Monday, February 25, 2008

PRAYER - Links, Forwards & Real Prayer

A big part of our Christian walk is praying for one another. We are instructed to "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. " James 5:16 KJV


"Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with." James 5:16 The Message

I have to confess that I had been a Christian for years, 19 in fact, when one day I suddenly realized, or maybe it was confessed, that I truly did not know or understand the first thing about prayer. Oh, I had prayed during those 19 years but I knew there was something much deeper than what I was experiencing and I wanted that "something".

I began the simplest way I knew how at the time, simply repeating, very slowly, the Lord's Prayer. Taking each part "Our Father" and analysing it......what did it mean that He was "Our Father"? Was He my Father? What made him my Father?, etc., etc. Then I began to read and study on prayer in great detail. It was 13 years later when I found the book ARTHUR MURRAY on Prayer. It was at this point that I began to get a grasp on what true intercessory prayer was all about.

I have become aware, or maybe the correct word would be burdened, lately that I think we Christians are a little to loose and flippant with quickly saying, "I'll pray for you." "I'll pray about that." The question is, do we? Or do the words just fly off our lips and we never seem to get around to the praying part. I know I have been guilty of that. Again, several years ago I was grieved when I realized this was what I was doing some of the time. Not truly taking the responsibility of the seriousness of the words of my mouth and putting them into action.

The other thing I've noticed lately is it seems someone will hear about a need that needs prayer and instead of immediately beginning to pray about that situation themselves be more concerned with "spreading the word" or getting others and telling them to pray. When the Lord places on us a need for Prayer on a particular thing shouldn't our first, and most important, response be to pray?

Please don't misunderstand me.....I am all for prayer chains, that various groups set up, etc., but I believe God has to be calling us first, and foremost, to pray and interceed ourselves.

This was not an easy post to write and I really don't know how to end it......but I know that God has laid this issue strong on my heart so I am being obedient. May we be faithful to His call upon our lives to pray.

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Karen said...

This was a great post Susan! On a slightly different tack, I was reading a post entitled "For those that pray" the other day - basically it was asking for those who are called to pray to pray for some situation or other. Well my view has always been that we are ALL called to pray, not just those who are Intercessory pray-ers. I remember a dear mentor of mine would tell us "Pray it before you say it", a time to share for prayer (which fits in with passing things on), who to share with - first get down to prayer. When I say I am praying for someone I do mean it, and do it (although I confess I sometimes fall asleep during my prayers). I love your heart and I love that you got me reflecting and thinking deeply.

Anonymous said...

Susan, you are so right! I learned long ago to pray right on the spot or write it in a journal as not to forget.

I have to admit that I have caught some people off guard by grabbing their hands and praying right in the moment. It is a great habit to form. God hears his people when they pray.

I still fall very short and have to confess my sin of forgetfulness at times, but I will continue to work hard on the interceeding.

Missy said...

Good words, Susan. I will take them to heart.

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

Susan- Very good thoughts and a hard topic. I used to be very guilty of saying those very words: "I'll say a prayer for you." and then not do it. Sounded really good, huh? But now, if I say I'll pray, I do. I keep a little notebook with me at all times. And, instead of listening to the radio on my drive to and from work, I go down the list and I pray. It's been wonderful and such a blessing.

Musicaljean said...

Great reminder, Susan!! When I say I'll pray for someone here in Blogland, I try to stop and pray immediately. I also "breathe" or whisper prayers for people all day long as they come to my mind. I feel horrible when I realized I've said I'll pray for someone during a difficult experience, a surgery, or whatever, only to realize afterward that I never thought of them one time. I need to keep my thoughts tuned in to the Holy Spirit.

Tammy said...

So true, Susan! And sometimes when I come across a prayer request, I feel guilty if I say I'm going to pray but sometimes I actually try to pray then and there.

It's All Good! said...

Thanks Susan for your thoughts. I needed to be reminded to always be sincere and be one who follows thru.

Kathleen Marie said...

In my Faith Lifts post I write about Travailing Prayer. You might find it interesting.

