If we are going to pray like we have never prayed before we are going to need to stretch our prayer lives. From time to time in the months to come I will make suggestions of ways to increase the quantity and quality of your prayers. But at this early point I am suggesting something so simple that many of you will discount it; a prayer list.
A godly deacon in the church I pastored in the 1970s used to pray, "Lord, help us to pray for all those for whom it is our duty to pray." His prayer reminds me of the words of Samuel after the people had demanded a king. "God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you." There are people that it is your duty before God to pray for. And the only way I know how to consistently pray for them is to write their names down and discipline yourself to pray for them.
God can use a simple prayer list to stretch the compassion of your prayer life. As I have made lists and committed to pray for people on a daily basis God always prompts me to pray for people I don't really like. I am often amazed at how God expands the dynamics of my relationship with Him as I discipline myself to pray for that person I am tempted to envy; or to pray for that person who slighted me and so offended my pride; to pray for that person I disagree with; to pray for that person who disgusts or intimidates me. I know of no more effective tool for stretching my shriveled unchristlike attitudes than praying for people God impresses me to pray for on a consistent basis.