Do we really pray when we say we will?

It’s the signature of the well-meaning, the blessing of the kind-hearted, the encouragement of those who truly do care, those words we see on social media whenever we share something hard.

I really do believe we mean it. When we say, “praying!” Or, “thoughts and prayers!” we sincerely mean that we care about the person suffering, and want to make them feel better. A dear friend of mine lost her beloved father last week, and a literal outpouring of the well-meaning, kind-hearted encouragers occurred. I was one of them. I truly wanted to provide some comfort in a situation where comfort can’t just be manufactured. And I did pray for my friend. Several times. But as I read the comments on Facebook, I couldn’t help but wonder how many others actually would. Not in a judgy way…

I wondered that because I have done it myself.

With the best of intentions I’ve told a friend, “I’m praying for you!” and then promptly forgot to pray.



And if I can do it—someone who has built a life and ministry on the foundation of prayer…someone who believes prayer is the answer for most everything we face—I know others can too. So it begs the question:

Do we really pray when we say we will? I think it’s a problem worth addressing.

Some Solutions to This Common Problem


1. Don’t say you’re going to pray if you’re not.

You get a pass if you really did mean to, and just forgot, but it might be worth it to be a little slower to pull the trigger and type the comment. Before you type, “praying!” ask yourself if, “I’m so sorry,” or a simple, “condolences,” might be more truthful.

2. Spend 10-15 minutes scrolling Facebook with the sole purpose of praying for people.

I know most of us are looking for ways to spend less time on Facebook, but I’ve always loved the idea of redeeming what the enemy means for evil. Instead of mindless scrolling that leaves you feeling void, slow your scroll and pray for people after you’ve read what’s going on in their lives. Whether or not you tell them you prayed is up to you.

3. Pray as soon as, or before, you hit the button to post.

This is something I’ve been doing more often to keep myself honest, AND to make sure my friends are actually getting my prayers and not just empty promises. I know I’m being 100% honest when I say, “I prayed for you!” instead of just, “prayers!” because I already have.

4. Just a little heart check will do the trick. 

If you catch yourself telling people on Facebook, any form of social media, or even in person, that you’ll pray for them when you know you probably won’t…

If you see a pattern in your life of really meaning to pray, but sincerely forget most of the time…

Do a heart check. Get real for a minute and try to figure out why this is happening. Then challenge yourself to make a change. The word, “praying!” by itself has no power. It’s only when a follower of Jesus goes to the throne on someone’s behalf, regardless of how long it takes, that things begin to move.

What would you add? Are there solutions to this problem I’ve missed? I would love to hear your thoughts!

*Note: I had permission to post the screenshots of comments on Facebook above. Thanks to each of them for helping!