True or False: It’s easier to pray for someone other than yourself.

I say that’s true.

Sometimes I forget to pray for me, but almost every night before I go to bed, I pray for others. I peek over at little chalkboard on my bookshelf and read the names of those I have on my prayer list. Some are friends, family members and coworkers.

As I was reading the list of names, I thought to myself, “Do these people even need my prayers? Have they been on my prayer list too long? More specifically, how do I know when it’s time to stop praying for them?”

I asked my daughter this question as I was preparing to write this post.

“It’s easy,” she said. “You stop when they tell you to stop, or when what you’re praying about for them comes true!

That should be simple enough, right?

What if they don’t know even know you’re praying for them? For the most part, I don’t just pray for someone because I think they need me to pray for them.

One article says “there’s no way any of us can possibly ever know the soul needs of another person, no matter how close that person is to us. To think that we can is not only presumptuous, it is downright controlling and manipulative.”

I definitely don’t want to come across controlling and manipulative, but when I add someone to my prayer request board, it’s usually because:

  • They are going through a tough time and I’m simply asking God to lift them up a little bit.
  • They personally, or someone in their family, have some health issues going on.
  • They specifically ask me to pray for them.

So how do you know when to take them off? Here’s what I recommend:

  • For those going through tough times, I suggest keeping them there for a week or so. It’s wonderful for you to lift them up, but their tough time isn’t your tough time.
  • For those struggling with health issues personally or with a family member, I think you can leave the folks on until their health improves.
  • If someone asks you to pray for them, after a few days or week, follow up and ask them if they need additional prayers, if not, take them off.

Remember, there is always someone else watching over your friends and family, too, so when you’re not sure when it’s time to stop, let God take over.

Aunt Bubba