Throughout the history of media, there’s been a multitude of iconic walking moments.
When I think of walking, oftentimes the phrase “walking the talk” pops into my mind. That walk may not be as striking as Darth Vader’s entrance into a room, but it can leave a great impression among those who see a person backing their words with actions.
Have you ever had the following situation occur?
You see your friend nearly-skipping across the room, beaming with excitement. Throwing their arms around you for a massive hug, your friend shares incredible news with you. As you’re listening to your friend, you find your own heart being filled with joy. Suddenly, your friend says the four words you weren’t expecting to hear:
“Thanks again for praying!”
As quickly as you had felt your heart grow with happiness, it deflates just as quickly. You manage a weak smile and chuckle, “yeah, no problem,” before quickly changing the subject.
I believe the phrase “I’ll be praying for you” can be either a powerful or meaningless thing to say. How many times has someone shared a difficulty or concern with us, and we simply replied “Oh yeah, I’ll be praying for you” — only to be distracted by some Buzzfeed quiz that reveals what color we should paint our room based on our third least-favorite vegetable…
About two years ago, I realized I was guilty of this. I sincerely had good intentions, but I discovered how careless I was in throwing around that phrase. When people would approach me and thank me for my prayer, I wouldn’t know how to respond. Guilt, shame, and embarrassment would overwhelm me.
So I did something drastic.
I stopped telling people I was going to pray for them.
Don’t get me wrong, I still prayed for people; but upon realizing how lightly I was taking my claims of prayer, I wouldn’t ask people how I could pray for them specifically for a period of time.
I needed to be a woman of integrity where my actions matched my words, and this was an area where I was utterly failing. If I wanted to be this woman, I would need to stop making promises I couldn’t keep.
Since this was a promise I did want to keep, it meant that I would need a lot of self-discipline and help from God. It helped me become more intentional in following-through with my promises of prayer.
So for those of you who may be in the same boat as me, what can we do?
Stop taking prayer lightly
I’m going to be blunt. More often than not, I think “I’ll be praying for you” is thrown around too carelessly by Christians. I’m not saying that none of us have good intentions, I believe we do. But how often than not do we actually follow through with those prayers? I’ve been horrible about this at different points, otherwise I wouldn’t be talking about this.
“Just do it”
I’m not talking about Shia LaBeouf or Nike. When we say we’re going to do something, we need to follow through on it. We need to “walk the talk.”
James 5:12 says the following: “But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no, so that you do not fall under condemnation.”
Find ways to help you
Sometimes we need extra help and reminders. Below are some ways that we can remember others’ prayer requests:
- keep a prayer journal with requests from others
- pray for the person the moment they present their request, and doing so each time you interact with them
- put reminders in your phone
Ask God for help
If we’re genuinely trying to be more intentional in praying for others, we can rely on our heavenly Father to strengthen us in this area. Ask Him for help in this area. We can admit that it’s an area of weakness that we wish to improve, and admit that we can’t do this on our own. “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121:2.
Despite our shortcomings, I’m thankful for God’s unconditional mercy and forgiveness. I’m thankful that He will help us in areas that we’re seeking to improve in, and that He will never leave us during the process. And above all, I’m thankful that He is the One who can ultimately help us “walk the talk.”