“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you…” —Colossians 1:9
Every day I receive requests for prayer. On Facebook, over email, via text message or phone call. A friend lost his job. Another was in a car accident. A relative diagnosed with cancer. A neighbor desperate to sell their house. Not to mention the needs in my own house.
“Will you please pray?”
Of course. Absolutely. My heart aches for each one.
Only sometimes I forget. Horrible, I know. The truth is sometimes my good intentions turn into a forgotten to-do. And I feel sick about it.
Until the moment comes when I’m the one needing the prayer support. A struggling child. A relationship challenge. A career decision. Then I ping my friends and family with the same request:
“Will you pray?”
It is then I realize the significance of intercessory prayer. Knowing others are with me, praying for me, eases my pain and worry. As we tackle life’s challenges together — beseeching God for his intervention — I discover the burdens don’t weigh as much as when carried alone.
Knowing how much those faithful prayers mean to me, I want to do the same. If I said I would pray, I must. I can’t break a promise to someone who desperately needs me to make good on it. I determine to do better, but how?
For many of us, life is like a fast moving car. We seldom slow down or stop. I have six children, a husband, and a fulltime career. Keeping track of each day’s tasks requires a herculean effort. I’m sure your life is much the same. If we want to take the privilege of intercessory prayer seriously, we need a plan.
4 steps to make sure our prayers become far more than a promise:
1. Don’t wait for later. When a prayer request comes through over email, text or phone call, I don’t trust myself to remember later in the day. I pray immediately. I type a prayer over text or kneel down in my office while talking on the phone. Who says prayer has to be in a certain location and in a certain way? Prayer is an ongoing conversation with God. Talk to Him now about the need, before time passes and you forget.
2. Pray before you post. In the past, I’d write a quick “I’ll be praying” in response to a request. My heart was right, but my follow-through was not. Now I pray first, before replying or posting. Then, when I finish, I can type the words, “Just prayed!” in full honesty. An actual prayer is far more powerful than a promise of one.
3. Make a prayer list. A few prayer requests require ongoing intercession. A friend’s marriage. A chronically sick child. The older I get, the more difficult it is to keep track of the names and circumstances over weeks and months. If I want to be faithful to pray over time, I need to make a list. That list goes in my Bible or journal, on the bathroom counter or dash of my car. Wherever I’m likely to see it regularly and remember.
4. Add it to the calendar. When I want to remember to pray for one of my children, my husband or a friend at a certain time of day, I add an event and alarm to my calendar. When it goes off, I pray before clearing the task. Simple, but it works!
Choosing to pray for and with those God has placed in our lives is a noble and worthy calling. I have felt the strength and presence of those people who have stepped into my circumstances and prayed me through difficult seasons. As I do the same for others, I not only deepen relationships, but I get to witness God’s presence and power at work.
Leave a comment!
Which of these four steps will you take to make good on the promise to pray?