I visited with someone the other day that I had not seen in a while. We talked about how things were going and they were excited about the fact that this year was better than last year. The prior year had been tough where they work. They started a new job with a new boss and it was difficult but they felt like they were turning the corner. They mentioned a couple of issues they had been working on and how they looked forward to continuing to do well and finish the year strong. I encouraged them and let them know that I would pray for them. I did pray for them later that day. As I prayed, I was impressed to send them some resources that had been helpful to me on some issues they had mentioned; things that I thought might help them finish the year strong. I also offered to meet with them regularly and see how things were progressing.
I said all that to say this, it is great to pray for people. We are strongest and stand tallest when we are on our knees. It is there in submission and in faith that we can lift people and their needs up to the Lord. But we need to know that we are often falling short of God’s best and God’s will if we JUST pray. In Mark 6:36-37, it was the end of a long day and Jesus had been teaching the multitudes. The disciples recognizing the day was late and that the people were hungry came to Jesus and asked Him to send the people away to the surrounding towns to get something to eat. They were going to simply send the needy away by letting Jesus handle it. The Lord surprised His disciples that day by telling them, “You feed them.”
I submit to you that if we are not careful we can fall into the same trap with our prayers that the disciples did at the end of that long, tiring day. We can learn of a need and it can be easy to say I will pray for you and it can become just a means of sending someone away and letting Jesus handle it. The truth is sometimes when we tell someone we will pray for them that we never even get on our knees and pray. And sometimes when we do get on our knees and pray, we never get back up on our feet and help. I am afraid that there have been many times when I have prayed and thought my part was over and done but my Lord has said to me as He did to the disciples, “You feed them. You meet their need.”
In regard to my friend I prayed, “Lord help them to finish strong. Help them to know how to write better file notes. Help them to know how to start and end phone conversations with customers in a way that meets their company’s expectations.” I prayed that the Lord would help them; that He would feed them in all those things and the Lord said, “You feed them.” Who are you praying for? Keep praying and don’t stop, for the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous individual availeth much. No, don’t ever stop praying. And don’t ever think that the meager resources that you have cannot make a difference. The same Lord who took five loaves and two fish and fed a multitude can work through you…if you pray and when you are done, get up off your knees, get to your feet and put your prayers to work.