The Prayer Promise We Christians Should Keep
|Photo by Ruben Hutabarat on Unsplash|
We’ve all said it.
Someone in our immediate or extended social circle sends out an S.O.S.
Our friend’s kid is being a handful and she sends out a text asking you to talk to the Big Man upstairs.
While scrolling through Facebook or Instagram an old acquaintance posts about the recent death of his father.
When running errands, you see a coworker who is battling cancer or that guy from the gym going through a divorce.
For all who know, a certain someone is struggling with depression, anxiety, or another mental illness and they are spiraling downward.
These are scenarios that can happen daily and it is hard to know what to say to those who suffer.
Often in an attempt to ease their (and our) discomfort we make a promise:
"I’m here for you!"
"Let me know if you need anything! Happy to help!"
"Thinking of you!"
And perhaps the most common promise for Christians, "I’m praying for you!"
If we're typing, we might even throw in a "praying hands" emoji for emphasis.
That ought to do it. 🙏🏻✅
I've noticed a theme in my group texts, Facebook threads, and church groups: "I will pray" has become the go to Christian response to others in times of need.
Because what else can we really do for someone who is struggling, but pray?
But do you actually do it?
When I tell someone I will pray for them - I have the best intentions.
I want to respond to them in their time of need; at the exact moment I hear of their distress.
Sometimes, their grief, pain, or struggle is so large - I am not quite sure what to say to show them I care.
So, I listen and end our conversation with, "You're in my prayers!"
I have every intention of actually praying for all who ask.
Yet as my grocery list calls, my newsfeed refreshes, that deadline approaches, my kid asks (for the third time), my mind wanders...coffee cup empties....
I'm embarrassed to say, I forget.
I forget prayer requires more from me than a simple sentimental statement.
Prayer is not just a noun, it’s a verb; the act of taking a need or request to God.
When I pray for someone it requires me to set my tasks, distractions, and responsibilities aside for them.
We have to stop saying we will pray and actually...pray.
Here are five ways to pray for others and fulfill our promise to them:
- Pray with them: If you’re at the supermarket, standing in the church parking lot, or at the gym it may feel weird to pray in public. Yet, this can be extremely powerful and moving to pray on the spot for someone who is in despair. First, ask them if it is OK to pray with them right there. I’ve never had someone turn me down and it only takes a few seconds. Try it!
- Pray by text: When you receive a text message, Facebook group notification, or email from someone asking for prayer do not simply reply: "I am praying for you" unless you are actually praying right then. Type out your prayer to them instead! Our promise means nothing without follow through. God will take care of the rest.
- Pray in your kitchen: I once had a friend ask for prayer as she was experiencing extreme anxiety. She needed to see a therapist right away and there were no openings available. In the middle of cooking dinner, I dropped to my knees and asked God to make an opening and a way for my friend to get the help she needed. 15 minutes later, I got her text saying there had been a cancellation and she had an appointment the next morning. My part took 3 minutes.
- Pray silently: In a meeting? Driving? In the bathroom stall? No one needs to know you're praying, but you, the person in need, and God.
- Make a prayer list: Sometimes, the needs of others are so great - they need repeated prayer. They require more from us than a quick text or declaration. If you aren't able to do full blown prayer right then, make a list on your phone, a piece of paper, or bedside notebook to help you remember specific requests. When you have more time, you can truly intercede on others’ behalf with all the care and dedication they deserve.
It is not enough to simply say I am praying for someone.
My comment, text message, or emoji is no substitute for the real thing.
My words alone have no power to change a person’s circumstance.
My words must be brought to You; the maker and healer of all things in order to help those in need.
"100% of the prayers we don’t pray won’t get answered." - Mark Batterson
And while we’re at it -
Let’s work on some of the other promises we make to people, too.
Show up. Reach out. Make that phone call.
As followers of Christ, we are called to honor our word.
Heather is married to a funny blue devil, mom to three lively boys, and singer both on stage and in her child's ear. She is the owner of Kaloupek Counseling, LLC a private practice offering mental health services to children, teens, and adults in Decatur, IL. You can read more about her, her blog, and counseling practice here. Want to reach out? Send her an email! She would love to hear from you!