I ran into a former professor at a conference. I had only taken one class with him nearly thirty years before, so I was stunned when he told me he prays for me and two others who live near me. He prays for his former students by region, because he loves us and wants us to flourish in our faith.

This professor is my “Samuel.” When the prophet Samuel announced that King Saul would now be Israel’s leader (1 Samuel 12:1), he knew he would no longer be as directly responsible for them. Yet he still felt an obligation to pray for them, and promised, “I will certainly not sin against the LORD by ending my prayers for you” (1 Samuel 12:23).

I hope you have a Samuel. Perhaps, like I was, you’re benefiting from prayers you aren’t even yet aware of.

But I also hope you’ll be a Samuel for others. Remember those who have passed out of your life and pray for them. If you love God and you love them, why wouldn’t you talk to God about them?

We can’t pray for everyone by name, but we can pray more intentionally. We can regularly ask God to bless the names He places on our heart. It may take time to develop this habit, but may God’s love compel us to press on. In His power we can make time to pray on others’ behalf.

We can pray with structure, and we can also pray spontaneously. When we see an old friend online or when they simply come to mind, we can do more than savor fond memories. We can talk to God while we’re thinking of them (Philippians 1:3). We can ask God to provide whatever they need and empower them (Philippians 4:19). We might even send a note to let them know we thanked God for them.

Let’s tell the Most Important Person about the most important people in our lives.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Matthew 15:32–16:12