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Praying for you, for real this time

Do you ever just say stuff? You know, those moments when your mouth gets away from you and somewhere behind your eyes, your good ol’ pal, the brain is screaming, “What are you talking about?”

Let’s consider a couple of examples:

Someone asks you to run the school fundraiser even though your kids graduated last year, and before you think it through, your mouth pops off with a confident, “Sure!”

Someone at church asks if you’re ready for the presentation tomorrow and even though you don’t have a clue what they are talking about, you hear the word “Absolutely” coming from that hole in your face.

The officer taps your window, asking if you know how fast you were going. You respond, “no sir”, with big sheepish eyes and a softened tone, even though you know you were rushing because you were late and hoped that rule about going five mph over as a safe zone where they wouldn’t pull you over was true (that’s not a real thing, by the way, testify).

Yep, we all get ourselves in trouble when our mouth gets ahead of us. Here’s one more that I bet many of us are guilty of: “I’m praying for you.”


What we mean, we intended to pray for them, that we care about them, and that we may have even thought about them, but very often, we never really prayed for them.

It’s a shame, too. Because I truly believe that prayer is purposeful and powerful. I know and can feel the difference when I am the subject of prayers.

For instance, I had major brain surgery in 2009. It was risky and extensive, and my church prayed like crazy. The surgery was excellent, and my recovery was like a vacation. I couldn’t have been more thankful.

Later that same year, I broke a bone in my hand. The surgery was ‘difficult,’ the recovery was painful, and it still aches me today.

Everyone will pray for brain surgery because it’s a big deal, but hand surgery? I could almost hear the church say, “Come on, pastor, just suck it up.”

It’s not something to kick yourself over; in fact, many people would pray for one another if they knew how. Well, here are the words of Apostle Paul from Colossians 4:12 to give us three simple ways we can pray for someone in their time of need:

“Always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.”

First, understand that sometimes prayer is a struggle. You may need to make an appointment and put it on your calendar. Turn off the TV, take a moment and pray. Schedules are complicated, and attention spans are flaky; the struggle is real.

Second, pray that they would stand mature. In whatever situation, hurt, or uncertainty they are experiencing, pray God would intervene, and they would gain the valuable lessons of growing up in the process. That’s a gift in itself.

Third, pray they would be fully assured in the will of God. That’s a prayer for their confidence that no matter what, God is in control, and they are in His hands.

We may not always know what to pray, but don’t give up. The next time you say I’m praying for you, I hope you can back it up on your knees.

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