Have you ever heard someone say, “I’ll pray for you”? Have you ever told someone, “I’ll pray for you”? Here’s a harder question, have you ever told someone, “I’ll pray for you” and then…not prayed? My answers, yes, yes, and yes. It is embarrassing to admit that I have uttered the words I’ll pray for you and then didn’t follow through. It was all lip-service.
Why would I do that? It all boils down to one simple answer, I didn’t understand the power of prayer and I didn’t believe it would make a difference in people’s lives. I also believed that other people were doing the same thing. They would tell me they’d pray for me over whatever trouble was wreaking havoc in my life and then they would walk away and not give it another thought.
I was so faithless that oftentimes I didn’t even have the strength to approach the Lord and ask for prayer for myself. Then I started seeking the Lord and asking why I should reach out for prayer? I also started asking him if praying for others really did make a difference. Here is what my questioning revealed. Yes, prayer does make a difference. Yes, we are required to reach out to others in prayer. Yes, praying for others is vital and important, but more pointedly, the Lord instructs us to pray for each other.
When others pray for me I am being covered in prayer. When I am at my breaking point my prayers are desperate, quick, and to the point. Sometimes I spend more time wallowing than I do leaning on the Lord for His comfort and instruction to continue to move forward. When others pray over me, I hear words from their hearts that I want to say to the Lord, but forget to because I’m not thinking clearly. When I ask others to pray for me, I feel the Lord’s peace as He covers me because they are filling in the gaps of intercession where my mind is struggling to focus.
When I pray for others I am being the hands and feet of the Lord. I am allowing Him to use me in others lives to be a tangible reminder of His love. We pray for others in a walk of faith and as a way of understanding them and their hurt more clearly. We may not have traveled the road of loss, trauma, or pain they are walking, but through prayer we can start to see a clearer picture.
When we seek the Lord, he will show us how to minister to our friends in need. Maybe this is just simply, yet profoundly, laying a prayer at His feet. Sometimes, as we step out in faith and pray He prompts us to reach out to those we are praying for and just let them know we are praying. However he prompts us, we are more likely to act as an extension of the Lord if we are seeking Him on others behalf.
I am a reformed cynic when it comes to the power of prayer. I no longer scoff at the idea of people praying for me. I no longer offer empty promises of prayer. AND most importantly, if I say I am going to pray for you, then I will most definitely be kneeling in prayer on your behalf, filling in the gaps when we need the Lord to carry us, but we don’t know how to ask.
Praying is simple and there is no profound approach. Simply pour your heart out to the Lord for yourself and others, He is waiting to hear from you.
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19