How many times have you heard or spoken these phrases: "You are in my thoughts and prayers." or "Thanks for letting me know--I will be praying for you." Maybe you’re more familiar with the praying hands emoji that often gets flashed across a phone screen.
Hopefully, the giver of these words (or symbol) is backing them up with ACTIONS, instead of just a perfunctory response to a difficult social situation.
I don’t make this bold statement as a judgment of anyone’s heart, but rather for a personal internal assessment.
Stop and think . . . If I say those phrases mentioned above, do I actually follow through with prayers, instead of just giving an automatic polite expression in the moment?
Praying is not just a saying.
I share this with you today because I used to be guilty of this. Even with a loving heart, I know that quite often I delivered those lines--but did not follow through with prayers. I had no intentions of deceiving the receiver, but life gets busy, and sometimes I just simply forgot to pray for that situation.
"Praying" means to repeatedly say prayers for a particular request. The -ING suffix suggests a continuous devotion to a topic . . . my action of prayer should be ongoing.
Recently God has inspired me with a prayer practice that helps me to remember the people I agree to pray for. I hope it helps you as well:)
Assign a NAME to your PAIN.
Most of us have periodic aches or unrelenting health concerns. Instead of focusing on my ailments, I associate a prayer request with my problems. Each time I experience discomfort, it's a physical trigger to remind me to pray for others.
We all have varying degrees, locations, and frequency of pain. Here are my top three:
When my right knee bothers me - I pray for a woman in my church who is experiencing infertility and longs to become pregnant.
When my left hip is acting up - I dedicate prayers to a family member who suffers from chronic illness.
When my left shoulder hurts - I pray for a certain individual who continuously hurts me. Yes, even those we struggle to like deserve our prayers. “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:44 NLT)
Delegate each health problem you are experiencing to powerful persistent prayers for someone else:
Annoying body aches? Pick a person to pray for every time that spot causes you discomfort.
Do you take a daily prescription? Say a dedicated prayer for a particular situation every time you pop that pill.
Constantly on hold for medical insurance/billing questions, or in a doctor’s office for an appointment? Select someone that you want to pray for while you wait to connect with the receptionist or doctor.
Think about the first aid symbol . . . a red cross . . . it's a perfect reminder!!!
Can you imagine how much prayer (and answered requests) could take place if we all used our medical concerns to generate prayers? This is one way to embrace pain with joy. I have learned to be thankful for my injuries because they remind me to pray specifically for others.
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT)
When pain has a purpose, it gives meaning to life!
Speaking of PURPOSE . . . My book, Purpose Through Perspective, is finally available for purchase! (With correct perforations) If you are interested, check it out on the website:)