Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I'll Pray For You

I'll pray for you.

I've heard it for my entire life.

You're in our thoughts and prayers.

Usually it's an answer for an uncomfortable, tense, or sad situation where you don't know what else to say. But what does it really mean?

I've heard it used so much that it almost seems like something you just say. Pray for our country. Pray for our troops. Pray for healing. Pray for miracles. Pray for peace.

(And we should.)

The prayer quotient just gets upped this time of year, as if God might hear our prayers around the holidays more than he would in June.

Can we pray to a God whose very existence we doubt?

I'm still alive but barely breathing
Just prayed to a God that I don't believe in.
{breakeven, the script}

For me, it means I have really great intentions, but not so great follow-through. It means I really want to make the person I'm talking to feel better in the moment, with nice words and a generous hug, but words that don't come from the heart don't mean much.

People know when you aren't being sincere. They know when you are using prayer as a cover-up for a lack of words, feelings, thoughts or emotions.

Prayer is one of the sweetest acts of love a person can offer. To go to God on behalf of someone else is such a beautiful gift. But who wants to open a pretty package, only to find it empty on the inside?

Rejoice always, 
pray continually, 
give thanks in all circumstances; 
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
{1 thessalonians 5: 16-18}

Maybe this is one of the many reasons Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5 to pray continually. Because we are a distracted people, forgetful, prone to make promises we can't keep. And maybe we make those promises with no intention of keeping them, because it sounds good at the time.

For me, prayer is more about humbling oneself to the will of God than getting what you want. Even if I'm more polite about it and add a please to every prayer request I say, if I'm not humbling my heart, but only expecting what I want when I want it, then I've missed the point.

Humbling my heart is not an easy thing to do. I tell my kids often that the world does not revolve around them. I could be reminded of the same thing.

I want to be more intentional with my prayer. Instead of promising prayer with a half-hearted attempt at actually praying for that person, I want to do what I say. I want to offer the best gift I know to give--prayer--to people who have hurting hearts and I want them to know I mean what I say. Even if it means saying a prayer right away so I don't forget. I want to humble my spirit so that God knows I'm serious about my prayer.

His will be done.

Couldn't we all use a prayer?

Have a prayer request? I'll pray for you.

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