James 5:13-16 13
Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. 14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.
by Chris Holliday, Resurrection West Connection & Care Pastor and Adult Discipleship Director
You’re talking with a good friend and ask how they’re doing. They say, “Fine”. You say, “How are you really doing?” They tell you about something with which they’re struggling. You talk for a while and end by saying, “I’ll be praying for you.” Then you don’t.
It’s not that you don’t care. It’s not that you don’t believe in the power of prayer. It’s not that you don’t want to pray for the person. You have the very best of intentions. Maybe you forgot? Maybe you get distracted or just don’t get around to it. Maybe the business of life gets in the way. Believe me when I say, there’s no judgment here. I’ve done it too.
So how do we become more faithful in keeping our prayer promises? Here are a few ideas I’ve come across over the years. While they may not be new to you, hopefully revisiting them will be helpful.
- Pray with the person on the spot. If you’re in a place where that works and your friend is comfortable with it, pray away.
- Pray right after the encounter. Pray as you move to your next place or pause and pray.
- Pray whenever you think of them. If they come to mind, stop and pray. I often look at those moments as God nudges.
- Put their names on your phone calendar and pray for them at specific times. You could even set notifications to remind you. If it works better for you, use a hard copy calendar.
- Keep a prayer journal. List for whom and for what to pray. Bonus tip: Keep track of the ways in which you observe God at work through your prayers.
- Use a lists/notes phone app. Refer to it daily.
- Use sticky notes. Write prayer reminders on index cards or post-it notes and put them in places where you’ll see them-–bathroom mirror, refrigerator, car interior, closet door, nightstand, laptop, etc.
- Make a prayer jar. Write each prayer request on a slip of paper and place it in the jar. Pull one out each morning, night or whatever time works best for you. Bonus tip: Resurrection coffee mugs work great for this!
And remember, prayer is your opportunity to have regular conversations with God. You can do it anywhere and anytime. You don’t have to assume a certain posture or close your eyes or pray in a certain way. So, in the words of the old Nike slogan, “Just do it.” You’ll be glad you did.