As Christians, we frequently end our conversations with a phrase something like “I’ll be praying for you.” This is especially true if the conversation was about a difficult situation that the person is going through.
Prayer is a very good thing to do. I have no objections to people praying for each other.
Sometimes, though, I think that this offer to pray for people has become nothing more than a ‘Christianese’ way to end a conversation, just like “See ya” or “Let’s do lunch sometime.” I am definitely including myself here. There have been way too many times that I have assured someone that I will be praying for them, but then I forget.
Dr. David Overholt, professor, author, and founding pastor of the Church on the Rock in Toronto, said in an interview on 100 Huntley Street this morning that at his church they have instituted a practice called Stop, Drop, and Pray. This means that instead of telling a hurting person that you will pray for them, and then going back to what you were doing, you need to stop, drop what you were doing, and pray while the person is still with you. It doesn’t need to be a long, fancy prayer, and you don’t need to know all of the intimate details of the person’s problem. God already knows all of our problems better than we do. God just says to pray.
Pastor Mark Hughes of the Church of the Rock in Winnipeg, said in a sermon that sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers because we never did get around to praying. Ouch! I have done that.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing. Obviously we can’t be on our knees with our hands folded and our eyes closed all day. There is a time for that, but not while driving or operating dangerous equipment. I really like the expression Stop, Drop, and Pray. Alone, or with others, we can be sending little Twitter-like prayers all day long, whenever someone who needs prayer comes to mind. We can save the Facebook-like prayers for a time that we set aside (hopefully daily, I remind myself along with you).
Let’s not use ‘I’ll be praying for you’ as just a way of signalling that the conversation is over. Let’s stop, drop, and pray at least as often as you update your Facebook and/or Twitter status.
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