In the past year and a half, God has been teaching me a lot about prayer. I don’t mean that He has been teaching me about the doctrine of prayer or what prayer means. Instead, I am talking about God showing me the importance of prayer and how it affects not only my life, but those around me.
How many of us have said to people, “I’ll pray for you” and we say it with the best intentions. But then we walk away and forget to pray for them. And sometimes we don’t even think about it again. We intended to. We didn’t tell them a lie. But we just forgot? Please tell me I am not the only guilty party here. We may have the best intentions, but then life gets in the way. However, I bet if we were really serious about prayer, that wouldn’t happen.
How do we fix that? How do we make sure we pray for someone when we tell them we will? Life is always going to get in the way. It’s quite simple really. The moment someone asks us to pray for them or we volunteer that we will pray for them, we don’t just say we will pray. We do it. Not later if and when we think about it. Right then! With them. Don’t wait. Do it right then.
This does two things.
- It ensures that we actually pray for them at least once.
- It encourages the other person when they know for sure we are praying for them. The whole concept of the Church is built around the idea that we care for each other. What better way to show that we care than to prove to them that we are investing in their lives through prayer.
I know for me personally there is great comfort and solace when I hear others praying for me. Talk about building my faith! What an incredible strength of God I feel simply by hearing others pray for me. I know it sounds strange, but when I hear someone praying for me, my faith in God is increased far more than if it is just me praying for myself or even being told by others that they WILL pray for me.
And then we take it to the next level. We pray regularly for them. I don’t mean that we have to pray for them every single day, although God may ask some of us to do that for certain people. But it does mean that we make it a habit to pray on a regular basis for them, whether that is daily, weekly, or whatever. And please let them know you are praying for them. Tell them specifically what you are praying. It will be a great encouragement for them.
This is just one aspect of prayer that God has shown me. But I believe it is such a huge one that it has become a part of not only my life, but my ministry. So many of these truths have found their way into not just my prayer life, but my work as well.
For instance, in my latest novel, Capturing the Heart, prayer is a vital theme to this Christian romance novel. So many of the truths that I have preached in a video message series entitled, Revolutionizing Your Prayer Life, are seen throughout this wonderful story of God working in two people’s lives.
Here is an excerpt from the novel dealing with the subject of how prayer can encourage someone:
Choosing to momentarily ignore her attempt to bait him into divulging his personal thoughts about her, he explained, “I am not an expert on prayer nor am I a psychologist. I am just a small town football coach. But one thing I have learned in the time that I have been a Christian is that most people say they are going to pray for someone, but they usually don’t. Maybe the closest they come is to think about them.”
“Yeah,” Jackie interrupted, “in fact, don’t we often even admit that is what we are doing. Someone shares a need with us and we say, “I will be thinking about you.” She started to laugh. “Thinking about you? What good does thinking about someone do?”
“That is my point exactly,” Matt joined her in laughter. “How many people are ever really encouraged when we only tell them that we are praying for them? We tell them we are praying for them and what they hear is that we are thinking about them.” Without even realizing what he was doing, he reached across the storage compartment/cup-holder that divided the driver and passenger seat and placed his hand on top of hers. Her hand momentarily stiffened before relaxing. “Tonight I saw you answer God’s call and literally pray with Ellen Richmond. You could see in her face how encouraged she was to know that someone was literally praying for her son, not just thinking about him.”