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"I'll Pray for You"
Photo: Yuri Arcurs
Have you ever been listening to someone sharing a particular trial in her life with you and as you absorb what she is saying, you simultaneously try to think of some way you can fix it? It’s only natural to do that since you truly care about the person and you want to help ease the pain that is being experienced. But sometimes you just can’t come up with a solution, so you say, “I wish I could help you, but I’ll just pray about it.”

I’ve done that a lot of times. But what are we really saying when we make that offer? The way its worded makes it sound like praying is a last resort. I’ll just pray about it. In other words, I’d like to do something that would really help, but since I can’t, I’ll just pray. Of course, we don’t mean it to be a last resort. We are offering to pray because we believe that God can help even when we can’t. Still, I wonder how much more comfort (and power) might be embraced from our prayerful intention if we worded it a bit differently. For example, I’m going to pray for God to come close to you and give you comfort as you go through this. I want you to know that I’ll be speaking your name to God every day and I know that our prayers will be heard because God loves you and cares about what’s happening.


I know that it truly does make a difference to people when we offer to pray for them, not as a casual thing, but as an intentional, faith-powered commitment. Here are some examples for how to use the power of prayer to help others:

1. Let the person know you will be praying for him and then offer to pray right there together. I remember doing this once for our children’s librarian. She was retiring and we loved her so much. We were saying our good-byes and she was saying how she’d miss the library. So I asked if I could have a prayer with her just then. I thanked God for her service and her influence on our children and also for this next phase in her life. She thanked me and said that was the nicest thing anyone had done for her. It seemed the natural thing for me to do, but to her it touched a special place in her heart. Hearing your voice speaking their name to God can be a powerful gift.

2. Appoint a certain time for prayer for that person or the specific problem and let them know you are doing that. Recently, my son was listening to a friend share about the struggles of high school and how hard things were becoming every day. So he asked this friend if it would help to know that someone was praying at 8:10 each morning when the school day was beginning. The girl was very appreciative of that idea and said, “Yes!” Think about it. Wouldn’t you love to know that someone is praying in your literal hour of need?

3. Check back with the person later. Many people hear someone say, “I’ll pray for you.” But if you check back later and say, “I’ve been praying for you and your situation. How’s it going?” then the person knows you really meant it and that you truly do believe that God answers prayer or else you wouldn’t be asking for developments. Also, they may begin really looking for God’s answers.

4. Believe it yourself. Don’t just tell someone you are praying for them because it sounds like a noble thing to do. Pray for them, believing that God is at work in their lives and that you are an instrument of his power as an interceder. Believe that your prayers in their behalf are unleashing God’s hand on their lives and on their situation.

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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