I will pray for you has become like the following conversation:
Me: How are you?
You: Fine. How are you?
Then we go on our way.
It can become rote, like something you say because you can’t find the words to say anything else. Carla McDougal in My Prayer Chair says:
“I will pray for you! How many times have you said these words? Do you actually follow through? Or is it more a conversation statement to make someone feel better? How serious is this phrase to God?”
She quotes 1 Samuel 12:23, “Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.”
My eyes catch the word sin, and I shudder. Samuel’s mother couldn’t have children and she promised the Lord that if she had a child she would dedicate that child to the Lord. Hannah birthed Samuel. She followed through with her promise. Carla challenges us to ask the questions:
Do you believe your prayers make a difference?
Do you mean what you pray?
Do you just say the words out of duty?
That last sentence especially stings. Carla McDougal refers to James 5:16. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful. I’ve witnessed answer to prayer and I’ve also worshiped in the waiting.
“When I take time to pray for others, I am affected.” Carla says. Haven’t you experienced that effect? It seems somehow selfish to say how much prayer has benefited me when I have prayed for others. It’s nonetheless true. Prayer has changed my life. She shared an amazing prayer experience in this book, but you’ll have to buy it here to read it for yourself.
For now, just remember that when you say, I will pray for you, please don’t put it off. Pray immediately, even if it’s a quick prayer. Then, continue to pray.
Can you honestly answer the above three questions?