I am rubbish at intercessory prayer! It’s one of those things at which I’ll never be a natural. – unlike a friend of mine who slips into it so naturally that she recently took to drawing lots as to who she would pray for that day!

No, seriously - her list of people for whom she felt drawn to pray was so lengthy and taking up so much of her not inconsiderable prayer time that a very wise acquaintance of hers (not me) suggested that she wrote them all down on separate slips of paper, put them into a ‘hat’ and draw out a set number each day. Well, drawing lots is very biblical (Joshua 18.8-10, amongst others).

I think that I am on one of my friend's pieces of paper – that’s a lovely thought! So if you have a similar problem, that’s one idea to consider.

I’ll never have that particular problem. Random, wandering thoughts and nodding off are mine! So the next few posts on this blog are for those who, like me, struggle a little with the whole area of personal intercessory prayer. Now, there seem for me to be three particular areas of difficulty:

• Who/what to pray for?
• How to pray for them?
• Why pray for them?

As you might guess from the previous story of my friend, this particular post on the blog is going to concentrate on who or what to pray for.

Talking of friends, I had another friend (sadly, relatively recently deceased) who used an easy method for deciding who to pray for on any particular day. At the back of his diary was a single-sided monthly planner and he simply divided into each of the thirty-one days the names of people or situations that were on his heart – and, lo and behold, he had a personal prayer diary. Now, don’t be facetious and ask me what you would do in February!

I have a personal organiser, so I have decided that I am going to create an electronic version of my friend’s prayer diary. I’ll let you know how I get on with it.

A third friend (my friends are being very useful today) describes how he allows himself to hold one person before God in prayer and then simply ‘bounces’ from there to another person who comes to mind or is associated in some way with the previous person. Because I tend to think in straight lines (that’s why I’m in IT) I suspect that, if I tried to intercede that way, I might just pray for the same few people over and over again each day. But if you are a creative person who thinks in spreading networks or pictures, then this might work very well for you.

Some people pray through the news – bringing each situation to God as they listen or watch. You could do the same thing with a newspaper. Perhaps you have some tips you can share for deciding on the group of people/situations for whom to pray, and how you split them up over the days (if, indeed, you do split them).

Well, that’s covered some of the ‘who’ and what’! So.... coming soon to a blog near youhow we intercede for others.

With my prayers for my band of readers. (Now where shall I put you all in my electronic diary?)