Hey there, friends! I’m thrilled to welcome author Amelia Rhodes here today. Amelia and I are part of the same literary agency and have prayer books releasing a year apart.
Her book, Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community, releases tomorrow! She’s here to tell you more about her book, and she also shares valuable nuggets she’s learned in her own prayer life. You don’t want to miss them! 🙂
Welcome, Amelia! To help our readers get to know you better, I’m curious what 7 words best describe you?
Wife, Mom, Coffee-lover, Connector, Storyteller, Encourager, Runner.
Coffee-lover and runner…I think we have more in common than just writing prayer books. 🙂 I love the story behind the publication of your book. Can you share how the concept of Pray A to Z first came about?
One day, about two years ago, 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 I decided to see if I could make an A to Z prayer list of all the needs and struggles facing our communities today. I found myself praying for more people and situations than ever before. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, I was excited and energized as my prayer life grew and deepened.
I first shared Pray A to Z with a blog series (http://www.ameliarhodes.com/pray-a-to-z/) and a set of cards, and it grew from there. Originally, I had just one topic per letter, but the book version of Pray A to Z now has 3 prayers of petition and 2 prayers of praise for each letter.
I’m curious…Which letter of the alphabet was hardest to develop topics around? What topics did you settle on for that letter?
Q was really tough! I think I read every word in the dictionary that had the letter Q in it, and there aren’t a lot! I really like the topics that I found for Q though. Prayers of petition: Qualms, Quandaries, uniQue Needs. Prayers of praise: Quieter of my soul, and conQueror.
Why do you believe praying for our community is so important?
I wonder, how would our communities change if we didn’t just say, “I’ll pray for you,” but we actually did pray — deeply, intensely, and purposefully? We are facing deep hurt and division like never before. As we pray for our communities’ deepest needs, we bring God’s light into the darkest corners. No problem is too great for Him to handle. I think it was Max Lucado who said the power of prayer isn’t in the person praying, but in the Person we are praying to. Jesus spent time praying for people, so how much more important must it be for us to pray?
Amen. Such a powerful truth, especially in our nation right now! When is your favorite part of the day to spend time with God?
I’ve learned to take every opportunity I have to direct my thoughts to God, whether it’s 15 minutes waiting in the car line at school, taking a walk around the neighborhood, or a few minutes before going to bed. However, my favorite time of day to connect with God is right after the house has emptied for the morning, and before I head to work. It’s like a deep breath between marathons. I’ve gotten the kids off to school, and usually have 30-40 minutes before I head to work. It’s a good time to pause, breathe deeply, and bring the day to God.
Any tips or suggestions you’ve found helpful in your prayer life that you’d like to share with our readers?
I have found writing things down to be especially helpful, because I forget. Not only do I forget to pray for people if I don’t write it down, I also forget to look for God’s answers. When I write down a request with a date and then look back months or years later, it’s exciting to see how God moved in a situation, even if it’s not how I would have expected. Writing things down helps me remember and notice God’s work.
Writing things down also helps me focus. I’ve often kept a journal to list out my prayer requests, and to actually write out my prayers. The act of writing slows me down and helps me focus on the words I am directing to God from my heart.
I also love to start with Scripture, which is why I included a verse with each prayer topic in Pray A to Z. Reading truth from God’s Word is the perfect place to start. The needs get so heavy and overwhelming. Remembering who God is and His promises helps me bring the focus back to Him, and not just on the problems around me.
Over the years, I’ve also learned that I can pray any time in any place. I don’t have to wait until I’m in a quiet room or at a certain time of day. I can direct my internal thoughts to Him throughout the day. I often turn off the radio to pray while I’m driving, or will pray when walking home from the kids’ bus stop, or when I’m sitting at a red light. It’s one way I’ve learned to “pray always.”
I love that, Amelia. So many powerful reminders in these tips. THANK YOU for being my guest today! I’m praying your book reaches many and is used by God to bring healing to our communities.
READERS — You can learn more about Pray A to Z on Amelia’s website: www.ameliarhodes.com.