If you’re an average sort like me then you’ve had plenty of opportunities to offer a friend or family member a well-meaning, “I’ll remember you in my prayers.” Sometimes you say this via Facebook or Twitter and you say, “sending thoughts and prayers your way,” or just plain, “thinking of you.”
And then, because you’re average like me…
You forget about that need, that promise, that prayer.
We don’t want to forget. We don’t want to be so focused on other things, but we are, and we do.
I learned a long time ago that my promises are only as good as my memory. So, here’s how I apply this lesson to praying for people I intend to pray for.
1. Pray Immediately
If I promise to pray for someone, I do it right then, right there, on the spot. I do this because I believe prayer matters. It’s worth doing, and I want to encourage that person’s faith and hope in the God who hears and answers. If I put it off, I’m very likely to forget about it. This is plan A. If some circumstance is preventing my praying immediately, then I turn to plan B. I write it down, so I’ll actually remember to pray later. (For my memory, if it isn’t written down, it doesn’t exist.)
2. Pray Personally
If someone asks me to pray for them, I often offer to pray aloud with them. Again, that way I remember to follow through on my promise to pray and, I have an opportunity to help encourage that person’s faith and hope.
3. Pray in Writing
If you ask me to pray for you via Facebook, Twitter, text, or email. I’m likely to send back a short written prayer and maybe even a Scripture verse right away. Why? You know by now.
4. Pray Purposefully
Everyone is in a different place spiritually, and that means their understanding of who God is, how He works, what His plan is, etc, etc varies from person to person. So when someone asks me to pray for them, or even if I offer to pray unasked, my purpose is to help that person move a little bit further along the path toward a fuller understanding of God.
In other words if I ever pray for you, I want you to be a little more equipped to pray confidently on your own, or for someone else when you have the opportunity.
5. Pray Confidently
You don’t need a PhD in Biblical Studies to pray for a friend. You can approach God with faith that He hears your prayers for Christ’s sake with very little understanding of the Bible.
Go ahead, pray. God has a generous heart and listens to our stammering words patiently as we would to a toddler. Even if you just recite The Lord’s Prayer, God will hear and be gracious.
6. Pray Biblically
That being said, I certainly pray differently now than I did 30 years ago. And you will pray differently a year from now than you would today if you made reading the Bible a regular habit of your life. It’s amazing how reading a few verses a day, or a chapter a day, or the New Testament in a year can enlarge your vision of who God is, what His plan is, and how He works it out in our lives. Imagine how that understanding will help you pray with growing faith for a friend in need.
7. Pray in Jesus.
I already mentioned above that God accepts our prayer for Christ’s sake, not for our sakes, not for our friend’s, not for our sincerity, or goodness or great faith. He hears us because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross. That’s what it means to pray “in Jesus’ name” — that we reach out to God knowing we are received lovingly because what Jesus did matters. He is our Mediator. He is our hope. He is the door to heaven; the way to the Father.
Pray. How blessed you and your friend will be.
How do you remember to keep your promise to pray?
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