When I Will Pray for You Isn’t Enough

Have you ever been in a really hard spot, a spot that  leaves you breathless and weak and you have no idea where to go from here?

You can’t make breakfast. You can barely get a load of laundry on to wash and wonder if just buying new underwear won’t be easier. You just need someone to come and give you a hug … to be there.

I look back over the last several years of my life at all the times I witnessed a friend or family member in a difficult season. And too often all I mustered up was, “I will pray for you.”

when i will pray for you isnt enough

I look back at all those times, and though the right and good little Christian words were true, they weren’t enough.


Saying I will pray for you is easy. Actually following through and praying is harder. But actually doing something tangible is hardest.

A few weeks ago, I was in a weary, worn-down place.

A friend said, “I am praying for you, and I’m going to bring you a meal.”

She proceeded to fill my fridge and pantry full of meals for an entire week.

Then she brought lunch over and made a run to my midwife for me the next. Peppered throughout, she invited me on a few play dates and just listened to me pour out my heart.

She served me while praying for me. She met my basic needs while I was floundering trying to find air to breathe. It was humbling, and I learned a great lesson.

Sometimes saying, “I will pray for you” isn’t enough. Sometimes we need to be the hands and feet of Jesus. <–Tweet This!

Too often, I throw out the good little Christian words of prayer, but only because it’s what I’m supposed to say, OR I think it’s good enough.

Isn’t prayer the biggest, highest, holiest thing we can do?

Prayer is powerful, if we remember to do it.

But how often do we say we’ll pray and then don’t?

We’ve just left our friend without a hand or a prayer.

Today let’s ask ourselves are the words, “I will pray for you” enough?

If not, then let’s roll up our sleeves and be willing to get a little dirty to help a friend. Because even Jesus came down from His throne to prove His great love for us.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. ~John 13:34-35 {emphasis mine}

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  1. Oh my goodness, this jumped right off the page at me. Thank you for writing this as it’s such an important reminder. Sadly, in today’s economy many people are in a bind and feel they can’t help. I know I’ve been there myself. But just making sure when we say we’ll pray for someone, we actually stop what we’re doing and pray makes an enormous difference. Also, sending a card of encouragement, stopping by for a visit if you live in the same area, or as you mentioned, bringing a meal can make such a difference in someone’s day when life feels like it’s falling apart. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. It’s a motto me and my Bible study group are trying to embrace. There’s always something we can do to brighten someones day.

  2. Oh this is beautiful. What a great friend you have there! We can really bless others with our prayers. We are also greatly blessed when their prayers are answered. You encourage me as always. I am truly praying for you during this time….really I am!

  3. This is so true! Thank you for the reminder! I was convicted of this a few years ago during our daughter’s 2-year cancer treatment. During that very stressful and overwhelming time, we had so many people tell us they would pray for us. But in all that time, we had less than 5 meals prepared for us. By the end of her treatment, all of our friends had “abandoned” us, or so it felt like to me. I plunged into a 4 month long depression, feeling very alone. God reminded me that in this dark valley that He was identifying me with Christ, and I was able to feel how Christ must have felt when He was also abandoned by His closest friends at a most critical time of His earthly life. This identification did help, but I committed myself at that time to never tell anyone that I would pray for them without first searching myself for ways to be the hands and feet of Christ. This experience transformed my attitude toward ministry. Sometimes all I can do is pray. But often, I can bring by a meal or speak comforting words or watch someone’s child or even provide monetary blessing.

    1. So true. Far too often prayer isn’t the only thing we can do. I’m glad you found comfort in Christ during your trial. I can only imagine how difficult that must have been!

  4. This is such an important distinction! So encouraging to not only follow through in prayer, but to be the Lord’s hands and feet however He leads us. Amen!!

  5. I read this yesterday morning and shortly after got a text from my Bible study partner. She was running a fever and could not come to Bible study. I told her I would pray, and while praying this post came to mind. I got up and started making her some chicken noodle soup. There were all kinds of thoughts going through my head. What if she doesn’t like the way I make soup? What if she doesn’t even like chicken noodle? I kept turning to God and felt Him say, you fix and I will take care of the results. I did, she appreciated and enjoyed it. I came to realize I have probably talked myself out of doing more, more than I know. I will be making an effort to do more and look for ways to do more and trust God. Wonderful post!

    1. You sound so much like me!!! All these questions run through my head when I feel the prompting to serve. So proud I you for persevering!!! I know she was blessed!

  6. Hi, I am terrible at talking myself out of things with embarrassment and lack of confidence. This post really spoke to me as is something my family and I are working on. This evening I was due for a prayer meeting at a friends house but they had an emergency and had to cancel. My adopted kids had picked out some eggs from our chickens and made a card for my friends daughter as part of their managing me going out.
    They were really disappointed when they couldn’t deliver their gift. I rang the parent that was home and explained our situation, I was then able to take them over and please their child, the parent who said they felt blessed and my kids who felt they had been taken care of. I am so glad I had the confidence to pick up the phone. I think I am most blessed when I bless others. Which is a very nice feeling. Thank you.

  7. I think that this is spot on. Prayer is so powerful, and I do always feel cared for when I know people are really praying for me. But in the interim of waiting on the Lord and persevering in a difficult season, tangible acts of love and kindness really do go a long way. Often, even an email or message just letting me know someone is thinking of me and is remembering me in the midst of their own busy lives helps to encourage me. I think a week of meals would set me up with enough encouragement to last a while! 😉