“I’ll pray for you…”

“I’ll pray for you…”

Those are words I have heard many times and have said myself at least as many times. They are good words, expected words. They are words intended to encourage and strengthen those in need. They are compassionate words. Not occasionally, they are even condescending, passive-aggressive words.

It is good to say we will pray, even better when we actually do. But how should we pray for someone? That is, beyond the obvious “get a job”, “feel better”, “guide the doctors”, “meet their needs”, kind of prayers.

What do people truly need in times of difficulty? James chapter 1 provides some answers for those going through various trials and gives very specific requests that we can make on behalf of those we find in need.

1) James 1:5 — Wisdom
Those who are hurting need wisdom. On the surface this seems obvious. The question is though, wisdom regarding what? Too often when we are experiencing significant trials of any sort we search for an understanding of “Why?”. Why has this painful, frustrating, exhausting circumstance been allowed into my life and why hasn’t it been dealt with yet? As a general rule (though not exclusively), I don’t believe that is what James means. What is more important is wisdom on how to live while in the midst of trials. How should those suffering respond to their present difficulty is one of the most important pleas we can make to God on their behalf. THAT takes wisdom. Wisdom that only God can provide. If I prayed that prayer more for people, I would probably be less likely to offer my own, unsolicited opinion on that subject.

2) James 1:12 — Perseverance
This is one that challenges even the most mature amongst us. Pain, whether mental, emotional, or physical is exhausting. The temptation is strong to throw in the towel and give up. Give up trying. Give up hope. To give up and just quit. It takes faith to persevere, to keep going and trust the goodness of God to provide and sustain. A prayer for perseverance is one of the most powerful prayers we can muster.

3) James 1:13-20 — Not to become bitter at God
Trials that wear on and seem to have no end tempt us to doubt God. They tempt us to doubt His love and His ability to care for us. Trials also tempt us to blame God for how we are responding and to accuse Him of harm to us. It takes a real work of the Spirit and a steadfast faith to not become bitter. Such needs to be our prayer.

4) James 1:21 — Humility
Finally, a most critical component for those in the midst of seemingly endless trials is humility. Genuine humility is required for the suffering soul to not begin thinking they don’t deserve what they have been handed in life. It takes authentic humility to accept (and submit to) what the Word says: God is sovereign, we are His creation, and He will use us as He sees fit to accomplish His purposes which are always good and holy. Humility is required for us to admit that we can’t see all ends and just because we can’t fathom how our situation is “good”, that doesn’t mean that it is not.

Let us mean it when we say, “I’ll pray for you.” Let us actually go to God in prayer and let us pray specifically for those who need us to bear their burdens with them.

1 thought on ““I’ll pray for you…”

  1. Debbie Haatix

    I’m thankful for God’s promises…you have been such an inspiration and great strength in Life’s challenges and trials..blessings!



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