One Simple Tip for Developing a Prayer Habit

Often times we have great noble plans to pray for others but then become discouraged when we forget or encounter obstacles. Boo! If you struggle with how to pray for others, try this one simple tip for developing a prayer habit where you consistently remember to pray for others.

 

If you struggle to remember to pray for others, try this one simple tip for developing a prayer habit where you consistently remember to pray for others. 

 

“Everything worked out! Thank you, I know you have been praying for me.” She looked me straight in the eye with a smile on her face, truly grateful for my prayers. I smiled back but my heart sank, I hadn’t prayed. I had completely forgotten!

Even though everything worked out, I felt like a horrible friend. She had opened her heart to me, shared a major concern, and asked me to pray, but I didn’t follow through.

“This is why I rarely promise to pray for people!” I silently scolded myself, “I almost always forget to follow through; then the ‘thanks for praying’ comes and I feel bad for forgetting and guilty for accepting thanks I didn’t deserve. Who wants to deal with all of that? Better to just avoid prayer requests…right?”

Wrong.

The Motivation for Prayer for Others

After this situation occurred, the Lord began pressing on my heart the need to do some self-examination. Where was my attitude towards praying for others coming from?

Philippians 2:3-4 held the answer.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

It all became clear in reading those two verses. It was selfish of me to avoid taking prayer requests because they might lead to feelings of guilt. It was also selfish of me to not pray for others whether I had been asked to or not.

Didn’t I always ensure my needs were brought before God? Was I more important than my friends? Were my needs more important? I never consciously thought I was more important, but my actions revealed the truth.

God’s message was loud and clear now, I needed to pray for others.

How to Pray for Others

Even with a stronger desire to pray, I still had the memory problem. I know some people write down requests in a prayer journal, or in a note on their phone. Some even schedule an event on their calendar. But all of these ideas required remembering to look at what I wrote down.

I know, I know, it isn’t that hard, but nothing was working for me. I needed a completely different approach; one which worked anywhere, anytime, and didn’t require me to remember anything.

My solution? The “on the spot prayer.”

The title is pretty self-explanatory. Whenever I get asked to pray, I stop whatever I am doing and pray right then and there. These are usually very quick prayers, somewhere around 15-30 seconds.

You may be thinking, “Wow, so short, is it even worth it?” Yes! That is the point of on the spot prayer. God hears every prayer no matter the length. Plus, if I had to stop what I was doing and pray for even 5 minutes, I probably wouldn’t do it (I am just being honest with myself here).

Yes, on a rare occasion, a prayer request arrives during a time when I am not doing much and I could pray for the next 10 minutes. But usually I am right in the middle of something; cleaning, cooking, writing, trying to keep my toddler from using the whole house as her personal jungle gym, etc.

No matter what I am doing though, I can always stop for 15-30 seconds. This way, a prayer gets said 100% of the time. No forgetting and no feeling guilty later; I don’t even give myself the opportunity to not follow through.

The really amazing part is by saying a quick prayer in the moment, I tend to remember to pray for my friend during my next dedicated prayer time. It’s like a trigger in my brain says “Hey you are praying, last time you prayed, you said____.”

This gives me the opportunity to pray again. Not because God didn’t hear my 15 second prayer- you can trust he did- but because I’ve taken Philippians 2:4 to heart, “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

To me this means when I take on the prayer requests of friends and family, I treat their needs as my own. If it was my need, I would pray more than once, plain and simple.

I am still not perfect in this last part. Sometimes the trigger doesn’t fire, and the 15-30 second prayer is all a situation ever gets from me. But, what I’ve learned is, God doesn’t want us to pray for others because we are so good at praying; or because without us he wouldn’t hear the prayer request.

 

Do you struggle with remembering to pray for others? Here is one simple tip for developing a prayer habit.

He wants us to pray in order to experience personal growth and to deepen our relationship with Him. He also wants to bless us for blessing others.

 

“The LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the LORD increased all that Job had twofold.” Job 42:10 [emphasis added]

 

If you struggle to remember prayer requests, I encourage you to give this method a try. Or if you struggle with prayer in general, you may even want to try it with your own life, stopping to pray whenever you could use some help from God.

