We’ve all been there. You are having a conversation with a friend and they are sharing with you the challenge they are experiencing – sickness, financial stress, loss of a loved one, etc. Sometimes the pain they are experiencing is so overwhelming that you just don’t know what to say. No words of comfort or advice seem appropriate at the time and there is little you feel you can do to soothe their aching heart. Oh, how we wish we had the right sentiment or message to bring them peace! And how those precious words often elude us! But there is something we can do! We can pray for them. We can bring their needs before God and believe for miracles. So we do our best to give them love and support and we promise to pray. Lately, however, I have felt the Holy Spirit asking me very specifically, “ Jody, when you offer to pray for someone, to incorporate them into your daily prayer time, do you do it?”. Ouch…
I will be the first to step up and admit my failures in this area. For years I was the queen of good intentions and poor follow through. My desires to offer help to my sorrowful loved ones were genuine but my follow through in my private prayer life was less than desired. I might pray a few words or thoughts about them that day and maybe a couple more words the next day but then, I’m sad to say, the effort would often trail off. There are many reasons for this, I’m sure, but none that really seem sufficient, in hindsight. In my recent years, I have had the experience of being the one that desperately needed others to pray for me. I know what it is to be so overwhelmed with your problem and pain that you can’t seem to pull yourself out of that deep pit of despair. I know what it is like to be so exhausted and drained that you don’t have any stamina left to even call out to God. Your words and mental capacity have become so weak that you feel any effort of praying barely even reaches the ceiling, let alone the heavens. In those times, I NEEDED praying people like I needed air. In fact, at times, they WERE my air.
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:18
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” 1 Timothy 2:1
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” Philippians 2:3-5
These are just a few verses in the bible that address the need to pray for others – for our fellow believers, for those that don’t yet know Christ, for our government, for all people. The apostle Paul repeatedly implored believers to pray for him and for each other. Jesus is our ultimate model for prayer. He prioritized time with the Father in prayer, before anything else He did in His earthly ministry. He prayed the most amazing prayer for us in John 17, that richly demonstrates His passion and love for us and our wellbeing. With these as our examples to follow, how can we do any less for each other?
So, how do we remember to pray for those needs? In the midst of skating lessons, supper prep, bedtime chaos and everything in between, how do we find the time? This is a work in progress for me but here are some thoughts:
~ Pray as soon as the Holy Spirit prompts you. Don’t say, “Oh I’ll pray for that this evening”. Stop, take a moment and pray now. Ask the Holy Spirit to prompt you more. He will!
~ Use a calendar in an easy to see place, like your fridge. Write down a person to pray for each day and during that day bring them before God repeatedly.
~ Use that calendar to write down specific events that are happening, like surgeries, tests, etc. and pray for them when most needed.
~ Involve your family! When you hear of someone that needs prayer or feel prompted to pray, include your spouse or children. Have them stop what they’re doing and pray with you. This will do amazing things to develop an active prayer life in your children.
We desperately need to pray for each other, to join together and bring needs before our loving Father. God wants to hear from us! He wants us to unite with our family in Christ and petition Him through prayer. I can’t say this enough…prayer changes things! Prayer works! Let’s determine to be renewed people of prayer for those around us. Let’s be examples of Christ’s love and compassion and do the absolute best thing we can do when our loved ones are hurting – PRAY!
Love and blessings,