“I’ll be praying for you.”
I say this a lot. I believe prayer to be wonderful and powerful, allowing me to converse with God anywhere and anytime. It’s an incredible gift that deepens my relationship with my Savior, has a tangible impact on the world around me, and has the power to bring comfort to the people around me who are desperate for divine intervention.
I, um, also say it when I don’t know what else to say.
Many times this is okay – I’m not expected to have all the answers or solve anyone’s problems. But sometimes I say it when I get uncomfortable and want to end the conversation. And then I mean to pray for them, but then life gets in the way and I just don’t. And it’s behavior like this that makes the powerful words, “I’ll be praying for you” seem trite and devoid of the power it could have.
Am I alone in this? I don’t think so. I think we get overwhelmed by the number of people in our lives that need prayer. We get overwhelmed by the magnitude of their problems. We start doubting, “Could God really do this?” or “What if what I’m praying for them doesn’t happen? Does that mean I’ve failed or they’ll think God failed?” Or maybe we think, “How can I possibly pray for all these people? I’ll be praying all.the.time.”
How do we keep this powerful phrase, “I’ll be praying for you” alive with meaning and a tangible help in times of trouble without becoming overwhelmed? How can we use it not as a conversation stopper, but as a conversation starter with the Savior?
5 Ways to Ensure You Pray for Your Friends
- Pray with her on the spot. I know. Asking someone, “Can I pray for you right now?” and then actually proceeding to pray out loud can seem super scary. But know this: Words have power, the Holy Spirit can supply the words for you to say, and you don’t have to go on and on. You might just take your friend’s hand and say something like this: “Jesus, my friend is in pain. We ask you to come and comfort her, give her wisdom, and show her You are with her always. Amen.” Praying over the phone can be just as powerful.
- Pray for her virtually. All the time in my Facebook feed, I see people hurting. Some are asking for prayers. I know that I love these people. I know I want to pray for them. But I also know that it is beyond my capacity right now to pray for each one in my prayer time every day. Oftentimes, I will write a few sentences of prayer in the comment box on their status. They know I prayed and they know what I prayed. If someone emails you asking for prayer, you can reply with your actual prayer instead of just a simple, “Praying!”
- Don’t be afraid to pray for more than she asks. When we are in pain and suffering, we often don’t know what we really need. Often the extent of our prayer is something like, “Make it stop!” or “Help me!” This is why God created us to live in community. We need the wisdom and discernment of our friends to bring us hope when we’re in the hard places. We need them to pray for all the things we simply cannot realize we need.
- Pray when you’re prompted. It’s impossible to know all the time when your friends need prayers. But the Holy Spirit knows exactly what we need. If you’re driving in the car and your friend comes to mind, turn your thoughts to praying for her instead of trying to figure out why she’s on your heart.
- Send a text. Do you know your friend is struggling and you wish you could fill a box with hope and send it to her? You can. There are so many bible verses that communicate light and hope. Send her some scripture and let God speak to her heart. Maybe even personalize it with her name. Here are some of the ones I love:
- “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” (Hebrews 10:23)
- “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
- “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
- “God is our refuge an strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
Prayer is one of the strongest weapons we have to defeat darkness and overcome trials and trouble. It is our connection, our access, to the Savior who longs for us to bring us all our worries and anxieties to Him. Let’s not let our overwhelm and busyness get in the way of truly supporting our sisters through crises. Let’s let the words, “I’ll be praying” hold much weight and worth.