 

Do you have any tips for remembering to pray for others? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

 

Kira BridgesKira Bridges is pursuing joy by seeking the life God intended for us. She blogs at Joy Pursued, sharing lessons learned and resources to help women move fully into the joyful life God has waiting for them. Living in the sunny part of Oregon with her husband, daughter, and two dogs; Kira believes living with joy is a lifelong journey and would love for you to join her. You can hang out with her on Facebook, or follow along on Pinterest.

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13 Comments

  1. When I am asked to pray for someone I silently, in my heart ask God to give me reminders. I tease that I put the pressure on Him to remember but He never forgets and has never let me down to remember to pray when I have said I would. I keep a small notebook in my purse and when I am out and talking to someone (which I do all the time) if they are telling about a hardship in their life I ask if I can pray and write it in my little notebook. It has always amazed me the response I get from people because if you are writing it down you must really be going to pray! Then as usual I give God the request to remind me.

    1. Those are great ideas Teresa! I especially like writing down the request in front of the person asking and giving them that assurance you wont forget to pray.

  2. I love this, Kira! My husband and I have also adopted the “on the spot” method over the last few years for the same reason. We were tired of forgetting to pray for others when we said we would! Now we have experienced such joy in praying for our friends and family when they first tell us of their need. We pray with them over the phone, in the parking lot, through e-mails or even facebook messages. And God definitely shows up in the 15 second prayers! ?Thanks for sharing!

  3. I just love this. Such a great reminder. It takes boldness for me to pray on the spot to be honest, but I’ve been challenging myself to just do it and am always glad when I do. I unfortunately met with a friend this week and talked to her for over an hour about what she needed prayer for and then left saying, “I’ll pray for you!” Doh. Next time hopefully this will be fresh in my mind.

  4. I feel the same way about forgetting to pray when I have told someone I would. Our church recently set out a suitcase full of little green toy soldiers, with a note saying to take one (and put it someplace where you will see it) to help you remember to pray for our military servicemen and women. I grabbed one and put it in my jacket pocket as I was making my way out of church, however,I forgot to take it out of my pocket. This has turned into a good thing, though! I have written prayer requests on notecards and placed them on my mirror in the past, but I quickly begin to overlook them. With this toy soldier, when I put on my jacket,I feel that toy soldier anytime I place my hands in my pockets, and it reminds me to send up a quick on the spot prayer. I’m going to start applying this for other prayer requests. I think I may take one of my daughter’s Barbie’s shoes to keep in my pocket to remind me to pray for her while she’s away at school!

  5. I love the on spot prayer! I have a friend who practices this and I have been much better about getting in the habit of that also. I still miss it sometimes, but I’m continuing to grow in this area.

  6. Woo! I love new revelations of verses you’ve read a bunch of times… that bit about God restoring Job AFTER he prayed for his friends is a really interesting perspective.

    Love the tactic of praying on the spot for the person right when they ask. Something I’ve been trying to do lately is if a friend or acquaintance comes up in conversation with my husband and they need prayers, I’ll pause the conversation and pray for them.

  7. I learned on the spot praying as well. When I see a friend ask for prayer, I stop and pray right then and there because I WILL forget. Great post!

  8. Thanks Arabah for the encouragement and reminder to pray immediately for the known request of others. Even out loud with the person, I still remember the first time someone did that with me over the phone. Awkward and powerful, but less and less weird as I became more comfortable. I am looking for a way to organize my prayers for the week. I’m sure something exists but I can’t find it. Like—Mondays-Me and my family, Tuesdays-Marriages, Wednesdays-Friends, Thursdays-Children of others, Friday-World concerns……IDK, something like that but with more organization and something catchy, you know like Taco Tuesday and Fish Friday when menu planning. Know of anything like that? Thanks and Blessings! Mary

  9. I think this is a great idea! The only problem is the men will tell who wants prayer and I don’t know who they are sometimes and I give up.

  10. Great post Arabah. I too have the issue of forgetting to pray for others. Thank you for reminding me how our relationship with God grows when we pray for others. I’m definitely going to try the on the spot praying method.

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