It seems almost like an automatic response when someone asks for prayers: “I’m praying for you” or “prayers”. How easy is it to comment or tweet those words or how many times do we use the praying hands emoji yet forget to use our own hands and voice in prayer for the individuals or situation. We have good intentions, don’t get me wrong. We tell someone we are praying for them and intend to do so, but we forget or get busy. There is so much more that we can do to minister to others and to be a light to the world. Christ tells us to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13) and a light in the darkness. (Matthew 5:14)
One of the most effective ways I have found to ensure I minister to others and to remember their prayer intentions is to keep a prayer list. I have a written prayer list that includes all the individuals and needs I must remember to pray for during the day. It’s nothing fancy. It is just a small, compact sized notebook that I keep with me and write down the prayer needs of individuals as I find out about them, or someone asks for prayers. I also make it a point to stop what I am doing the minute someone asks me for prayers and to pray at that moment. I include the need on my list to ensure I continue to pray for those needs in the following days, weeks, and even months (depending on the need).
I also find it helpful to not only tell the person that you are praying for them, but to also give them a short encouragement from Scripture. When paired with “I’m praying for you,” the encouragement lets the person know you ‘see them’ as more than just someone on social media asking for prayer. You ‘see them’ as an individual. You ‘see them’ as important and valued. If we are to be the light in such a dark world, then we must do more for people than just giving them an emoji or “I’m praying for you”.
If you can type out a prayer (some social media platforms have character limits), then seeing the prayer and words you pray for a person is such a powerful tool. It fuels that individual and provides them with hope and encouragement. On a social media platform, it is the closest you can get to praying in person with an individual. People desire to be loved, acknowledged, valued, and ‘seen’. If we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus, the salt of the earth, and the light of the world, then we must do more than hitting an emoji.
Do not misunderstand me. There is power in prayer. Prayer can move mountains and change lives. We must, however, develop ways we can ensure we are praying for those asking for prayer. An emoji is easy. Intercessory prayer is demanding.