If you have spent any time in church, you have heard someone say, "I'll pray about it." It is a response often given to a prayer request or an opportunity to serve. "Will you be willing to lead a small group?" or "Are you wanting to go on a mission trip next summer?" The response is, "I'll pray about it." I don't know about you, but how often do we truly pray? In today's culture there is a tendency to run from commitment. Maybe we are so "nice" that we are not willing to be honest and say no? We do not want to let other people down so our first response is to avoid conflict. So what does it really mean to pray about it?
Prayer is not a substitute for obedience to God's Word. Prayer it is to acknowledge God’s greatness and surrender our will to follow Him.
"Never stop praying." 1 Thessalonians 5:17
The ultimate purpose of prayer is to bring our hearts into line with God’s heart. Only then will be be able to see, feel, and experience His leading.
A few ways we use "I'll pray about it:"
- Prayer requests. People share a prayer request and we tell them we will pray but forget. Pray with them on the spot and write it down to remember (James 5:16). My father prays for me on the phone just about every time we talk. It means the world to me that he emphasizes praying without ceasing.
- Missions. We know that followers of Christ should be on mission. Locally and internationally. But, it will affect our plans and budget. So, we continue to pray about it, waiting for the perfect feeling, amount of money and friends who feel the same way. Jesus said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" Matthew 28:19-20.
- Serving. We know we should serve. But, what if I commit to serving and I am not perfectly consistent and do a terrible job? So, you wait until all is right in life and your schedule is cleared. Service flows out of obedience. Obedience then results in joy and purpose!
- Sharing the gospel. We know we should share our story with others. But, what if I say the wrong thing and they do not understand me? So, you wait until the "perfect moment" (cue the invitation music) to tell your friend how you came to know Jesus.
God gives us opportunities each and every day. For me, I have missed many opportunities because I was too wrapped up with my own world. Too often we are waiting for the perfect feeling, emotion or circumstance to obey God's Word.
God's grace is sufficient for us. God doesn’t care to be amazed with brilliantly crafted theological words. He isn’t impressed with long prayers. It’s nice to know that he wants us to keep it simple. He desires a clean heart to say "yes." The reward of prayer is the relationship with God.
What are your thoughts? How can I pray for you?