I travel all over and train ministry teams. People are often hesitant to pray for others. Usually, fear is the culprit at work behind the scenes. I find two types of fear lurking in the background holding potential prayer warriors hostage.
Fear of Not Knowing What to Say
It’s not unusual for people to say, “I’ll pray for someone when God gives me the words.” However, God usually wants us to step out of our comfort zone and trust that He will give us the word as we take the risk.
In Luke 12, Jesus is talking to the crowds about hypocrisy, suffering, identity and value. I find verses 11 and 12 (NLT) fascinating: “And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.”
Jesus is saying that if we find ourselves in court and need to defend ourselves, the Holy Spirit will teach us at that time what needs to be said. In other words, we may not have the perfectly prepared speech as we walk in the door. However, we do have the Holy Spirit and a promise that Holy Spirit will show us what to say.
With all that, how much more will the Holy Spirit guide us and direct us when we go to pray for someone? Are we willing to trust Holy Spirit to put the words in our mouth? If so, then don’t hold back. If that feels like a risk, I’d encourage you to grab onto God and jump anyway! You will be surprised by His faithfulness.
Just make sure those words are heavily seasoned with the love of God.
Praying but Not Expecting
I suspect for many people, this has become a subtle yet powerful trap. Recently, I was sitting in a church service where the pastor basically made a statement that we often pray without expecting. I really had to take a step back and think about that. How often do I pray and not expect a response from heaven? I would have to admit that I am guilty!
Is it possible that this very issue plays into our not seeing more signs, wonders and miracles? In the natural, we know when someone doesn’t believe in us. May I suggest that when we are praying cursory prayers, not expecting God to move, we are telling God that we don’t trust Him?
Philippians 4:6 states, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
Paul reminds us we are not to worry but rather to pray. Is it possible that this also means we should be asking God for those prayer encounters that involve praying for others? And if we walk in an attitude of thankfulness, it becomes the fertilizer to expect the answered prayer. Also, if you are struggling to pray, begin to worship. Worship shifts our focus from self onto the one who is worthy of all praise (see Rev. 4:11 and Ps. 147:1) In other words, prayer, praise and thanksgiving become the vehicle to usher in the presence of God.
Jesus is consistently calling us to trust more, dream more and to risk more. He calls us deeper into a relationship than we could ever imagine. He wants to transform the very way we think (Rom. 12:2). He states that our prayers are to be powerful and effective (James 5:16).
Heavenly Father, I repent for allowing fear of not having the words to say silence me from praying for others. I also repent for praying without expecting You to move. I ask You to forgive me and set me free from fear and negative expectations.
Your Word says if I open my mouth, You will fill it (Luke 12:12). Therefore, I commit to taking a risk and praying for others. I trust that You will give me the words, wrapped in love, to pray in that very moment because You are faithful.
Your Word also states I will see even greater things (John 14:12): signs, wonders and miracles straight from heaven. Therefore, realign me with You and Your Word. I will look with great expectation when I pray because I know You are faithful.
I declare that I will enter Your gates with thanksgiving and Your courts with praise!
I declare that I will open my mouth and trust You to fill it.
I declare that I will expect great things in answer to prayer.