Instead of 'Pay It Forward,' 'Pray It Forward'

As you are the beneficiary of prayers from others, why not offer yours freely to three more people?

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Posted in , Jun 4, 2018

Pray it forward

The 2000 film Pay It Forward starred Haley Joel Osment as 12-year-old Trevor McKinney who launched a “pay it forward” movement. That’s when a person who receives a kindness is encouraged to show major kindness to three others—paying it “forward” rather than paying it back. The movie, and the book on which it was based, became quite successful, and the phrase “pay it forward” became an oft-repeated and -imitated part of our cultural lexicon.

Maybe you have used the phrase. Maybe you have even paid something “forward” after someone did you a favor or showed kindness to you. But have you ever applied the “pay it forward” principle to prayer?

How often have you requested prayer—for a family member, job interview, ailment or discouraging circumstance? How many times has someone prayed for you? How many people have mentioned your name when talking to God? You’re grateful for such kindness, of course. You have probably even thanked those who have supported you in prayer. But why not pray it forward?

For example, suppose you ask for prayer concerning a financial challenge you’re facing. A friend responds and pledges his prayers. After you say “thank you,” why not pause for a moment and pray for three other people who are dealing with financial challenges? Or, if none come to mind, you might pray for specific situations: the homeless, the jobless and people who are struggling with the challenges of living on a fixed and limited income.     

Or, say, a chaplain visits your hospital bed to pray for healing. After thanking her for praying, why not ask if the two of you can pray together for three other people who you know need God’s healing power?

Once you’ve done it a few times, it can become habit-forming. And life-changing, as the smile of God graces not only the prayers people say for you, but also the threefold harvest those prayers reap for others in the world around you.

So try it. Pray it forward, and multiply every prayer you receive times three! 

"If we can get Guideposts inspirational stories into the hands of people who may not have a devotional life, they can share the true-life stories of how God works in the world. The joy of Guideposts is their free, donated magazines to my hospital.         --Rob C.,  Director of Pastoral Care.

Tags: Prayer,Healing
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