I’ll Pray for You

I’ll pray for you. How often have we heard that? Sometimes, we ask our friends to pray for us. We are going through a crisis, a health scare, a financial difficulty, a job search, we ask for prayer. The commitment to pray from our friends is appropriate. We want to hear that they are committing to that action. It makes us feel better to know we have their support. 
Other times we hear it and it isn’t the same. I have been told this by people at the end of a discussion. A discussion that was a disagreement. The statement rings hollow, maybe even hypocritical, we disagree on something and the other person says, “I’ll pray for you.” Why would they say that? Often it is because others are going to hear or read this statement. It makes them appear to be “the spiritual one” in the discussion. What is it really? What did Jesus say about prayer?

““And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:5-6 NKJV

Jesus cautioned his disciples NOT to make a show of their prayers. He identified those that prayed on the street corners as hypocrites because they were doing it to be seen. He instructed his disciples, of whom we say we are, to pray secretly. 

Recently, I had a discussion with a young man about how we interacted. The insistence that he kept adding me to groups associated with his religion. He had on more than one occasion told me that I needed to “meet Jesus” and how he had implied that I could only do so if I went to this young man’s church. This conclusion of his got me thinking. He was making this invitation in a discussion under his control. It was his social media discussion thread. 

The habit expressed by this young man’s interaction with me was simple. He only had such discussions where he could control what others saw. If he didn’t like what I said, or could not adequately respond to what I said, the comments I made would be deleted. This made him appear to have all the answers. He did this in an open discussion forum only. 

I created a closed group, where only members of the group could view what was said between members. This would create a place where each member stands along. Discussion becomes therefore, one of exchange of ideas instead of self-promotion. We would not be able to advertise our strengths, nor the weaknesses of the other. This young man rejected this forum. I was left to conclude that either he was unwilling to discuss ideas unless he could showcase the discussions to friends, he was unwilling to have discussions that he could not control and delete whatever he chose to delete, or that I was not debating and discussing with only him. 

I thought, perhaps, our discussions were viewed by his friends and he was getting a sort of clandestine assistance from others. Perhaps I was really debating with a group of several people with only this young guy as the face that I saw. 

The last discussion we had, after he continuously had deleted my responses, I called him on it. I pointed out how he was doing this. Why would I mention it to him? Truth. Sometimes truth requires that someone be called out when they are doing things to appear something bigger then they really are. 

Then he said, “I’ll pray for you” which really rang as hypocritical. It seemed pharisaical in how it was delivered. Why would he say that? I had not requested prayer. I did not have a need for which I had requested prayer. No, he was making a show, declaring out in public (for it was only public to his friends) that he was so spiritual that he was going to pray for me. His desire to pray for me was clearly because I disagreed with his behavior and his actions to delete my responses. 

Let’s look again at the passage from the beginning. 

““And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:5-6 NKJV

If you are going to pray for someone that has not requested it, what should you do. How should we approach it. If we want to pray that God reveals something to someone which we know then how should we pray? My conclusion would be, IN SECRET not as some public pronouncement. If we are agonizing about someone with which we disagree, deciding to pray for them is rewarding but not as a public pronouncement but in secret. Jesus made it clear that “your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” so pray secretly. 

If You see that I’m in need of prayer, then by all means pray for me. Pray in ur daily prayers for me as often as you wish. You never need to tell me publicly “I’m praying for you” because then the reward for that spiritual effort is robbed from you. By all means pray for me but let God reward you by how he answers those prayers, openly. 

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