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July 12, 2016

The Right Time to Pray

I was just scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and came across another prayer request. I see these often: “Please pray for my grandparent, child, parent, friend, etc.” I feel empathy, click “Like” and leave a comment about how they will...

The Right Time to Pray

I was just scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and came across another prayer request. I see these often: “Please pray for my grandparent, child, parent, friend, etc.” I feel empathy, click “Like” and leave a comment about how they will be in my prayers.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but if I’m honest—brutally honest with you all—there are some times where that’s the extent of what I do with the request. My mind is running 24/7 and within seconds, it has moved on to something else, never having prayed for that person. I can’t help but think I’m not alone in this. We have the best of intentions, but the reality is that sometimes, that prayer never gets prayed.

I want to be better than that—not just for the recipients of the prayers I promise, but also for myself and the person that I want to be.

 I want to be better about praying for an acquaintance on Facebook or praying for my family. Better at thanking God for all He’s given me or just connecting with Him to guide me. But the truth is that there’s a long list of things that gets between prayer and me.

I’m busy. I’m tired. I’m distracted. I forget. The list of reasons (excuses) goes on and on.

But the reality is that prayer is like anything else in life: It’s as important as you make it. The good news is that prayer is also as easy as you want it to be. It doesn’t take long and it doesn’t have to be fancy. You don’t have to plan it out, bow your head, fold your hands, stop your world, or say the “right” things.

Prayer is simply talking to God. You can do it while you’re doing something else or sitting still. You can say it out loud or in your head. You can pray with someone or alone. You can say a lot of things or nothing at all. Sometimes I have prayed the prayer, “God, I don’t know what to say.” When we realize how simple and easy it really is, there’s no reason that we can’t say a prayer every time say we will.

 I’ve been thinking about this recently and really trying to work on it. Then the other day, I was talking with a friend of mine who admitted that she, too, is guilty of prayer forgetfulness. She told me about a time when she forgot to say a prayer for a friend from church who was about to go through surgery. After getting word that the operation was over, she realized she forgot to pray and immediately felt guilty.

Her seven-year-old son was with her at the time, and she told him how badly she felt. In all his seven years of wisdom, the little boy replied, “Say the prayer now. God knew you would.”

I’m not sure if her son had ever read Matthew 6:8, but he was right, because it says, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

We can all make more of an effort to talk to God more often. But when we do slip up, get busy, or forget, remember that God knows your heart.

I love what my Pastor Pete Wilson says: “Sometimes the most amazing thing that is happening in prayer is not what is happening to your circumstance, but what is happening to you.”

God doesn’t need us to pray. When we pray, He gives us what we need.

Related article: What I remembered when I forgot to pray.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

“Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12

All verses taken from NIV.

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Leave a Comment

  1. Tracy says:

    I am guilty of prayer forgetfulness too. So, I started a cute little prayer journal – I found a pretty notebook and some pens. I put a line down the middle of the page. On the left side I write my prayer and on the right side, I enter God’s answer (once I have it!) Not only does it help me to avoid being forgetful in my prayer but it also helps me see that, in God’s time, all prayers are answered.

  2. Yvonna says:

    I struggle with the list of people I feel the need to pray for and fear I’ll forget someone and with praying for specific things for each one. My list grows and I don’t always get finished due to the length of my list. I know there has to be a better way that doesn’t involve an hour of telling God what I believe to be what each person needs. It’s exhausting if I’m being honest. It’s not that I don’t want to do it but it seems to be more and more stressful instead of peaceful time with God.

  3. Ruth says:

    One way to not forgot is to lift up that prayer right when you hear it or read it – that helps me to be able to keep my word! Sometimes, I will tell someone “I will pray for you today”. then pray several times that day.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on a common thing we stress about!