I'D BE LYING if I claimed to be an expert on prayer. While it's natural for me to shoot up prayers for my friends' and family's health or progress in school or work, I know enough about God to realize this isn't all he desires when he invites me to carry my loved ones to him in prayer.
As I've begun connecting the things I readily pray about for the people in my life--their physical health, their success at school, their career advancement--with deeper, more eternal requests, my prayer life's become richer. And I've seen answers to my prayers beyond what I could have imagined! The following three shifts in the way I pray for my loved ones have deepened my prayer life and my understanding of God's higher ways.
From Physical Growth to Spiritual Growth
Although I'm not a parent, many of my close friends are. Some of them, such as my friend Nina and her husband, Craig, have taught me a great deal about how to pray for the growing-up people in my life.
Craig entered their marriage with two teenage children from a previous marriage, and together Nina and Craig adopted two children from Russia (a prayer odyssey in …