[Editor's Note: Kelley Mathews joined FaithVillage as Christian Living Editor in September 2011].
My name has come up before God quite a lot these past few weeks, more than usual, I imagine. In this case, it’s a good thing.
Why have people been praying for me (and telling me about it) lately? Because I investigated a job description, started an interview process, and ultimately accepted an editorial position with FaithVillage.
In the process, I changed my professional direction and my family’s life rhythm. In short, Mommy isn’t home anymore.
I spent the last 11 years enjoying an ever-growing family and freelance business. Working from home has its perks, let me tell ya! Negotiable wardrobe requirements, flexible hours, and constant availability for slobbery baby kisses rank among the top motivations to stay home while I pursue my writing career. And let’s not minimize the appeal of grocery shopping at non-peak hours or supporting the local coffee shop with a friend.
But then two writer friends sent me the job description and said, “You’d be perfect for this!” Initially I followed up on it thinking perhaps I could do the job remotely. When it became clear that editing for FaithVillage was a fulltime gig, the praying started.
I was touched by all the friends who told me they would pray for me. Notes that meant even more said “Just prayed for you” or “Praying right now.” These let me know that their words were not just a well-meaning response to my situation but involved actual time and thought and effort on my behalf.
Christians can throw around the phrase “I’ll pray for you” or “Pray for me!” in a casual manner. So often we use it to mean “Good luck,” or “I hope things work out,” or “Please support me emotionally.” But prayer is more than positive thinking. It is a conversation with God.
Seriously, think about who it is you are talking to when you pray! He’s not your buddy next door. He’s not your bro, or your sista, or your dude. “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col. 3:17).
When I hear the words “I’m praying for you” or “I said a prayer for you” my heart is warmed and I feel loved. When I’m really on my game, I am also humbled. Not only are people moving on my behalf, but I can also be confident that God is listening to them. Proverbs 15:29b assures me, “He hears the prayer of the righteous.” And Philippians 4:6 encourages me, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Because being prayed for is such a privilege, I’ve learned to be judicious when responding to friends’ situations. I don’t always tell them “I’ll pray for you” unless I know that I will actually do so. And it helps when I have the time to pray right away, at that moment. (Anyone else hate that guilty feeling when someone thanks you for praying and you think, “Oops!”?)
Have you ever been guilty of promising to pray for someone but neglecting to do it? Do you find yourself being overly casual with God, forgetting his majesty in favor of his grace? How have the prayers of your friends influenced you?