Okay, so the title might be a bit misleading. I am not going to stop saying, "I will pray for you" ever again, but I am going to try to say it less and do more.
I mean I know I am not alone here. If someone post on FB a need or hurt in their lives and we say, "I will pray for you."
If you are like me you either :
1. stop what you are doing and immediately say a quick prayer.
2. Add them to a mental prayer list and hope that their status comes up in your feed later when you are less busy so you can pray then.
Or 3. Simply forget to pray completely for them after you have said you would. Too bad I am not catholic cuz I sure could use some "hail Mary's" for how many times I have done that one.
Don't get me wrong prayer is VERY important, powerful and life-changing. I am writing this as my infant son, who I believe is here directly as a result of tons of prayers from some of you and myself, lays napping next to me. Read my FB, I obviously pray and believe in prayers and think they are very important. Heck, my cousin's 6 month old son is recovering from open heart today and needs tons of prayers and I have pleaded for them from my FB praying family, because what a better platform for prayer request.
But while it is fine and GOOD to pray for one another as Christians, isn't that a given. When someone reaches us out to us, shouldn't we be the hands and feet of Christ and not just the often empty words.
Let me give you an example. My mom is deceased and I don't want to throw her under the bus but I think she changed so much as she came closer to her death bed that she would appreciate me telling this.
My mom was a super mom. Like really incredible mom of 8 kids, had a horrible case of Rheumatoid Arthritis that left her in excruciating pain most of her life but still did it all seemingly seamlessly, including make all 3 meals a day by scratch, homeschooling us kids and most of our life nannied for other children full time. Enough said.
When I was in younger another woman in our church reached out to my mom and asked for help on how she seemed to have it all together. My mom's response was to push it off in embarrassment.
My brother said, "mom, you should go to her and help her! That is what she asking!"
My mom's response back was, "Oh I can't help her. I will pray for her."
But my brother was right! Yes, my mom was right to pray for her, but what she needed and what could have answered HER prayers was to HELP her. My mom could help her. While she saw it as embarrassment to be seen as a mom who had it together when she thought she didn't, that vulnerability would have been very helpful to this other mom in crisis.
I mean it's silly if we think about it right? If we were in a boat drowning and looked at person in the big ship and said "HELP!" We want them to throw a life-jacket, not scream back to us, "I will pray for you!"
Well, friends I am here to tell you, your friends are screaming HELP! Some of these of friends may even be atheist. Saying, I will pray for you when you can do tangible things that actually help them isn't being Christ like. In fact, it feels a bit like a cop-out.
Okay, I said I was praying for you, you know I care.
Think of how loving that really is, especially to someone who doesn't believe there is anyone out there actually listening to your prayers. I am not saying to not pray, but what I am saying is to DO!
We tend to talk and quote verses and do a lot of rhetoric as Christians. But when you read the bible, there isn't that much in red when you really think about it. Maybe, I am reading my bible incorrectly, but I just don't see the verse where people struggling with sin and life are met with I will pray for you. Of course, he does go to God on our behalf, but his tangible ACTIONS are how we see that HE is the son of GOD!
If we are striving to be like sons and daughters of God, then I urge you to think differently the next time someone says I am having a bad day. Instead of I am praying for you, maybe ask why their day bad. Or maybe buy them lunch. Or send them a card. Yes, we can even do this over FB for people we have never met in real life. I say this as someone who has recipient of such love over the last 3 years. In fact, this blog post was inspired by others who have taught me when someone's mom dies you GO to the funeral. YES, even if you didn't know her mom. And when someone says, they aren't feeling well you have pizza hut delivered to their door for the kids and husband that are feeling well. Simple things like just inboxing a friend a word of encouragement when they post publicly a struggle can CHANGE LIVES PEOPLE!
My pastor said something Sunday that keeps resonating this week, Paul would be ashamed of us for being Sunday to Sunday Christians. You know what I mean. You come to church and then you say see you next Sunday, have a nice week. Or maybe see you Wednesday if you are a really good Christian. Yes, I know life is different 2000+ years later. We all can't walk the road to Damascus and check on our brothern everyday. But, in some ways it's easier. We all have text and FB and tons of ways to communicate and regularly encourage and love on each other as a COMMUNITY OF CHRIST.
I am rambling now but my point is maybe, just maybe I can do MORE than pray next time. I know I am going to try.