I’ve said those words. You’ve no doubt spoken that line. And most Christians have probably uttered the phrase at least once.
And that’s good!
Prayer is a sacred responsibility and we should always be on the look-out for people to pray for and things to pray about.
But there’s a catch. It cannot be a hollow greeting or a polite gesture of affection.
Jesus says NO to using prayer to score “spiritual points.”
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites! They love to stand up and pray in the houses of worship and on the street corners, so that everyone will see them…” Matthew 6:5
Here are just a few reasons why telling someone “I will pray for you” can be dangerous:
- They may not believe we will actually do it.
- Most people can spot “phony faith” in an instant.
- It can sound a lot like: “I’m right and you’re wrong.”
- It is hard to say it without sounding condescending.
Falling into this trap is easy, but so is the fix:
Don’t say it unless you will do it! Connect with God immediately.
We do not need to drop to our knees and pray for 10 minutes in every case. “On-the-fly” situations in real-time call for our immediate prayer. These “walking prayers” can be short–God does not have a minimum word count requirement to hear a prayer—but it must be sincere.
For me, instead of saying “I will pray for you,” I strive to actually pray for them and then say, “I just prayed for you.” The past tense is more believable and much more powerful. Give it a try.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Will you pray on the spot the next time you make that promise?
“I have not stopped giving thanks to God for you. I remember you in my prayers.” Ephesians 1:16