This is such a great post because so many are like you were - didn't have a clue.

Thanks so much! Hugs!

Anonymous said...

Susan, you say:

"I truly did not know or understand the first thing about prayer. Oh, I had prayed during those 19 years but"

If you prayed during those 19 years, then I believe that you understood prayer. You understood whatever you needed to understand for those 19 years. When you came to that realization that you "didn't understand the first thing about prayer", it wasn't that you were so clueless per say- it was probably just that you were at a point in your life which you needed more. And, you got it from that book. So, all was well.

You also say-
"we Christians are a little to loose and flippant with quickly saying, "I'll pray for you." "I'll pray about that." The question is, do we? Or do the words just fly off our lips and we never seem to get around to the praying part"

I think that if someone tells someone else that they will pray about something, and then don't do it for whatever reason, as long as they were being *sincere*, then it's ok. In fact, God heard that come off of their lips, and the exchange in and of itself may have been a prayer.
What I don't like is when "I'll pray for you" becomes condescending. Like, if someone thinks that someone else is messed up, and they say "I'll pray for you" in place of "You are really messed up." The tone and context says it all.

The Olson's said...

Some time ago I too realized that I was telling people I would pray for them and then not following through. Since then, I have tried to only commit to praying if I know I will. I don't always succeed, but am getting better.

I agree with Karen - that we are ALL called to pray, not just those with the gift of intercession.

For me, I don't often have (or take) the time to pray seriously. I want to - it just doesn't always happen. But I have noticed that I am praying consistently throughout the day. Lately though, as I have been getting closer to Jesus, I have had a stronger urge to spend quiet, serious time with Him. It's exciting!

Thank you for sharing!
~ Leanne

Larissa said...

I never thought about that, but it's sooo true, and I admit I have been guilty of that on several occasions. It's not something you should say without meaning it. I guess if you're not going to do it, then don't say it...or just do what you say you will. Thanks for the honesty, sometimes we just need to hear the things that we don't want to!

diana said...

i have had some of these same thoughts. some time ago, i wanted to be sincere when i said 'i will pray for you.' so i make it a point to say a prayer right then and there when i say those words. i try to pray again at some point, but at least i have already lifted up a prayer. it's easy enough to do when i say it here in blogland, harder when you're face to face with someone.

and about the same time i realized i was using our church prayer list as a way to keep updated on what was happening to people. that's not what it is for and so i set forth the discipline of praying for each and every prayer request a i read them, whether i knew the person or not.

great post and one that needs to convict people in their motives and practice of using a discipline that should be taken seriously.

annie said...

I agree with you completely Susan! I want to be more bold and when someone shares a need say, "let's pray right now." I don't always do that!

Jenileigh said...

Susan this was a great post! One that I have thought about often. Thank-you for sharing what the Lord has laid on your heart!

I think I have my pictures fixed now. I have the hardest time with picasa. I'm trying to learn to upload images directly from my pictures. The problem was that I didn't know how to flip them. I think I figured that out tonight! Yay! Heehee

God bless you!

Nancy said...

Susan, I love your honesty and it shows how sincere you are to help us all as believers to stay on track in being obedient to our Lord. We are to pray without ceasing about everything & for all needs. Thanks you


Dear Susan, Great post. Prayer is such a priviledge as well as a responsibility. I am so thankful that I can talk to the Lord in prayer and be assured that He hears and will answer my prayers. I have learned when a thought of someone comes to my mind or I awake from sleep at night with someone on my mind, I quickly say a prayer for them. I have no idea what they might be going through or the need that they might have but I do not believe in accidents. If God place the thought in my mind then I will not ignore it. Thank you, my friend for the post. love to you. connie from Texas

Thanks for praying for my Jim.

Muum said...

You are right, it is easy to say, 'I'll pray for you' and then forget to do it. I think we all have good intentions; I know my follow-thru is not as good as it should be. Life has taught me that everyone has a need of some type or another. It has been a great blessing in my life to have friends and family to care about, pray over, and have them care and pray for me as well. good post.

