“And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it”—Matthew 5:33(MSG).
It has taken me years to follow faithfully through on my promises to pray for others when asked. I still fail, sometimes. I’ve learned a secret. Pray right then. Right now. Whether in public or private, I stop and pray, because if I don’t, I forget.
Inserted inside my Bible is also a list of people whom I pray for daily. My list includes those who’ve requested prayer or those whom God has placed on my heart. Since I’m an almost 19-year cancer survivor, I feel especially called to pray for those who are battling the dreaded disease. Many on my list are people I’ve never met.
Recently, I was responding to a friend whose 85-year-old husband has been battling health issues for several years. His declining health has led to multiple emergency room visits and hospital stays. When I assured her that both were in my prayers, she replied, “All prayers are welcomed. I am so grateful for those who are praying for us because I sometimes feel inadequate.”
When You Feel Inadequate
Responding to my friend’s comment, I said, “So do I, but God knows our hearts. Our words don’t have to eloquent, just from the heart.”
Pastor and best-selling author Max Lucado says, “Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”
Prayer does make a difference. Even if our prayers aren’t answered like we prayed and hoped for, the outcome is still the same. We’re transformed by God’s amazing grace. During my quiet time each morning, I lift family, friends, and strangers to the Lord in prayer. While God doesn’t immediately wave a magic wand and bring healing or answer my pleas, a peace settles over me, a peace that defies understanding.
A Peace Like No Other
In John 14:27, Jesus prepares His disciples for His departure from this world. He tells them, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
When we offer our prayers in Jesus’ name, peace follows because of the assurance He hears our prayers, knows our hearts, and cares more for us than we can even imagine. Whether our prayers result in the outcome we desire, we can rest in peace, knowing that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
In 1 Corinthians 1:9, Paul writes, “God faithfully keeps His promises. He called you to be partners with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” As a partner of our Savior, let us remember to keep our vows to pray for those in need.