need to pray for the president, national leaders and Armed Forces triggered the founding of your Prayer Team.
Who triggers you to pray?
Ultimately, The Holy Spirit is the one who triggers you to pray. He knows you personally and can use anything to get your attention and remind you to pray.
Don’t miss His prompting today to pray. STOP and recognize prayer triggers in situations, time, objects, places and people. In part two, we’ll discuss responding to prayer triggers.
A new writer for the Presidential Prayer Team, Kathe Wunnenberg is an author, speaker and the founder/president of an organization giving hope to brokenhearted people. She lives with her husband, three sons and Brittany Spaniel in Phoenix, AZ.