“Am I remembering correctly that you are a prayer?” A co-worker asked me this at a business meeting last night. When I responded with “absolutely” she then proceeded to share the part of her life that she felt needed prayer. I responded specifically by saying that I would be praying protection, direction and balance regarding her new endeavor.
Have you ever told someone you would pray but forgot to in the busyness of your day? I admit that I am sometimes guilty of this. Or time passed and the prayer request fell off your radar even though prayer was still very much needed in that situation? Or perhaps you were scrolling through social media and responded to a post with “praying” but just kept scrolling through your feed without taking the actual time to pray?
I heard recently of a pastor who instead of saying, “I’ll pray for you,” asks, “Can I pray for you right now?” instead. An interesting concept and one that I was not ready to put into practice at the end of a business meeting last night. But one that I understand (immediate comfort to the person who needs prayer) and would like to have the courage to try.
Scripture encourages us repeatedly to pray and clearly paints a picture of a God who is listening and answers prayer. Jeremiah 29:12 says, “Then call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Psalm 17:6 “I call on you, my God, for you will answer me: turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” Psalm 145:8 “The Lord is near to all who call on him . . .”
In our crazy, busy, hectic and mixed up lives how do we remember to pray for other people? One man I know keeps a handwritten list in his Bible that he looks at and prays through each day. He follows up with people to see if the prayer has been answered or if he needs to keep praying. Our Bible study group does prayer requests each week – some typing them into their phone or computer so they have them available to pray through during stray windows of time in their day. While other members write them in their study guides or a notebook.
Email, texting and social media can be a great way to bring a group of people together to pray for a specific need. Personally, I have been known to set reminders on my phone, put a post-it note on my computer or write it in my planner when I need to pray for someone at a specific time for a specific reason (test, surgery, job interview etc.).
Colossians 4:2 tells us to, “Devote ourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” There are so many needs in the world around us. Prayer is our opportunity to connect those needs with a God who cares and is waiting with a listening ear. Join me this week in making sure that our words “I will be praying for you” match our actions.
Precious Father please help us to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, please help us to be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:18) Amen.