NOTE: most of this post was originally shared in 2008, but as I read through it years, it was obvious that I needed to hear this truth again. Thought you might as well.
Several years ago I was convicted by God and convinced that I needed to change the way I pray for people, and this change has spread to the way I do ministry and lead others in ministry.
We often hear Christians say, "I'm praying for you", but the words have lost their meaning. The phrase at times has become literally empty words. It’s a nice thing to say, yet there is no action whatsoever.
What did I do? I began to pray for people on the spot. Take their hand. Grab their shoulder, and stand right there or on the phone and pray. This makes a difference.
When we pray for people and they know we mean we business, things will change. It might be us that changes. It might be the person we pray for that changes.
I have several friends who are in need of God showing up and working in their lives. Yes, that is my desire or my thinking. I believe that God has a plan for each and every person. Some of those people God has called me to be part of their lives. It could be connecting us by our prayers or even by other actions such as serving them or sharing our testimony.
There is something special that happens when we take the time to “stop and pray” for the people we encounter who are in need. Here are some ways we are to pray for others:
James 5:16 nlt
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith.
So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.
Colossians 1:11 nlt
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,
Romans 15:13 nlt
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
There are many verses like those that call us to pray for our friends, loved ones and others. It is facts that if we will slow down, get quiet and listen, that God will give us what to pray. Remember that in John 17 Jesus prayed for us and in Ephesians Paul showed us how to pray for others. Just do it.
Stop and pray. Pray for a friend. Pray for others. It will make a huge difference for others AND in how you look at things. It will also remind each of us to let God work. Life is all about Him any way. Spend some time praying for and praying with the people around you today.