Good Intentions

One can believe intellectually in the efficacy of prayer and never do any praying. ~ Catherine Marshall

Are you like me? I wonder how many times in my life I’ve said I’m praying for you or I’ll pray for you and never prayed at all? I meant to or I mean to but I didn’t or I don’t. Often, I’ve not even realized it until the moment when someone says Thank you for praying for me. My heart sinks as I start praying right then, remembering the promise broken.

Good intentions. I meant to pray (in the past), I intend to pray (now and in the future), but I get sidetracked by worry or problem solving or my own interests and distractions.

Maybe we’re a little glib with the prayer promise? It’s become the thing to say, but not necessarily the thing we do.

If I promise to watch your newborn while you are gone for a day, you would expect me to honor that promise by taking careful, tender care of him. You wouldn’t expect to drop him off in his carrier seat at 8, only to find I’d forgotten all about him until I saw you at 5.

Or let’s say, for some reason, you’re unable to reach the bank before closing time. You give me your paycheck and I say that I’ll go directly to the bank and put it in for you. You would know that your bills are covered because you would trust me to go straight on to the bank and make your deposit.

We take those types of thing seriously, don’t we? Babies and even money. But if you need me to go to God on your behalf and I say that, indeed I will, is it money in the bank? Can you count on it?

Prayer is a promise and a practice.

It’s not just a fall back line or a spiritual way to end a conversation. If I say I’ll pray for you, you should be as confident that I’ll be doing it as you are that I will take careful care for your precious baby or deposit your paycheck.

I used to say I’ll pray for you all the time. I don’t say it as much now. I pray more and promise less. That way, when I say it, you can count on it.

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

34 thoughts on “Good Intentions”

  1. behind in reading but God’s timing is perfect. You have been on my mind the past few days and my prayer for you is God’s wisdom, protection and peace as you step forward each day. blessings dear one.

  2. Debbie Nail on the Head! I had a very good friend tell me when I was pregnant that as soon as my Boy was born my journal, my meditation practice (then 2 hours a day) , and formal prayer would go out the window. She suggested keeping a calendar with a brief detail from the day instead of a journal, a few minutes of watching my breath instead of meditation and acting with prayerful intention instead of formal on my knees Catholic prayer. She was DEAD on.

    As my son has grown, the calendar entries are longer, the breath watching is back to 10-20 minutes of anapana, and my prayerful intention has extended into my passwords on my email accounts and a habit of Gratitude at stop lights and nightly prayer. Not every night but more often than not. I let go of what I thought prayer MUST be and have opened Action into prayer. My Son. He has changed my life in countless ways. I thought of you today at a stop light and smiled…. That is now a prayer for Thank you for your wisdom and honesty. xxx Jen

    1. Jen – You are a wise soul. Thank you for your stoplight prayer! I so love being prayed for because I’m overwhelming aware of how poorly I do it on my own.
      I can’t remember if you read Fork or not? If you do, then you know that the 9th was my daughter’s birthday. She’s my oldest. My son is 21 months younger. The day she was born, my world expanded into levels of love and grace that I could never have imagined!
      I’ve learned more from the two of them than all the books and teachers and preachers in the world rolled together! A blessing I know I’m unworthy of, but grateful for every single day.
      I’m attempting to get over to your blog, but I’ve been kicked off line 3 times since starting the response. You are daily in my prayers, whether I visit or not.
      ~ Debbie

  3. Oh, my, I have done that so many times…for a while, I wouldn’t even say I would pray, out of fear that I would forget. I do try to remember, and sometimes the Spirit reminds me.

  4. Years ago I realized that I didn’t always follow through and would feel so bad about it. I decided to stop saying “I’ll pray for you” and just do it. Now I’m back at telling people I will pray for them, but I pray right at that moment and then later if my own life doesn’t swallow up the thought. Thankfully the Lord doesn’t judge us on our words alone but what is in our heart. Another good topic, Debbie! Thank you.

