Hang around Christian circles long enough and you’re bound to hear someone say “I’ll pray for you.” It’s words that are often uttered with very good intentions, and I’m afraid are also frequently accompanied with a lack of follow-through. It has become the godly thing to say when someone is faced with a situation or affliction which we are ill-equipped to assist with. Offering prayer has become routine rather than responsive. It’s become commonplace instead of being a commitment.
Some people have recognized the blitheness by which we often offer to pray and mitigate their response. They say things like “I’ll try to remember to pray” or “I’ll pray if I think of it.” By couching their response in less unequivocal terms they do well to not bind themselves to a commitment they may be unwilling to fulfill. However, it seems this equivocation is not the answer. For I’m convinced that if we truly recognize the privilege it is to pray for someone our response would be one of gracious gratitude not obligation.
Prayer, after all, is the way we communicate with God. Through Christ’s sacrifice, we’re able to talk to the Creator. Praying for someone means not only do we get the joy of conversing with our Father, but we are joining alongside Him in the work He is doing in that person’s life. Praying for another is our way of ministering – not only to them – but in interceding with God for the work He is accomplishing in their lives. Prayer then becomes a privilege and I”m convinced that the more we recognized this, the more earnestly we would pray on other’s behalves.
For most of us, we will never have the opportunity to advocate our position to the president, or present our plea before a head of state, but for Christians, we have the joy of asking for someone else’s good from the Ruler of the Universe. May we not foolishly minimize the great responsibility and the great privilege that this opportunity is.