At the recent hymn sing at my church, I took my turn as song leader. The song “For You I Am Praying” was called out. That’s an unusual song for a hymn sing I thought. In fact, I’m not even sure if ever led it before or looked closely at the words.
I realized the incredible message in the song as we were singing. The writer, Samuel O. Cluff, obviously understood the impact those words have when said to another person. While technically the verses of the song are a prayer for an unbeliever to receive God’s salvation, the song in general is a beautiful message of loving care for another – a loving care that is evidenced in prayer.
Has someone ever told you “I am praying for you?” From a sincere heart, those words are extremely powerful. They are capable of empowering, convicting, encouraging, and healing.
James 5:13-18 is a fascinating and relevant passage:
“Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”
Is how much and how fervently you pray a sign of how much you care?
There is a young man about my age who has left our church. My friends and I have talked about it from time to time, remarking how pathetic his rebellious actions are and how miserable he seems. We simply don’t understand why he acts that way
One day my friend humbly told me that he has been praying for this brother. He said he has sat up at night weeping in prayer for him! I felt guilty. I hadn’t done that.
What’s the point? He’s obviously chosen a lifestyle of pleasure. His back is on God.
No, my friend has chosen to believe God when he said, “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” His belief in that verse is quite the challenge to the way I face prayer.
Does that young man make his own choices? Yes. Will I be surprised if this prayer is answered? No.
The chorus of the song I mentioned doesn’t say four times, “I am talking about you.” No, actually it says four times, “For you I am praying.”
What good can talking about a problem do? Nothing.
What good can praying about a problem do? Everything.
“I am praying for you.” Pat someone on the back with those words. Tell your Sunday School teacher those words. Text those words to that struggling young person. Email those words to that crazy blogger. Write those words in a simple note. End a conversation with those words.
Pray. Then go tell someone you are praying. If it has ever been done to you, you know how much it helps.