Local Author Turns Blog Series into Hands-on Prayer Aid

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

azAmelia Rhodes remembers the call from a friend who wanted to talk about the events in her life, including a friend’s cancer diagnosis, and to ask Rhodes to pray. Of course she agreed, and added that request to her long list of things to pray for.

“I remember feeling frustrated, guilty and overwhelmed because I wasn’t sure how I could pray for all the needs in my community,” said Rhodes, who lives with her husband and two children in Lowell. “I thought that if I could organize my prayer list into categories, it would be easier.”

She came up with the idea of praying for topics according to the alphabet, an idea that has grown into “Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Praying for Your Community,” a series of 26 cards featuring a topic for each letter.

az2Each card, about the size a 3x5 card, includes the topic to pray about, a prayer prompt, Bible verse, and space to write down specific names or organizations to pray for that relate to the topic. On the backside is a short written prayer to help get users started.

For example, A stands for Adoption; the prompt encourages prayer for waiting adoptive families, waiting children, orphanages, caregivers, and adoption agencies.

Other topics include Pregnancy and Parenting, Unique Needs (for families with unique-need members), Singles, Widows and Widowers, and Zero Prejudice.

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“I found that by praying this way, I wasn’t forgetting anybody but was also praying for more things than I thought I would because the cards got me thinking,” said Rhodes. “The cards encourage people to pray not only for the people they know, but also for organizations that might be helping in that area.”

Rhodes created her first cards as a download on her blog. She also did a blog series in which people shared their stories about each of the topics, from becoming a young widow to searching for a job to having a child with cancer.

That blog series is now a free ebook titled “Pray A to Z Moments” available on the website www.prayatoz.com. Local people including Cindy Bultema, Andy Rogers, Susie Finkbeiner and Sharron Carrns have contributed their stories.

az3Some users wanted to do more than download and print the cards. They wanted to buy a ready-made set to carry with them. Enter Rhodes’ husband Kedron. He designed each of the cards and designed the wooden stand they sit on. Gilson Graphics in Grand Rapids printed the cards, Kedron Rhodes made the stands, and the pair laser engraved the stands at GR Makers, a maker space near downtown Grand Rapids.

“I never expected this to be anything but a blog series and a free ebook,” said Amelia Rhodes, who is also author of the book “Isn’t It Time for a Coffee Break?” “It’s taken me by surprise how many people are interested in using it in their devotional life and sharing it with friends.”

“Pray A to Z” is available on the website www.prayatoz.com and at Baker Book House. Ten percent of all proceeds are donated to local organizations supporting the topics featured in the series.

Rhodes is almost ready to print more “Pray A to Z” sets, and already has plans for a second set especially for families. The family cards will be written in language kids understand and will include practical things for families to do together such as writing letters to lawmakers or random acts of kindness. She also encourages churches to contact her about cards designed specifically for their needs.

“I want ‘Pray A to Z’ to be used so that, as we pray, our daily lives are impacted,” said Rhodes. “The topics aren’t just something we sit around and pray about, but we are prompted to live out every day.”

She’s also working on a second book that puts “Pray A to Z” into book form. It will include stories from everyday folks who had been impacted by the topics and who have very real struggles and challenges.

“A big element of this is peoples’ stories,” she said. “The more we know, the better we know how to pray and the more our eyes are opened to other people in our communities.”

For more information on “Pray A to Z,” visit www.prayatoz.com or www.ameliarhodes.com.

The “Pray A to Z” cards are available on the “Pray A to Z” website or at Baker Book House, 2768 E. Paris Ave. SE, Grand Rapids.

Author Information
Ann Byle
About:
Ann Byle is a freelance writer for a number of publications including Today's Christian Woman and Publishers Weekly, a literary agent with Credo Communications, and author of several books including Soul Surfer Devotions with Bethany Hamilton and The Edge of Redemption with Troy Evans. She is an adjunct writing professor, contest judge, and cofounder of Breathe Christian Writers Conference. She and her husband, Ray, have four children ages 11 to 21, and live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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