Friday, August 14, 2009

Do You Really Pray When You Say You Will?

This question came to mind today because I had forgotten to pray about something for someone today. So I had to stop and do it at that moment because I had committed to this friend to pray. How many times do we say "I'm praying for you", just because we don't know what to say in the moment? I confess and am not proud that I am guilty of this. However, in the last few years after one of my little elementary age friends died after struggling with a really long illness and many other physical problems I was convicted and challenged by a friend to pray unceasingly. And as I was reminded of my little friends family and especially her baby sister (who was 3 years old and didn't understand where her big sister went to and why she couldn't go too) I needed to stop and pray for them. Of course I reacted to my friend with frustration, I asked " how can I remember EVERYONE all the time? I feel so overwhelmed by those that I know of that need prayer." In answer to this he gave me the greatest advice through a series of questions:

How many times am I reminded of friends and acquaintances by things as I go through my day? And i answered it depends on the day. (yes sarcasm won't get you anywhere, thankfully my friend was gracious and didn't just throw up his hands or slap me and walk away) With much patience he then challenged me to think and remember my day that day. By the way, he knew I had gone to a favorite store that had antiques and fun girly stuff. He asked me "Had I been reminded of any of my friends while I was in the store?" And I answered "Of course." He then asked me "What did I do with that remembrance and did I think they just 'happened' to come to my mind?" And I answered " No of course not." He then asked: "if God is intentional in our lives and is working through every detail of it would He not use an instance of seeing a fun purse which made me think of one of my friends who I thought would love it as a reminder for me to lift them up in prayer?" It was like a ton of bricks landed on my head; a real "DUH!" moment.
This conversation totally changed the way that I approach praying through my prayer list and praying unceasingly. And so now I have fun throughout my day waiting to see who God is going to bring to mind and how He does it. Will it be through a license plate or maybe a goofy flashback song or even a cookie at a bakery.
Now don't get me wrong I am not a saintly pray-er. I am most definitely an imperfect Jesus follower. I don't pray all the time and you won't hear me chanting prayers under my breath throughout the day. But I do want to learn how to be one that "prays without ceasing" it is definitey a discipline. And yes I still have a prayer list that I intentionally use to pray by because I will no doubt forget someone or a situation that I need to pray for. But I also pray for God to open my eyes and ears to be aware of what He is showing and telling me so that I won't miss those moments to pray for others and of course to hear from Him and know what He would have me do.
A for instance from this was just the other day I was driving to grab lunch and drove by a restored bright yellow 70's era corvette. This car reminded me of an old friend from highschool days that had one, someone that I had lost touch with. And as I began wondering what happened to them God nudged me to pray for them. Now obviously I didn't know what to pray but asked God to intervene and provide for this person as only He knew how.

Now I could continue to write a dissertation on prayer as well as remembering to take the time to follow up on those you prayer for and hear what God is and has done. But it would take much more time than I have at this present moment. Just be mindful of praying for those situations and people God brings to your mind. And yes you may not know what to pray but God knows their needs, just lift them up to Him. And pray as He leads you. And please don't say you will pray for someone when you know you won't. People hang onto prayers more often than we reaize as lifelines.
I hope this will challenge you to pray more intentionaly and think differently about praying through your day.

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