    1. Sue – dear friend of mine – no surprise to me that you’re ahead of me on this one. πŸ˜‰
      Thank you for the many, many times you’ve prayed for me.
      ~ Debbie

  5. Love to pray for bloggers. In the quiet of my home, anytime is a good time. My blog subscribers are then my list.
    A friend prays while she walks for exercise, every morning. She prays the alphabet, asking God to put someone or some situtation on her mind that that begins with “a”, then “b”, etc. A list, as mentioned above, I suppose. Thanks for this wake up, Deb.

    1. katharine – Boy am I glad I subscribed! πŸ˜‰
      I’ve begun to pray for those whose blogs I read and for those who read mine (the former being a much larger group than the latter). πŸ™‚
      I like your friend’s alphabet prayer. Interesting approach.
      You are my k today!
      ~ Debbie

  6. Morning Debbie
    I totally agree with you! If we say we are praying for “some one or some thing” we need to pray
    I carry in my purse a small wired notepad and place my “petitions” in the pad
    Intercessory Prayer is a commitment and the best gift we can give family and others
    Prayers for your day (and yes, I will)

    1. Susie – I’ve taken to a notebook, too. You’re so right, intercessory prayer is a commitment and a gift.
      I love knowing you read my posts because I never doubt that you pray for me, and that’s a gift. Thank you. πŸ˜€
      ~ Debbie

  7. Amen, Debbie. Guilty here too. A good friend threw another painful reality into the mix for me. What if no one else is praying for that person? What if my offer to pray for them is the only prayer promised? Will I neglect to offer the only prayer God will hear in their benefit? Thanks, as always, for piercing our consciences. God bless.

    1. Mike – Have I mentioned how much I love your heart? Your friend makes a sad but good point. I should have added one more p word – prayer is a promise, a practice and a privilege.
      ~ Debbie

  8. I am guilty of this also, Debbie and have started doing what you have suggested — pray right then and there before something else moves in to take my attention. Thanks for the reminder.

  9. THank you so much. This is so true and a really good point. As a culture we do not value prayer as much as we should. Nor do we view its operation as important as we should. Pray more promise less!

    1. jelillie – As Catherine Marshall said, ‘you can believe intellectually in the efficacy of prayer’ and not act like it. I say I believe in the efficacy – but how much, I wonder? If I truly believed, I think praying without ceasing would seem as natural as breathing. PRAYING to be moving toward that life.
      ~ Debbie

  10. And another Deb weighs in. The Debby with a Y just to confuse Mel more πŸ˜‰
    Yes, I do like “practice more and promise less”. It fits more than praying for me. Last week my mind was focusing on intentions too, as in living intentionally. I think I need to focus on that more often.

  11. That is lovely. Do you actually have to get on your knees? I know i don’t pray formally– but i’m certain i pray … and maybe ask for favors :-0 when people need the most strength.

    Such a good post for this morning … i need to pray in some fashion … with a list!

    Thank you for the reminder that good intentions are only intentions.


    HELP … I believe i’m screwing up with my Debs! What have i done? Is all ok ???

    1. mel – Interesting that you mention a list. I’ve taken to writing down the people and the things I want to pray for. My old mind is like a Rolodex with part of the alphabet missing.
      There are a lot of us Debs aren’t there. All is OK here. πŸ˜€
      ~ Debbie

  12. Oh Debbie, I’m adopting your practice of promising less and praying more, starting NOW. Thank you. I have a friend, who prays for me on the spot . . .on the phone before we hang up, when she sees me, whenever or wherever it is, she prays for me. I want to grow up to be like her. And you. πŸ™‚
    God bless you as you pray and care for others.

    1. Sweet Debbie – I’m trying to practice what your dear friend is doing. I’m learning to pray right at the moment. When I read something in a blog or on FB, I stop and pray. I don’t want to keep offering lip service. I want to learn to serve with my lips.
      How blessed you are to have a friend who is so faithful to pray for you. That’s love!
      ~ Debbie

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