Tears were flowing freely. I handed her a few more tissues hoping her state of vulnerability was not embarrassing to her. I wanted her to feel safe to share with me.
We talked for some time, and then as we were leaving I uttered, "I'll be praying for you." Eyes red and swollen from her tears, she forced a smile and quietly responded, "Thank You."
As I walked to my car questions came to my heart. "Will you pray for her? I mean, seriously, will you pray?" Of course initially I convinced myself I would, but those questions continued to linger and challenge me through my week.
Have you noticed?
To offer to pray for someone seems to be as much a formality as any other greeting. Listen...
Hello. Goodbye. I'll be praying for you. See you next week.
God challenged me some time ago with this and I have worked to change it since.
I realized that I was not taking the words I spoke to someone seriously. And when I did speak, my promise to pray for them was not necessarily one of true intentions. It was often a polite form of greeting.
Taking the Offer to Pray Seriously
I realized that when I offer to pray, someone is counting on that. And when I offer to pray, and don't follow through, I have not kept my word.
Ways to Pray for Others
1. Ask to pray with them in the moment. Ask them how you can best pray and then do so, right then and there.
2. Commit to pray as they come to mind. Ask God to bring them to mind throughout your days. As He is faithful to do so, stop right then and offer a prayer.
3. Put their name in a location you will see. I write names in my prayer journal. Under a person's name I write their specific needs. I have also been known to carry names on index cards and place them in my car. As moments allow, prayers can also be lifted then.
4. Ask for specific ways to pray. Contact those you are praying for and ask how you can be praying. This helps to see answers to the things that you have been focusing on, and gives new ways to keep prayers for them current.
Are you intentional and sincere in your offers to pray, or do you offer as a polite form of greeting?
What ways have you found and implemented that make your offers to pray a reality?