In Christian circles, it’s not uncommon that when someone shares a tough situation that’s happening in their life, that the person they are conversing with replies “I will pray for you.” Or an individual in need will tell their friends “I have a prayer request” and will then reveal whatever is causing their need. In both cases, one person often assents to pray for another and yet that agreement is only a passing commitment, as they quickly go upon their merry way and forget the promised prayer.
Recently, I’ve been convicted that sometimes we’re even more passive in our prayer lives with the people who we are closest with. Perhaps it’s because we feel that we already know what’s going on in their lives, and so we don’t bother to ask. Or perhaps it is because it makes us feel uncomfortable to ask our spouse, our sibling, our child or our best friend on a regular basis how we can be praying for them. We may offer general prayers on their behalf, but how often to we stop to discover what God is teaching them, how He is refining them and how we can be encouraging them with prayer to respond rightly to Him? How often do we know specific areas that they are struggling with and for which they desire prayerful intercession? Do we, in other words, pray for them with purpose or do we pray with passive intent?
I’m convinced that if we more regularly and intentionally lifted up those we loved to God, that God would use those purposeful prayers to accomplish much for His kingdom. And I’m convinced that our relationships would enjoy a richness that they most likely currently lack, for we would be interceding on their behalf to the Maker and their Savior. We wouldn’t be praying in general terms for God’s will for their lives (which is good), but we would be asking for His help in specific areas where they are struggling. We would be bringing them to His throne with focused intent We would be asking for Christ’s presence to be manifest in their lives, where they are in need of it most.
What could be more purposeful than that?