I recently talked with Tim Augustyn, Pastor of Ministry Resources at Open the Bible, about a simple but powerful tool for praying for others: Nancy Guthrie’s book I’m Praying for You: 40 Days of Praying the Bible for Someone Who is Suffering (10 of Those, 2021). Here are highlights of our conversation.
Kevin Halloran: Tim, how are you using the book to pray for others??
Tim Augustyn: I put together a list of about fifteen people that I’m praying for every day. They are people who are going through some sort of trial–suffering with a health problem, grieving the loss of a loved one, or struggling with some relational difficulty.
The book has a QR code that allows you to send a text with a prayer to the person you’re praying for that is based on a Scripture passage. It really engages people. They’ve been very interactive about what I’m praying for them, and commenting on it, and sharing other prayer requests. A number of people are also intentionally working through the Scripture passage for themselves.
It’s a Spirit-inspired way to love others and point them to Christ.
One person said to me, “I’ve never before had a pastor pray for me specifically and regularly–that I’m aware of.” They probably have, but they didn’t know it. And so it’s made me reflect on the fact that we do pray for people, but oftentimes they’re not aware that we are praying or what we’re praying for them. It’s a double benefit for them: you’re praying for them and you’re sending them the encouragement of the Scriptures. I’m finding it to be an effective way to engage with the person who’s going through a trial over a period of time.
I love things that are simple, but profoundly helpful. And this book and approach seems to be both.
It really is. I’m doing it for fifteen people daily which takes me about 10–15 minutes. It’s simply laid out. Nancy Guthrie gives you a Scripture passage for each day, a one page explanation of it, and then a little prayer with fill-in-the-blanks for the person you’re praying for. And then she gives you a prayer to send to them using a QR code. It’s all there for you, and it helps me think about the person and what their situation is and try to apply it. It’s a really helpful way to pray for people. I think the most surprising thing is how encouraged I’ve been with the interactive element. Praying for others is a real privilege!
Often we want to pray more for others, but without intentionality our desire often falls by the wayside. This book’s simple technique gives you steps to follow.
I’m done with the forty days, but I still wanted to pray, so I started choosing my own Scripture passages and writing prayers, based on the model Nancy set out. Nancy’s book is teaching me how to pray the Bible for others, in an ongoing way, which is a great gift to me and to those I’m praying for. And anyone can do it!
Is there a specific Scripture or truth that you’ve prayed that has touched people in a special way?
What I noticed is that there are certain things that resonate with people. For example, one of the prayers that Nancy wrote addresses the reality that our suffering often continues for a long time, and I immediately had three or four people text me back. It clearly touched them.
Nancy Guthrie’s book was so helpful to me in understanding what suffering people are going through. She helps you see the connection, because of her depth of experience, between suffering and the Scriptures. She’s very tenderhearted and that has helped me to be more tender with those I’m praying for.
I am excited to recommend I’m Praying for You by Nancy Guthrie to more people and hope that it will be a useful tool for personal growth and for ministry to others.