What to Pray When you Say you Will


July 16, 2014 by Beth Hess

candlehandsWe mean well. I know we do. When we hear hard news — Disease. Death. Broken hearts. Battered families.

The circumstances of life hit those we care for below the belt, and we say we will pray. But what should we say?

I certainly am not suggesting there is any magic formula for prayer. There are thousands of ways to humble our hearts and bring our petitions to the God of grace. The God who tells us to Ask. Seek. Knock. The God who calls himself “Abba” — Daddy — as a reminder to climb into his lap with our worries.

But when The Holy Spirit brings people to my mind and invites me to escort them to the throne, these are some of the words I often find most helpful.

Nearness. God can feel far away when our hearts are hurting. Pray that your friend will not feel this distance. That God will, instead, feel very, very close. That He would make himself known again and again. That even if we question His plans, we cannot deny His presence. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Psalm 34:18)

Clearness. Often hard times call for hard decisions to be made. And it can be confusing. Pray for clarity of God’s will. Or, as I often shorthand it, “God, please be loud in her head.” May the path be clear. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”  (Isaiah 30:21)

Boldness. It can be scary to ask for the big thing. For the complete healing. For the total restoration. For the seemingly impossible. For the miracle. But scripture promises we have the right to ask. That, in fact, we have the tools at our disposal to make it happen. “Then Jesus told them, ‘I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, “May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,” and it will happen.'” (Matthew 21:21)

Stillness. So many times, the things that drive us to our knees reveal our weaknesses. Our lack of control. Our complete inability to make the things happen the way we wish they could happen. Often the best we can do is wait. To stop fighting the battering waves and float. And this means stillness. Pray, then, for true release. For peace. For God to take over and to provide supernatural rest. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

What a privilege it is to pray for one another. May these themes help guide your heart and your words during these seasons.

Please use the comments section below to add your own thoughts and tips on how to support others in prayer.


Linking up with #ThreeWordWednesday friends. Link on the photo below to read more.


4 thoughts on “What to Pray When you Say you Will

  1. JoyMartell says:

    Beth, these suggestions are so helpful and are just what I’ve been needing. I belong to some Bible classes full of prayer warriors and we always have a long list of prayer needs. Thanks!


    • Beth Hess says:

      I’m glad you found it helpful, Joy. Sometimes I even just run through the words: Nearness. Clearness. Boldness. Stillness. and whisper them again and again. I know He hears. So glad you stopped by.


  2. Beth Hess says:

    Prayer is one of the most intimidating forms of communication. Until you think about as chatting with a dear friend. Which, of course, He is.


  3. Simply Beth says:

    I always appreciate posts with a focus on prayer because it’s still something I struggle with. I don’t fully know why other than to say I need to stop thinking there is some magical formula and feeling as though I’m doing it all wrong. I like the simple steps you outlined. Thanks, Beth. I appreciate you!! Blessings. xoxo


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