Spending time with the Lord in prayer offers many benefits to believers, including peace in trials, healing from past emotional hurts and guidance for daily living.
Older adults who regularly pray and experience the joy and comfort of a close relationship with Jesus often want to share it with others, but some of them might be uncertain how to start.
There are several ways to include others in prayer times. The list below offers five tips older believers may want to try out with their families and friends.
"Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord." - James 5:14 ESV
One of the simplest ways to share a prayer with others is to visit friends and family who are sick, recovering from a hospital stay or facing difficult circumstances.
In addition to offering to pray for the individual in the coming days, seniors can ask if they wish to pray together during the visit. This lets believers put their words into action to help reassure the recipient that they aren't alone or forgotten.
Numerous studies have shown what a child learns and experiences in the first few years of their lives has a powerful impact on their future.
Teaching grandchildren early to say grace before meals and count their blessings at bedtime can help lead them to a closer walk with God and nurture their ability to focus on the positive aspects of their lives.
By guiding young members of their family in prayer, seniors can help make it an everyday part of their grandchildren's daily routine, giving them a strong foundation on which to build their own walk of faith as they grow up.
The internet is a great resource for locating age-appropriate lessons and activities about prayer for children. Seniors can also check out the local library or bookstore for prayer-themed picture books and kids' devotionals to read out loud together.
Seniors' rich life experience gives them a lot of wisdom to share with the younger generations in their families. Many older believers know all too well the challenges young adults face while trying to balance raising a family, maintaining a good marriage and providing financially.
Sharing their testimony and mentoring their family members is a great way for seniors to help build their loved ones' confidence and assurance in God's constant provision and their own ability to succeed in life.
This can help their relatives deepen their faith and guide them as they grow into their roles as the spiritual leaders of their homes.
Whether seniors choose to host a scheduled prayer group within their apartment or in one of the many indoor and outdoor common areas around the community, they can provide a place to turn to for its members when facing difficulties.
Senior believers can use this as a powerful ministry to uplift their friends and neighbors who share prayer requests and worries. By following in Christ's footsteps and praying for those around them, seniors can share his love and encouragement in a deeply personal way.
If desired, those interested in leading a prayer group can talk with their community's in-house chaplain for advice and suggestions. They can also request personalized counseling or study materials relevant to prayer and leadership positions.
Many churches have used prayer requests in their newsletters and bulletins to share needs and unite their congregations in prayer over the years with great success.
Seniors who enjoy writing can follow this example and create a community newsletter of requests, updates and praise reports contributed by their peers. While email newsletters let their creators instantly get the word out, paper bulletins may be more familiar to readers who aren't comfortable using technology regularly.
Regardless of which approach older adults decide is right for them to share prayer with others, it's important to remember to show courtesy and discretion to those involved. Prayer requests by their very nature can be about deeply private or sensitive matters, and it's important to respect others' boundaries around these issues.
Seniors can protect their friends' feelings from being hurt by making sure they don't reveal confidential requests without checking first. Requesters may also want the confided information to be simplified to say that prayer is needed for a personal matter or medical issue without mentioning details.
Taking time to ensure information is conveyed respectfully is another way that seniors of faith can model Jesus to those around them and strengthen their bond of trust and friendship with their group of prayer warriors.