Barbara said...

You are so right, prayer can become so flippant, doing what someone asks rather than upset them.
We are told to pray without ceasing. How can this be? Our life becomes a prayer whether we are speaking out or not. We seek the Father's heart and then can pray that thing into being.

groovyoldlady said...

I try VERY hard not just say "I'll pray for you". Its not always comfortable, but I try instead to say, "Let's pray right now." then we pause in our conversation and I pray right then. For email and internetty requests I pray for the ones the Lord lays on my heart immediately. Then, if they require ongoing prayer I put a sticky note on my monitor and lift them up before I hit the ON button in the morning.

I do slip up on occasion, but immediate prayer is what I aim for.

Brandy said...

Thank you so much for stopping by my page and praying for Erin! I recieved a comment about the little girl and the lady said that her parents were in her sisters sunday school class. She gave me a web site that you can go to and it updated every day. Erin does seem to be doing better, but she still has a long way to go, so we still need to keep her in our prayers! Here is the website and I will also post it on my blog! Bless you!

Daughter of the King said...

Amen to all you said Susan. You know though sometimes I know somehow in my heart, who will truly pray for something or something on my heart. I am often careful who I ask to pray.
in blogland the Lord has brought to mind, many of the requests I have read and then I take them to the Lord.
I would like to get more organized though on the prayer needs of my blogging friends so I will not forget them.

Momma Roar said...

This is such a great post and has had me thinking a lot since I read it yesterday. Thank you!


Nadine said...

Over the years I've stopped and said a prayer immediately. Reason being I don't want to forget and it blesses the person to do at the time. Nice post Susan...good reminders.

TJ said...

I have to often said "I'll pray for you" and then not done so. Now if I say it, I immediately say a prayer. That way if I forget to pray it again, I know that I did talk to God about it, and He knows that I'm way too forgetful, and can remind me at another time to talk to Him about it again.

Mountain Mama said...

I'm glad you brought this up Susan. I think we Christians have all been guilty of some of these things.
I have done the same as you concerning prayer, analyzing it for understanding. It's amazing the wonderful things the Lord shows us when we take the time to show an interest.
I had an issue with the true meaning of prayer and faith not long ago and received a much better understanding through the Lord's grace. Prayer without faith is like a feather in the wind. It may be pretty but it has no destination. We need to truly understand the love, mercy and power He has in our lives and keep our focus on Him, not the problem.
Again thanks for the great post.

MammyT said...

Susan, you are right on the target.
It is immediate prayer that gets the job done. I don't say,"I will pray for you," but you will hear me say, "I have prayed for you," or "I will continue to pray for you." That means I have put you on my prayer list. I keep my prayer list updated and on my calender, refreshed for each week. It is a book that I carry everywhere with me. Just because you are on my weekly prayer list doesn't mean I pray for you EVERY day, though. Sometimes I just do certain ones that I feel the Lord has "laid on my heart".
As for prayer chains, we MUST call the person next on our list, PRAY WITH THEM for the need, and then they call the person next on the list and PRAY WITH THEM for the need. Everyone gets a chance to be the "pray-er" and everyone gets a chance to be the "agree-er". That's the way we work it and I think it is a good way. Thank you so much for addressing this. You are a wonderful woman of God.

Yellow Rose Arbor said...

I try not to promise any prayers without following through and I try to pray immediately upon hearing a need. Sometimes it gets to be a little overwhelming with the world getting worse and so many hurting people. There are so many people to pray for - our family, our close friends, our church members, and now we are making more friends through these blogs, and the majority of them are Christians who want prayer! Even if they don't profess being a Christian, they still need prayer!

One prayer I have daily, more than once, is for Holy Spirit to bring to my mind people who need to be prayed for. I live a fairly quiet life and this works for me. It may not work for young mothers with children and lots of distractions.

Very good post!


Diane @ A Watered Garden said...

Thanks for sharing from your heart Susan...great post! I too am working on praying IMMEDIATELY when I hear of a need or request. Thank you for your words of encouragement.