Think before you speak. How many times have you told somebody that you would pray for them, and then have completely forgotten about it? I know that I have been guilty many times. Someone has confided in you about a trial or tragedy and you utter the words, “I will pray for you.” But, you never do. Why is that? Today, this happens all too easily on social media. Somebody posts a prayer request and is instantly flooded with tons of responses that simply say, “praying”. But, do they really pray? Why is it that we fail to pray for people once we tell them that we will? I’m not 100% positive about your situation, but here are some reasons that may be true.
1. We don’t pray because we are too busy…
This is probably the most likely reason most people don’t pray for others. We have become extremely busy people who have drowned ourselves in our busy lives. It is very easy to get wrapped up in the details of your day to not even have that individual cross your mind. If you are too busy to pray…it means you are too busy! Busyness never stopped Martin Luther from praying. Martin Luther once said,
“I have so much to do today that I’m going to need to spend three hours in prayer in order to be able to get it all done.” – Martin Luther
2. We don’t pray for others because we never meant it…
Another reason you don’t pray for others is because you never really meant to pray. It’s probably because you have never learned the discipline of a regular intimate prayer time. Not having a normal prayer time would make it difficult to pray for others, no? Which begs a deeper question….? What do you really believe about God and prayer? Not intending to pray when you promised to pray…. conveys that you don’t value or believe in what God has promised.
3. We don’t pray for others because in we have already wished them well…
It might be that “I’ll pray for you” has just become a cliché. “I’ll pray for you” is the right response to someone asking for prayer. However, do you really mean it? Or has it just become something we say when we really don’t know what else to say? Maybe someone has just stunned you with a prayer request. Is it possible that you just said that because you felt like you were supposed to? Did you only say it to make yourself sound more spiritual? Or maybe you were just saying it to make that person feel better.
How do we change this? Well a passionate prayer life can not be manipulated. But, here are some suggestions to help you over your failed promises to pray.
1. When someone asks you for prayer….write it down!
It sounds simple, but it’s the easiest way to remember. When I have written a prayer request down I am much more likely to remember to pray for that person. I don’t always have paper and a pen on me these days, but I always have my iPhone. I use an app called Wunderlist that helps me keep track of different items, including prayer.
2. When someone asks you for prayer…stop and pray that moment!
Instead of simply promising somebody that you will pray…stop and pray with them. Your prayer in front of them is more comforting than your promise to pray. When I’m on social media and I see a prayer request…I have tried to say “Praying right now!”. I then stop and pray for that person or request. Is this to make me look more spiritual? No. It is a habit I’m trying to develop so that I don’t make a promise that I don’t intend on keeping.
Think before you speak. If you are not going to pray then don’t promise that you will.