3 tips to help you remember to pray for others.
Posted in , Sep 16, 2015
Has this ever happened to you? Someone’s reached out and told you of a desperate need and you’ve promised to pray. “You’re in my prayers,” you said. In fact, they probably shared with you because they know you’re a praying person. You prayed then and there. But a couple of days went by, weeks perhaps, and you forgot to pray again.
A month or two or three or 10 months later, you get an email from them or from their best friend, thanking you for your prayers. It’s all good news, you discover. The latest report from the oncologist shows no lingering sign of cancer or the marriage that seemed headed for divorce has weathered another year or the job that was desperately sought has been found. “So grateful for your prayers,” you read.
With guilt and regret you fidget in your chair and your hands hover over the keyboard because you’re tempted to type, full of apology, in all caps: “BUT…BUT…BUT…I FORGOT TO PRAY.”
Does this sound at all familiar? I wish I could say it never happened to me, but it has. Over a year ago a dear friend asked me to pray for a woman who’d had a lung transplant, a huge surgery, and was going through a long grueling recovery. Yes, yes, I did pray for the woman.
But then other needs, other requests were made, and as good as I try to be at scribbling prayer requests down on a yellow Post-It note so I won’t forget, the Post-It notes pile up and new Post-It notes get scribbled down, and sometimes I can’t even read my handwriting.
So when an email came announcing good news I was pleased. “She’s so grateful for your prayers,” I was told. “It means the world to her.” I cringed at that. I hardly deserved any credit. My hands hovered over the keyboard, yearning to write something apologetic.
Then I thought, “WAIT A MINUTE. God is the one who deserves the credit here.” Praise God. “I’m thrilled for her,” I wrote, trying my best to sound gracious. And gracious is just the right word with grace at the heart of it, God’s grace, God’s forgiving grace.
In the meanwhile, here is my note to self, just to do better–when a prayer request comes, do three things:
1) Pray then and there.
Pray over the phone, pray in an email, pray in a journal, pray silently to yourself. But pray then and there.
2) Write it down.
Write things down not just to remember them but because the writing itself is prayer. It’s very satisfying to go back and look at those names. Sometimes you discover a prayer has been answered without your fussing over it.
3) Trust God to remember what you forget.
God’s in charge here. That’s what it’s all about. That was what the first and second and 20th prayers were all about, reminders that God is taking care of what is too big for us to do.
Good thing that God doesn’t forget!