Don’t Say It Unless You Mean It

A few years ago, a sister in Christ asked me if I would pray for her. I can’t remember exactly what was happening in her life, but I said I would. A few weeks later as I was walking into the building for worship services, she came to me and said, “Did you pray for me?” Sadly, I responded by saying, “No. I forgot to pray.” Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this?

“I will pray for you.”

Prayer is powerful because we serve a powerful God. Prayer is essential for Christians. I think the mere idea of knowing others are praying for you is comforting and encouraging. Which is why it’s important that when we say we are going to pray, we actually pray. We find throughout the scriptures where the apostle Paul petitioned the brethren to pray for him. In Colossians 4:2-4, Paul said, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”

Paul desired prayers from his brethren. In Ephesians 6:18-20, Paul said, “…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints– and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

I’m sure the disciples followed through on those prayers. When it comes to praying for one another, we should strive to do the same. I’m learning I need to ensure I follow through with what I say I’m going to do. Below are some simple things to know and do so we can ensure we pray for one another.

1. Remember that God listens. When we truly grasp the fact that God hears our prayers, is attentive to our cries, and will move on our behalf, then we will have a desire to pray like never before. Nehemiah recognized this, Nehemiah 1:1-11. Understanding this will help us to follow through when it comes to prayer.

2. Pray immediately. When the sister asked me to pray for her, I should have stopped everything at that very moment and prayed. Whether it was a silent prayer or a verbal prayer, hitting the pause button and praying immediately is a great thing to do. If you can do it with the person making the request, that’s even better.

3. Have a prayer list. I know some Christians have something like this where they will write down what it is they need to pray about. I think that’s great. It’s a way to avoid forgetting someone who is in need.

4. Carve out time to pray. Like anything else, we need to be intentional when it comes to prayer. It needs to a part of our daily routine. It needs to be something we expect to do daily. Maybe it’s first thing in the morning, Mark 1:35. Maybe it’s a set time in the middle of the day, Luke 5:16. Whenever it is, try to be consistent when it comes to praying. Someone is going to ask you to pray for them. Be sure to follow through.   

God’s Wish

The apostle Peter wrote to Christians who were standing firm in the grace of God. They were suffering various trials. Peter reminded them what they had already learned from the apostles, 2 Peter 3:1-2. As he spoke about mockers that would come, he spoke about the patience of God in verse 9. He said, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

The promises of God will come to pass. One day He will return. We don’t know the day or the hour, but it will happen. He will return like a thief in the night, 2 Peter 3:10. What an amazing day that will be for those who are in Jesus Christ! We will be with our Savior for eternity. However, it will be a sad day for those who have rejected Jesus. For those who decided not to follow Him, it will be a bad day.

Yet God is patient. As Peter said, God doesn’t desire for anyone to be lost. That is good news! Many in the world don’t have a good understanding of God. Many believe He is a mean God who wants people to spend eternity in hell. That is not the case. Read 2 Peter 3:9 again. Peter said: “Not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” God’s wish is that no one will perish, but rather come to repentance and serve Him! The God of the Bible is one who loves all men. We know that because He sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins, John 3:16. God is love, 1 John 4:8. All men have an opportunity to be with Him in heaven. Throughout the scriptures, we have seen the patience of God.

  1. In the book of Jonah and other books of prophecy, we see the patience of God. He gave wicked Nineveh an opportunity to repent, In Jonah 3:10 it says, “When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.” Those in Nineveh were given a second chance. They repented. God is patient.
  2. God is still patient. He has sent His Son, so we could be saved from our sins.  We have His words preserved for us, so we can know Him and His will. The gospel continues to be proclaimed throughout the world, so men can be saved. God is patient. He desires all men to be saved. He desires all men to repent.

Let us never abuse the patience of God. Let us not take for the granted the opportunities He gives us to repent. Let us continue to talk to others about Jesus. Why? Because God’s wish is that none will perish. Ultimately, people have to make a decision to follow Him.  For some people, it may take a long time. Like God, we will have to be patient. We must continue to pray. We must continue to shine our lights. We must continue to help. This is God’s wish. Let’s make it our wish as well.

Strong Enough to be Her Man

Are you “strong enough to be her man?”  No matter who the “her” is…whether it is mother, sister, daughter, wife…you are strong enough to be her man with God as your foundation and His blessings filling your heart.  His grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, hope will produce peace that will be just what is needed in the best and worst of times in our relationships with women.

Peace is not the absence of war, trials or tribulations.  Having peace does not mean that the women we love are not going to disappoint us, hurt us or lose their way.  Peace does not mean that our women are not going to be hurt, have challenges, or be without distractions.  Peace is not circumstantial but rather a state of being.  Peace is the presence of God; the tranquility and serenity within the individual who is in a right relationship with God.

Read Paul’s words in Philippians 4:6-7.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Find peace with God who is the source of peace.  Take a moment and read Colossians 3:12-17 with a focus on verse 15.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

 Draw near and Abide in Christ Jesus through whom God’s peace comes.  Jesus calls us to Abide in Him (John 15) because He has already taken care of what we need and God the good gardener will continue to lift us up, prune away the dead parts and provide us with the fresh air and sunshine needed to grow and prosper.  Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… (Rom. 5:1)

Have peace with self.  Take courage in Jesus’ words.  Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. (John 14:1)

We can then have a calmness and tranquility of mind knowing that God is on our side (Romans 8:23, 31).  He WILL NOT forsake you.  No matter how much someone else disappoints you, hurts you, or gets off track.  God will not forsake you and you will be cared for here and retain your final reward and home in heaven.  Allow this to build you up with a peaceful heart so that you can endure and be strong for others.

No matter how turbulent the times get, how loud the argument, how far the distance, how confused the situation…you have a voice!  Take it all to God in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7).

Then, as much as possible, have peace with your women.  (Romans 12:18; Hebrews 12:14).

God is our peace.  He will reassure us.  He will strengthen us.  He will fill us with His wisdom and discernment.  He will give us patience and endurance.  He will pour into us His grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, and hope in such a way we can project that into the lives of our women and reflect for them the peace and eternal perspective God has called us to have in good times and bad.

You are strong enough to be her man…when you have the peace that comes from above.