“I’ll be prayin’ for ya!”

Image from PossAbilities Prayer Team

Image from PossAbilities Prayer Team

As I scroll down my Facebook newsfeed I notice a friend announce her mother is in the hospital.  Another friend has just been in a car accident.  My first thoughts are of sympathy and I can’t help but want to chime in with the other well-wishers and offer my support.  

What can I do? How can I help?  Reality check: I’m on Facebook, and they’re across the country.  So, like many others I simply write, “I’m praying for you and your family.”

I used to be a terrible meddler, always inserting myself into other people’s personal lives in an attempt to “help” or “fix” their problems.  Partly I truly wanted to help, partly I wanted to feel important.

When I was 20, my father died and I received countless business cards from well-meaning folks who’d say things like, “If you ever need anything, just give me a call.” …ya, right.  SO not happening.   Thanks, but no thanks.  Unless you can bring my dad back from the grave, just put your card in the box with the others.  Although these people weren’t “meddling” they weren’t helping either.

As an adult I now simply offer condolences where I can to  show I care.  Prayer is powerful, and it’s beautiful.   When you pray intentionally and with conviction, beautiful things happen.

But how can we pray for someone who doesn’t know they need help?

How can we pray for someone who is blocking out the world and keeping their problems inside?  How do we respond when we read a simple, “Pray for me” or “Prayers for my family please.”

Maybe something like:

“Dear God, please watch over the ______family.”

I don’t know about you, but I believe God is always watching over us, so asking for that seems redundant and empty.

Here are 3 things you can pray for someone (without meddling) no matter what is going on in their life:

1. Pray for Peace

Regardless of the trouble in our lives, peace in the middle of a torrential down pour can grace us with much needed clarity.  When the world is going 100 mph in every direction and everything around us sounds like static television, peace is what we need.  Praying for peace will put a warm blanket of calm over whoever we are praying for.

2. Pray for Wisdom

Troublesome times bring endless doubts and questions.  We often find ourselves asking, “Why did this happen?” “God, give me the answers I need.”    Wisdom is defined as the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment.  Many times all we are seeking is direction.  What should I do? How do I cope?  Endless questions.  Sometimes the answers just aren’t there. Wisdom offers answers such as “Just wait.” “Have faith.” “Persevere.” Wisdom comes from God.  God offered Solomon anything he wanted.  Solomon asked for wisom.

2 Chronicles 1:11:God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth,possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. “

3. Pray for Patience

Waiting for answers is tough.  Waiting for anything is tough.  In today’s culture of instant gratification, 4G smartphones, Free Wi-Fi, and social media, waiting is not something we practice.  Sometimes, the only answer we get is to wait (which can feel  like no answer at all.)  Other times, we don’t like the answer we get, and we need patience so we don’t get frustrated.


One other thing: Don’t say you’re gonna pray for someone if you are just trying to sound supportive.  If you promise to pray for someone, write it in a prayer journal, or write down a reminder on your night stand.  No empty prayer promises. We’ve all promised well wishes or prayers to someone without following through. Let’s pray intentionally for others, or don’t promise at all.

Can I pray for you this weekend? I’d love to hear what is going on in your life!
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22 thoughts on ““I’ll be prayin’ for ya!”

  1. As a Gnostic I believe that meditating raises our vibrational frequency and has the power to heal. I’m not religious and don’t pray to another man, real or not, but perhaps what you call prayer is what I call meditation? I believe there is a mass human Consciousness field that is effected by meditation. Many don’t know how to do it (it’s not hard) and many say “I’ll pray for you” b/c they don’t know what else to say and maybe they don’t even really try after saying it, but it makes a difference.

    • Thank you for sharing. I really appreciate people who comment even when they have different beliefs. I enjoy meditating as well, although I imagine we have a different meaning for meditate as well. Have a blessed wknd!

  2. I have 2 go-to prayers to add to your excellent list above which I have used over the years when I’m not sure how/what to pray:

    1. More grace. Everyone needs more grace (me more than most). Grace is not just forgiveness, it is the power to live right, love right, and the powerful love of God for us. We don’t just need to understand grace, we need to experience it (giving it, receiving it, drowning in it).

    2. The next step. I’m reminded often that although I can see a person’s actions, I really have no clue where their heart is. I think that’s what Jesus meant when He cautioned us not to judge. We don’t really know our own motives half the time, how can we POSSIBLY figure out someone else’s? A “safe” prayer to pray is to ask God to take that person the next step in their journey with Him. He certainly knows right where they are and is looking to do that anyway. I don’t think one can pray a prayer that is anymore in line with God’s will than that.

    By the way, I wish I could turn off my inner editor, but it doesn’t seem possible … you have one typo in your post:

    “As an adult I now simply offer condolences where I can to show I care. Pray is powerful, and it’s beautiful.”

    I think you meant to type “prayer is powerful” or “to pray is powerful”… 🙂

    Thanks for this post – it is a great reminder of our true power in the lives of others!
    God bless,

    P.S. Confession: I would never pray for someone to have patience. 😉 Although I do pray for people to learn to rest – and that’s tied to grace in my mind. Resting in Jesus’ finished work is a great place to be.

  3. Your self-description of “helping others” rather than allowing them to grieve or, more importantly, praying, fits me to a tee. I felt incredible release when I read in Romans 8:26 “In the same way the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans. The one who searches hearts knows how the Spirit thinks, because he pleads for the saints, consistent with God’s will.”
    We pray and He translates directly to our Heavenly Father.

  4. Loved your article on prayer: peace, wisdom, patience are the 3 things I pray most for people. And those platitudes, I can do without though admittedly I have been guilty there. Thanks for liking my blog.

  5. I will hope, rather than pray, for your friend’s mother’s recovery, but I believe the effect is the same. The power of positive thinking maybe nebulous but still can provide much comfort to those in need, knowing others care.

  6. I pray for hope and faith also. Because sometimes I think those things give us what we need to have that peace, patience, and wisdom. But ultimately, I think God is sovereign and knows our hearts when we pray and what that person’s needs are. So no matter what word we put on it, He knows that person is needing Him and needing Him badly, and that we’re asking that they would experience Him through that time.
    And if I were to confess something super ugly, I’ll admit that the hardest part for me is when I log onto Facebook after a hard day, and I see so many prayer requests. There are many times when I want that interaction and fellowship but other times it can feel really emotionally overwhelming if I’m going through a hard time myself. In those cases sometimes all I can say to God is, “We need you.” and trust that His grace is enough for all of us.
    Thanks for sharing this!

  7. I haven’t visited your blog in awhile, and for some reason TODAY (GOD directed, I am sure), i clicked over and very glad I did! I notice this was posted 8 months ago, so hope all is well in your world.

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