Praying For You: Does it Mean Anything?

March 12, 2011 § 21 Comments

Facebook status: “My last ultrasound showed my baby was small, next test scheduled on Tuesday.”

I commented: “Praying for you.”

Facebook status: “My husband is going on his 50th job interview over the last nine months. Pray he gets this one.”

Many comment: “Praying”

The question is what does “praying for you” really mean? Do we really pray right then as we send our comment into cyberspace? Are we adding these people to our prayer lists (if we have them)? Or are we holding up our Christian card and keeping up appearances?


Or is it possible that “praying for you” is only another way of saying “hugs” or “thinking about you?” It is a comfort term rather than something we are actually doing? Does that term make us sound good and holy when we are not even bringing the concern to the Throne of Grace? Have we gotten too comfortable with praying that we don’t even realize we are addressing the God who created all things, the all-powerful One?

I admit it is easy to say, “praying for you,” and not really mean it. I pray that I never say/write it without actually praying for that person right then…Most often when I say/write it I mean I have prayed for you and as God brings you to mind I will pray for you again. I am not a list maker or a prayer journal-er. I sometimes aspire to be, but it is not the way I am wired.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, most of my prayer time is the “pray continually” kind. As I am wiping noses, observing children, washing dishes, driving, I am praying. So I have my mental list and my mental list may not be as “good” as it used to be. I am becoming more and more forgetful. Ok I admitted it, I like to blame it on my kids. I mean I have more brain cells dedicated to different people now than ever before…My point is that I may only “pray” for a situation rather than truly “praying.” Does the comment “praying for you” hold water when I only pray once?

I know what I think, but I want to know what you think.

What do you mean when you say/write, “praying for you?” What do you think others mean when they say/write, “praying for you?”

Jump in and join the discussion… And thank you Justin Voris for the idea that prompted this post!

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§ 21 Responses to Praying For You: Does it Mean Anything?

  • Kim says:

    Although I didn’t comment when I first read this post, I wanted to come back and let you know that this post has made me do a “stop and think.” I will admit although I try and stop to pray immediately when I say that I will pray for you, but in reality, sometimes I haven’t always done this. Thank you!

    • Kim, I am glad this post makes you stop and think. I want that for me and for us all. That all we do we think about it for God’s glory! Isn’t that what God intended when He created us for community? To cause each other to stop and think.

  • Amanda Miller says:

    Great topic! I have often wondered the same thing. I know that I, myself, do stop & say a quick prayer right then & there, and often times throughout the day as that person pops into my thoughts again. I’m like you, Angela, whereas I pray all throughout the day as I do dishes, drive in the car, make dinner, walk around the neighborhood, etc.. not a set time with a prayer list. I hope and pray that the people who do say they are praying for me are just as sincere as I am with my words, but I don’t fully rely on their prayers before going to God directly myself..it’s just nice to know I have someone else that cares & shows concern 🙂

  • Jessica says:

    When I was pregnant with triplets and diagnosed with congestive heart failure I used to get these blue sheets of paper from my church. They listed all the people that were praying for me and every time I got one I thought “man, I really hope this paper is real.” Ya know? Because you wonder – when people say they are praying – are they just being polite, thoughtful, or are they storming the throne-room for you. Since those blue sheets, I never take those words lightly. And I always make sure that if I say “I’m praying” that I at least stop right at that moment and pray immediately. B/C if I don’t, I might forget moving forward.

  • Tracy Nunes says:

    Angela, I love this series you are doing. I’ve been saying thinking the exact thing so the Holy Spirit is pushing in on a theme here. Amen and amen to all you said in your post.

  • Daniel Mackey says:

    Pray now and pray often. I have to pray right away when I say “Praying for you.” I also make sure I don’t just say “Praying for you,” and then not do it.

  • I have wondered the same thing, and asked myself the same questions. So now, in the spirit of honesty, I usually reply with, “Saying a prayer for you right now.” Then I stop and pray. And I continue with my day. If the need comes to mind again I lift it up again. And of course, there are a few things that make it onto my prayer list, but those are not necessarily my “facebook friends.”

  • mkwhipple says:

    I have done this and thought the same thing. So, I too put my head down and pray right then. Recently, I have seen a lot of responses to status requests in the from of a prayer. Instead of commenting with “praying” they comment with a short prayer speaking to this situation. I have to admit that sure lets someone know that you did pray.

  • D2 says:

    I’m in a similar boat in that I do not maintain a prayer journal or prayer list (maybe I should start). So when I say “Praying for you”, I pray for them right there and then. Sometimes, a situation in my life will remind me to pray for them again, in which case I’m usually prompted to follow up on what happened.

    Although, I do admit covering myself a lot of times by often praying, “Lord, please remember the prayers I have already forgotten.”

    • Thanks for sharing Daniel. I don’t know if a list is necessary. I think those who keep them find joy in discovering answered prayers. Do you think others expect more than a one time prayer when you say “praying for you?”

      • D2 says:

        Miss Angela, I believe it depends on the nature of the situation. Something like cancer or pregnancy would seem to be more amenable to several prayers.

        On the other hand, a big test or a romantic breakup seems more like a one time deal, at least to me.

  • Jonathan says:

    I’m with you. I try to pray right then, and probably again if it’s brought to mind, but I don’t keep a list or journal.

    In a lot of ways, the commenting about a status/problem is to be a comfort, and hopefully to inspire trust. God will be faithful whether I pray for their need or not, but if I can encourage someone to trust Him, then I’ve done a good thing.

    • Jonathan,
      If I canencourage someone to switch their gaze to heaven I think that is good. I just Never want to say it without actually praying. Nor do I want someone thinking I am praying for them over and over if I am not. Thanks for your comment.

  • Assaad says:

    Well I believe that we should keep PUSH-ing (Praying Until Something Happens :D)

    • Ideally I agree but is it possible or even expected to “PUSH” for that many people or is it ok just to pray once and again as God brings it to mind? I seriously don’t think I could PUSH for all the prayer requests I find on Facebook much less know about in person or on the news. I guess that is why we pray continually. Thanks for joining in!

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