“I will pray for you.”
How many times have I uttered those words, whether earnestly or in passing? How many times have I declared I would take something to the throne of God, only to have it stop there, with those words – “I will pray for you”?
The promise to lift someone up rolls off my tongue and out of my mouth so effortlessly. It has become as common for me to say to someone in their time of need as the words “I’m sorry” and “I’m thinking of you” and “What can I do to help?”.
I am sorry and I do want to help and I do intend to pray, or at least I think I do, but more times than not the promise of prayer is not fulfilled. My intentions are good, but my execution is poor.
I so often want to do something tangible when I see someone in need. Write a card, make a meal, send a text – something. Anything. But what I need to embrace, is the very best thing I can actually do is pray. Lifting up my requests and pleas and praises to God may not feel like doing something, but it is something.
In fact, it is the very best something.
So what do I do? How do I change this habit of saying I will pray and then moving forward without uttering even a simple prayer?
Ask God to give me a spirit of prayer
I believe first and foremost, I need to ask God to give me a spirit of prayer. It may seem funny, to ask God to help us to be people who pray, but I do believe that is the first step. God knows our hearts and He hears His children. If I want to pray more, I believe asking God for help is the first step
Embrace that prayer is doing something. The very best something.
While praying may not always seem tangible, it is by far the best thing we can do. God is our perfect Father and He desires to give good gifts to HIs children. He wants to hear from us, just as we long to hear from our own children. When we take something to the throne of God and lay it at His feet, we are bringing our requests and our tears and our concerns and our praises to the Maker of Heaven and Earth. To our God who is very present in our times of trouble. There is truly nothing better we can do for a loved one in need. And I need to remember that.
Make prayer a part of my every day life
There are many ways to pray. Some are in the habit of praying before meals, bedtime, or devotions. Some pray out loud and others pray silently. We pray on our knees, lying in bed and with our heads bowed at the dinner table. I long to have prayer so much a part of my daily life, and thoughts, that I am regularly in conversation with God. The prayers don’t have to be long, or elaborate. It can be as simple as if I were talking with a friend throughout the day, or uttering words such as “I need you” or “Hear my prayers” or “Lord, be with me”.
I want this conversation to be such a part of my life that when I say “I will pray for you,” my next thoughts are just naturally the very prayer I vowed to say.
After I say “I will pray for you” – Pray
What if as soon as I utter the words “I will pray for you,” I offer to say a prayer? Or what if instead of saying I will pray – I just prayed? When two or more are gathered in His name, He is there; and there is something very powerful about coming together with a friend to pray. So what if instead of waiting to pray later, the prayer just happened right then and there? How powerful and effective that would be.
Remember God knows my heart and doesn’t expect perfection
And above all, I need to remember God knows our hearts. His Spirit lives in me and can intercede in ways I can’t possibly fathom. God knows my intentions when I say I will pray for a loved one and I believe that does matter. He knows when our hearts are hurting for those we love and when we long to see healing brought into their lives. While I will strive to become better in my prayer life, as I know that will draw me closer to God and I know that is where the work is done, I also understand this is a process. There may be times when my prayer life is on fire and others when I am more in a season of drought – and God loves me just the same through both.
It is amazing we can talk to God and that He longs to hear from us. He is available and He is waiting for His children to come to Him. My prayer is that praying will become such a part of my life that it is like waking and eating and drinking and sleeping. That it is just part of the rhythm of my day, and that when I utter the words “I will pray for you” there is no question that I will.
Pray continually. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives. Colossians 1:9