This past week, I saw the Facebook status about the need of a friend who serves as a missionary in Europe. The father of this young family, with no medical history, collapsed when out in the community and was resuscitated by CPR and is recovering in a hospital, still without a reason for the incident. They asked for prayers for his recovery and health. I have to say, I didn’t say I was going to pray or post the little praying hands emoji, but I did pray for them, quietly in my living room ½ way around the world. When you see someone publically ask for prayers what is your response? Do you ask for more details, hoping you don’t appear nosy, thinking ‘if I know what to pray for, maybe that will help?’ Or maybe if you live nearby, do you take time to go visit in person to pray and see what you can do to help. You can always just join the others and say ‘praying for you’, but then forget to do so. Do you believe your prayers are effective?
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
When I was younger, and single, and seemed to have more time, I didn’t usually even wait for friends, or strangers to ask for prayer, I would often say, ‘Do you mind if I pray for you?’ and I would right then and there pray out loud, often in public, for whatever God put on my heart to say. This was often some of the most meaningful, connected times I would have with people, as you are essentially pleading together, beseeching God for whatever issue you bring that is beyond your control. I often felt blessed to be able to pray and ask for whatever was at hand. In reality, this also shows others that you genuinely care for them as well. In fact, I would even say it is more intimate than almost any other form of action or communication, because you are connecting on a spiritual level, and not just socially. In fact, if you are not regularly praying with your spouse, you are lacking in true intimacy.
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
Prayer is essentially communicating with God. Sharing your desires, concerns, frustrations, and basically anything that is troubling you is probably foremost on your agenda when you pray, but the other half of good communication is listening. Even for those that practice it, listening does not come easily, as our default setting is usually to say and do, and not to wait on others. Sitting quietly and waiting on God seems to go against the daily stream of movement. You don’t need a special posture or place to pray, but sometimes it can help start a new practice. Asking God what you should pray for is a door to a whole realm of possibilities. Simply asking ‘God, what breaks your heart?’ or ‘Help me see others as You see them’ can help bring better understanding to what is going on in the world. No matter how experienced you are, prayer is a discipline with limitless potential for growth.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
So, if you tell someone you will pray for them, then pray for them, even more than once if you can make the time. And for fun, even if no one has asked, just ask God who or what you should pray for today, then try it. Honestly, I have not regretted praying for anyone, ever. Even if you are not sure if what someone is asking for is the best thing for them, pray that God would reveal the truth in every situation. You will not always get what you ask for, but you will most certainly grow through the process.
Yours in Christ,