Recently, I have found myself keenly aware of the struggles that many of my friends, colleagues, and congregants are going through. Many are experiencing deep valleys in their lives. I don’t think that this recent spike is actually a spike at all. I have found that this Lent God has been making me more aware of people’s struggles. Now, I believe that I am a fairly observant and perceptive person but recently I believe that God has led me to moments of divinely inspired vision. Regardless of the situation it seems that often the only true and reasonable response I can come up with is that, “I will pray for you.” I have found myself adding a new addition to that response in recent days. Following the standard “I will pray for you ” I have added, “no really I will.”
I think I have been doing this additional reassurance for two reasons. First and foremost I don’t think people actually believe that those who say “I will pray for you” really mean it. How often in your life have you escaped an uncomfortable situation with a trite promise to pray? I know I have personally used this as a salve to cover the sense of inability to do anything “real.” I have also added the positive affirmation in order to elevate my commitment to follow through. By adding a “promise” of action I have felt that my commitment is elevated beyond a mere comforting gesture.
In most situations our friends are experiencing, we are impotent to do anything to truly effect the situation. Of course our desire and our wish is that we could wave a magic wand and have the challenges that are before those we love disappear. This is where making our promise to pray become ultimately important and powerful. When the lives of our friends and even our own lives are beyond our ability to control or change we must depend on the power of God to transform.
As I consider this reality I was drawn to once again share “Prayer for a Friend” by Casting Crowns with you. I believe that this song reflects the multifaceted reality of prayer in our lives. When we pray we not only bring those we are praying for to God but we also experience our own transformation in the Spirit. I invite you to listen to this song a few times with one of the following principles guiding your hearing each time.
- Listen with someone you know is struggling in mind
- Listen with your desire to love the world and display the love of God and power of Christ.
- Listen with your heart tuned to what God is saying to you through the words.
- Listen with your heart tuned to what God is saying through the musical content.