Monday, May 2, 2011

Following Through on Prayer Promises

By Julie Gillies

Have you ever promised to pray for someone and then completely forgotten about it? I have. I'm not only frustrated by my failure to pray, I'm embarrassed - especially when I run into my friend later.

The truth is we need each other's prayers. Yet, from the moment we wake up until we drop into bed at day's end, we're busy . . . with our children, household chores, errands - the list never ends.

So, how do we make good on the promise to pray for someone? Here are some strategies I've developed to help me back up my words with action.

  • Write it down. If you don't have a prayer list, make one. Then place it where you'll see it regularly: inside your Bible, next to your bed, or, if necessary, tape it to your bathroom mirror.
  • Ask God to remind you. He will. Expect to be reminded while you're busy doing something else. Determine to pray on the spot for your friend, just as soon as you receive the prompting. If you must, excuse yourself to the restroom for a few minutes.
  • Schedule it in your planner/iTouch/Blackberry/Daytimer. As in: Monday, 9:30 a.m. - pray for Angela.
  • Stay in touch with your friend. E-mail her or drop a pretty note card in the mail reminding her that you're praying. Ask how things are going so you can pray specifically. This not only encourages your friend, it keeps you accountable while you pray her through.
  • Remember, it's okay to pray for someone for a limited time. You can tell your friend, "I'll pray for you this week." I regularly modify my prayer list, crossing off one person and adding another as God leads and situations change. This way I don't have an unrealistic, never-ending prayer list.
  • If you don't feel like you can manage to pray regularly for her right now, don't make the offer. You can always pray with her just once on the phone, over lunch, or whenever else you get together. Better one sincere prayer together than a promise you probably won't keep.

The prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective (see James 5:16), but only if we actually pray them. With these simple strategies and God's help, we can follow through on our prayer promises. And we’ll have the blessing of knowing our prayers are a blessing in another’s life.

Julie Gillies trained in intercessory prayer for five years. Over 90 of her articles have appeared in various publications, and she is a contributing writer to the books Daily Devotions for Writers and Penned from the Heart. Julie is the Critique Groups Coordinator for Proverbs 31 Ministries and serves on the editorial team for P31 Woman magazine. Julie is founder of Word Chicks, a prayer ministry for women who write and/or speak. Visit her website at: