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“I’m really struggling,” a friend confides. “I haven’t been feeling well for a while now, and I think it may be stress-related. My husband and I have had a lot of disagreements lately. I don’t even know why we can’t seem to get along right now, but it seems everything I say or do is wrong. He’s always frustrated with me, and I don’t understand why.”
What would you say to this friend? Maybe you have sage advice from having gone through something similar, or perhaps you are at a loss as to how to encourage her. Either way, you might be quick to let her know you’ll be praying for her.
When we hear of trials others are facing — whether it’s a job loss, a health struggle, a relationship difficulty, a parenting challenge, etc. — we know that God knows the solution and has the power to heal. His Word tells us that He gives wisdom to those who ask, so prayer is certainly an important response.
But I wonder… When we say “I’ll be praying for you,” do we mean it?
When we tell someone we’ll be praying, do we follow through? Do we pray for them and the difficulty they are facing? Or do our good intentions fall to the side as we go about our busy days?
I say “we” and not “you” because I am asking this of myself as well. It is easy to say, “I’ll be praying for you.” Actually getting on our knees and truly praying may be another story.
I doubt any of us intentionally say we’ll pray and never do. We don’t mean to be flippant. We are sincerely touched by the situation and have every intention of bringing it to the Lord. Then we get busy, and we forget.
I am reminded of Matthew 5:37, where Jesus says, “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no,’ ‘no.'” We need to say what we mean and mean what we say. When I tell someone I’ll be praying for them, I don’t want them to roll their eyes at just another meaningless expression. I want it to mean something. But in order for it to mean anything, I have to follow through.
In the past I have kept a prayer notebook. I don’t write out prayers word for word, but I do keep a list of the people I am praying for, usually with a brief note of the specific prayer request or situation.
This helps in two ways:
It serves as a reminder.
When I tell someone I’ll be praying and jot their name in my notebook, I am less likely to forget. I can glance back through my list as I’m praying so that I can indeed be praying regularly for those I’ve said I would.
It creates a record of answered prayer.
When someone was sick and I’ve prayed for them, their good health is an answer to prayer! Someone who was not a believer who chooses to follow Christ in an answer to prayer!
Recording these answers encourages us as we continue to pray, because we have a reminder of the impact our prayers have. The devil will try to discourage us, telling us our prayers do no good or are bouncing off the ceiling. But we know better, because we’ve seen His answers, and we’ve written them down!
So friends, I challenge you as I challenge myself today. Pay attention to what you say, and when you hear yourself say, “I’ll be praying for you,” be sure you mean what you say. Make a note, and follow through.
Let’s encourage one another today! Leave a comment, and share about an answered prayer. (It’s okay to protect identities. 😉 ) God does hear our prayers, and that opportunity to pray for someone else is such a privilege!