"I'll pray for you."
We've heard it numerous times. An almost overused statement in the church. A go-to when we aren't sure what to say, especially if someone is sharing some sort of difficulty or tragedy. There's nothing necessarily wrong with the statement at all. By all means, it has great intentions. We are simply trying to say, "I'm sorry. I want to let you know I'm thinking of you in this moment." And giving that sort of comfort to another is perfectly fine.
The problem is, most prayers go unsaid or are totally forgotten about. The phrase stays as just that: a phrase without any action. I only know this is true because I've done this more often than I'd ever like to admit as a Youth Minister.
It's somewhat logical since we as a species are inherently wired to think about ourselves first. We are busy people with busy lives with our own collection of problems to deal with. We have to look out for ourselves first. But it's more logical to realize that we can help others out if we actually went through with what we said we were going to do and pray. There's an old school way to actually start praying and make a difference in another's lives (besides being present with those people who need it).
Write down prayers.
Followers of Christ believe prayer changes things. There is an understanding that by closing our eyes and bowing our heads, we are giving all power and authority to the One above. And we are simply conversing and acknowledging that He can do anything. He can do anything for anyone-ourselves and others. So then by writing down those things people bring to our attention, it's only right to take time to remember them.
If you have a photographic memory and never get caught up in the hectic schedule of life, then good for you. You probably never forget to pray for those people. But chances are, you're like the rest of us and you are a forgetful human being.
So start writing them down on your phone, in a notebook, on a piece of scrap paper, or whatever it is, and see lives affected because of it. Their's and your's.
I have been doing this consistently on a phone and then in a notebook for the past 35 days or so and it's been eye-opening.
God has done some major healing through that process for those I've been praying for and on top of that, He has brought me forth to see that He will indeed change things.
Certain students' who's needed prayer for difficult home situations have slowly but surely been coming to healing. Friends who were hoping for a job that they knew they weren't qualified for, yet somehow getting it. A pastor who wasn't sure if they'd have enough money to install the renovations in a church (which is more like a small-town community center that needed a/c) and somehow they had double than what they predicted.
I believe in it so much, that I plan on going on Facebook and Instagram once or twice a week just to ask for prayer requests and see if anyone is in need of any prayer. Doesn't matter if I get one response or 100 because God is present in prayer.
He answers with things on our own heart. He responds when we pray for others in their specific situations.
If you think you don't have enough time or are too busy, start small. Try 3-5 prayers for people a week. Or focus on one person besides yourself and your family a day. You have the power to make an impact because you are bringing things to the One who makes an impact.
May you do the simple act of keeping a prayer list for others. Write them down. And actually pray.
And may you make a difference by going to the God who makes a difference.