Slap an “amen” on the end of it.
When someone asks you to pray for them – whether they ask you directly or announce a prayer request to the public – how do you go about it? Assuming you told them that you would indeed pray for them. Do you make a mental note to pray for them later when you have time? Do you pause whatever it is you’re in the middle of for a couple seconds and throw a few quick words up towards Heaven to get it “over with”? Do you mumble a few words while you’re still working on something, slap an “amen” on the end of it, and call it a prayer? Do you stop whatever it is you’re doing and fervently approach the throne of God, treating the request as if it were your very own?
I’m not here to point fingers, so I’ll use myself as an example. I’m good at every one of those types of prayers… except the last one. I struggle with that. It’s hard for me to take someone else’s burden and make it my own. It’s hard for me to stop my ever-so-busy schedule at any given moment and fervently beseech the Lord on behalf of someone else.
But when I have a request, I expect everyone else to treat it like it’s of utmost importance. Please, stop the entire world and fall to your knees in prayer on my behalf. After all, it’s important. Go ahead, shake you head at me… I know I’m a sinner.
Sometimes I think, *Well… they’ve already prayed about it themselves, and God hasn’t answered their prayer yet; so why should I bother…? It’s obviously not going to happen.* But sometimes one praying person isn’t enough. The Bible says in Matthew 18:16, “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” Sometimes it’ll take a few extra people. God likes to be talked to; and He likes to see that His people are serious about what they’re praying for.
The Bible also tells me that I’m to help bear the burdens of fellow-Christians. If they’re hurting, I should hurt with them. If they’re burdened, I should be burdened along with them. I should be there to help and encourage them. Christians need each other; we need our spiritual siblings to pray for us and help carry the load from time to time. We can’t do it on our own. Galatians 6:1 says, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Sounds pretty plain and simple to me.
Apart from all that, the Bible commands us to pray for each other. And by “pray” I don’t mean throwing a few words up in the air while we’re in the middle of configuring work reports, throw an “amen” on the end of it, and call it a day. The Bible says in James 5:16, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” It says that our prayers should be “effectual” and “fervent” – both are pretty heavy words. The word “effectual” means being capable of producing an intended effect, adequate, valid, and binding. The word “fervent” means to have intensity of spirit, to have great enthusiasm, feeling, and warmth.
I’m sure no one else struggles with this… but I do. Most of the time my prayers are very effectual, or fervent. It shouldn’t be this way. Prayer is important; it really matters; it’s serious. Prayer accomplishes God’s work. Prayer is powerful. Prayer is the means of obtaining God’s solutions for situations we face in this life.
*sigh* I have so much to work on in my life. The Lord has been teaching me so much lately – sometimes I feel overwhelmed when I think about all of my shortcomings. But I know the Lord will help me as I continue to seek His face each day and His will for my life.
Will you pray for me?