In My Prayers
By Craig Ruhl
You are in my prayers. I just posted that response to a social media post from a family friend who asked for prayers for her and her family. The poster didn’t mention what or who to pray for specifically. That is okay because God knows who is in need and exactly what they need at the time. Most of us who use social media receive these requests many times a day. How do we respond? What can we do to lift another person in prayer?
We tell each other, “I’ll keep you in my prayers,” or “I’ll pray for you.” But let me ask you a question before I continue; how often do you follow through on your promise? Do you write that prayer request down so you will remember to include it during your scheduled prayer time? Or do you stop what you are doing and immediately say a brief prayer? It is easy to make a promise or commitment to pray for another person and then not follow through with prayer. The number of prayers needed among family, friends, church family, work associates, and neighbors can overwhelm us. How are we to manage this part of our prayer life?
The Bible is the best source for learning how to pray, and the place to start is with how Jesus taught us to pray. Many of us learned The Lord’s Prayer as children. The following Bible verse is the basis of that prayer. Depending on the version of the Bible used, the wording will vary.
“He said to them, When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’” Luke 11:2-4 (NIV)
The next step is to determine how the Lord would have us pray for each other. Here are several Bible verses which give us further instruction:
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 (NIV)
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26 (NIV)
When someone asks us to pray and we agree to pray, we are called to follow through and intercede on their behalf. To say we will pray while not intending to do so is being untruthful. Prayer is a serious matter, having a profound effect both on the one praying and the one being prayed for. Taking it lightly is a grave mistake and can have a devastating effect.
There are groups or circles of people who specifically join to pray. I like to call them Prayer Warriors. We can find them in churches, small groups, ministries, neighborhoods, and social media. Often, a need will arise, and they will put a call out for intentional prayer. The request quickly spreads, and faithful prayers are offered. We have the biblical assurance that when we pray in agreement with others, God in heaven will hear our prayers.
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 18:19 (NIV)
Over the years, I have been prayed for by people I didn’t even know. They lifted me up in prayer because of having received a request from their prayer partners on my behalf and then honoring that request. God heard those prayers and has performed many miracles in my life. There is no way for me to know how many times these prayer warriors have prayed for me during my lifetime, but God does!
How do we respond to prayer requests? It is easy to key “I’ll pray for you!” into a social media post, but unless we follow through with prayer, it is an empty promise. If we don’t immediately take the request to the Lord in prayer, we may lose the opportunity. Since we can’t always stop what we are doing and enter into prayer, each of us must develop a method and habit for dealing with prayer requests. Throughout the Bible, we are taught that our prayer life is central to Christian living. Praying for others is not just a requirement, it is a blessing for the one praying and the recipient.
One way to organize specific requests that you can’t immediately pray about is to keep a prayer journal. Add each prayer request as you receive it. Schedule a set time to go back and intentionally pray over each entry. You need not write out your prayer, although I know some people who like to do that. Leave a space where you can return later to record answered prayers. I like to use a paper journal and pen to track prayer requests. Many people find a digital prayer record works best for them. The method doesn’t matter as much as our faithfully honoring our promises to pray for each other. Full disclosure—I need to be much better at this!
One of the greatest prayer warriors I have ever met was a man from our church in California. Bruce would come next to you, ask you what was going on in your life, and if there was anything he could pray for. Based on your reply, he would then put his hand on your shoulder and say, “Let’s take that to prayer right now.” He would pray right there, on the spot. His prayers were sincere and powerful. He kept a small notebook in his pocket where he recorded prayer requests throughout the day. He said that he would go back over the day’s requests before he went to bed, lifting each request in prayer. The Lord called Bruce home several years ago, but I know he is in heaven advocating for all the prayer warriors still on earth.
Please remember that we will not always know when or how prayer has been answered. Trust that God hears your prayers and will grant them in accordance with His will.
“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 (NIV)
How can I pray for you today?