Pray without ceasing.
These words flood through my mind every time I find myself overwhelmed in life. There’s so much for me to worry about – myself, my husband, family, friends, dreams, the future, and so on. Yet, even though in my mind I believe I have much to worry about, the Lord constantly reminds us in His Word that we are, in fact, not to worry. He has us safely in His hands and everything is under His control.
I love the fact that even though everything is in His control, He instructs us to pray without ceasing – to pray about everything instead of being anxious about everything and to trust that He hears our prayers. I think it helps us to release these cares deep within our hearts more than we realize. He doesn’t say sit in our anxiety and hope He knows what’s going on – He says to pray.
I don’t know about you, but the ones I love bear the biggest weight on my heart when it comes to worry. I worry about their life, their relationships, their choices, their health, their faith, etc. Because God has entrusted them to me and expanded my life through the blessing they are, I find myself feeling responsible to pray for them – to fight in the battle of spiritual warfare on their behalf. It’s a blessing to be able to take my concern for them straight to Jesus, because it’s the one thing I can control. I can’t control their choices, their thoughts, their feelings or their beliefs. What I can do is get to my secret place and pray for them because I know God hears me, and that is enough.
So what does this look like?
Praying for those we love can be intimidating at first, as there are so many areas we feel the need to cover most of the time. Instead of worrying about doing it right, I believe we should make sure that our hearts are in the right place.
1. We need to remove the distractions around us so we can be fully present in our prayers. There’s an assurance that sweeps over us when we know we gave our all in our prayer time. Sincerity and reverence in the presence of God should always be a priority. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be authentic before Him, but honoring Him by removing ourselves from the tasks and concerns of the world for just a moment makes a huge impact on our prayer life. Find your secret place and make it a point to meet Jesus there.
2. We need to be open to pray about what the Holy Spirit prompts us to pray about. Things I usually pray for when it comes to loved ones are peace, protection, wisdom, clarity and discernment. Although this is a lot of what usually needs to be prayed for, sometimes the Holy Spirit puts it on my heart to pray for a specific aspect of an individual’s life – their purity, their thought life, for God’s will to take place rather than their own and even for them to receive prophetic dreams or visions. We cannot get so wrapped up in our own agenda while praying because we may miss what we really need to be praying for in that moment. I also find that after praying this way, I know how to encourage my people more efficiently, as the Holy Spirit revealed things in that prayer time.
3. We need to be willing to sacrifice ourselves for them. I have been blessed – blessed – by the people who have been obedient to pray for me when God put me on their heart. One of my friends in particular has had to get up in the middle of the night to pray for me on more than one occasion, as the Holy Spirit put it on her heart to do so. This is no little thing. Sacrificing ourselves, whether that be with the amount of time spent praying or the time of day praying, is a huge way to say “I love you” to our closest people. We tend to be so selfish, but this act of surrender is not only beautiful – it is powerful. Why do you think that breakthrough, healing and answers come so often through fasting? It’s the act of sacrifice. God is acquainted with it very well and it touches His heart.
These three ways to making sure our hearts are right in our prayer life are so important, but the most important aspect of praying for those we love is simple – go through with your “I’ll pray for you”.
It’s no good to say these four words when you never actually do them. Pray for those in your life. It doesn’t have to be elaborate – just show up. You really don’t even need to tell them you are praying for them in the first place, but rather just make it a habit to do so. However, it is encouraging when you can send a text or grab a coffee with a loved one and affirm them that they are being prayed over by you. Regardless of if you tell them you are praying for them or not, commit to doing so. Get to your secret place, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what they really need specific prayer over in their lives and make yourself available. It is a gift that touches their lives in a unique way – a way that no materialistic gift ever could.
The next time you begin to worry about your loved ones – don’t. Pause, pray and repeat. Trust me, it’s enough.