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Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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Tuesday 25th July 2017

Let’s Stop Saying “I’ll Pray For You” And Do This Instead.

Suzie came to the edge of the stage at the front of the room and asked me if I needed anything else before I spoke to the women filling the seats.

I had almost everything that I needed.

Microphone. Check.

Water. Check.

Outline. Check.

Tissues, (because I almost always cry a little when I talk about my Jesus.) Check.

But I needed one more thing. So when Suzie appeared at the edge of the stage and asked me — Do you need anything? — I told her what I needed most of all:

“Prayer.”

She nodded, promised to pray, and then started to walk. But she didn’t walk away; she walked to the other side of the stage.

“Come with me,” she said, motioning me to a quiet corner.

And there, behind my podium, I knelt. She grabbed my hands, and began to pray. Suzie asked for God to settle my nerves, for words to flow, and for the Holy Spirit to be present and powerful.

 

I was deeply moved, and beyond grateful for her on-the-spot prayer.

Her prayers were the fuel I needed to deliver an hour-long talk about book publishing to a room full of hopeful writers at the She Speaks Conference in North Carolina.

I didn’t know, until after I returned home to Iowa, that a woman in the audience, Tiffany, snapped that photo while we prayed. Like me, Tiffany was moved by Suzie’s obedience to prayer. She sent me the photo and told me this:

“My readers are saying things like ‘I constantly feel on the outside of my relationships’ or ‘I see other women connecting sincerely with each other but I don’t have that kind of relationship with my friends.’ I think prayer is a powerful way we connect intimately with each other.”

YesTiffany. Yes! Preach!

When Suzie prayed with me, I felt a connection to God, but I also felt a connection to Suzie, who cared enough about me and the other women in the room to pray.

That’s what God intended all along.

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20).

You can’t see Jesus in the photo, but according to His promises, He was among us.

You can’t see our Father in the photo, but according to His promises, He was among us.

You can’t see the Holy Spirit in the photo, but according to His promises, He was among us.

You can’t see it in the photo, but the Trinity was actually at our side.

When I look at that photo, I think of how many times I’ve told someone I would pray, rather than actually praying in that moment. I think of how many times I’ve told someone I’d pray, then completely forgot!

Sisters –Let’s stop promising to pray, and start linking hands to pray, on the spot. When we gather like that, we draw a deeper connection to one another, and we invite the Trinity to move powerfully in our presence.

Scripture says that one of the reasons we haven’t received God’s best for us … is because we haven’t asked! (James 4:2).

I want God’s best for me … and I also want God’s best for my sisters. I want to grow in intimate friendship with God, and also with His daughters.

Those relationships can begin when we say, “Let me pray for you.”

Let’s stop praying later, and start praying now.

Let’s stop saying, “I’ll pray for you,” and start saying, “Let me pray for you now.”

I know how intimidating that can be. But we don’t have to speak in the King James version. Thou hast no time for that! We don’t have to come up with all the right words.

Start like this: “Hi, God. It’s us.” Then go!

If you want to change the world today, kneel with someone you love and pray.

Today, I challenge each of us to find someone we can pray with — on the spot.

Pray at the bedside or in the cubicle. When you see a friend asking for prayer on Facebook, write a pray in the comments, or call her. Pray in the grocery store, at the dentist’s office, at the pool. Invite the trinity to move among you.

If you have a prayer request today, put it in the comments, and let the rest of us pray for you — on the spot.

Imagine a world where we all stopped what we were doing to pray, instead of promising to do it later. Your prayers make a difference. Each of us needs to know that the shaky-voiced prayer of a Jesus Girl ripples to the highest heaven and invites a powerful force upon the earth.

Dear Jesus,

Today, I pray for the prayer warriors. I pray that we would see ourselves the way You intended — set apart to do Your will in the world. Your power is often unleashed with these words: “Our Father …” Help us to pray — not later, but now. Help us to join together for the sake of a world that desperately needs You among us. Give us courage to kneel with Your sons and daughters. In Your Name, Amen. 

#TellHisStory

Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there!

Our featured writer this week is Lisa Burgess. We’re often quick to raise the bar, dismissing our accomplishments. I appreciate Lisa’s encouragement to linger in the moment and “practice contentment by enjoying today’s grace” before moving to the next thing. Find Lisa here.

To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. xo Jennifer

 


  • Sarah Geringer

    Yes, the Trinity surely was present in that room, Jennifer. I was so deeply blessed by your message. Thank you for having the courage to share it! Another woman blessed me richly by grasping hands and praying for me after a bad publisher appointment. God’s peace instantly returned to me through her prayer. I’ll never forget it, and I’ll do the same for others.

    • I have been waking up every morning with you gals on my heart and in my prayers. Believing big things will come out of that room. The Spirit is on the move through each one of you, and I can’t wait to read the books that will one day rise up from the beautiful women in that room! xoxox

      • Sarah Geringer

        Yes, it’s exciting to know that I probably met dozens of future authors and speakers!

  • Rebecca Lynn

    Yes! Amen! As God calls me to be more of a prayer warrior, I’m learning to get in the fight IMMEDIATELY rather than waiting for a more convenient time to pray. Oftentimes, that is how the enemy keeps us from prayer — through distraction, or forgetfulness. I love Suzie’s heart! I’m so honored to be a part of her SERVE team. Thank you for your faithfulness in answering God’s call on your life – and Praise Jesus that you see the great need for prayer over the work we do in His name.

    • ” … to get in the fight IMMEDIATELY…. ” Yaaaaaaassss. Well said, my friend.

      And yes, Suzie is a TREASURE. What is her SERVE team?

      • Part of her Living Free community – and SERVE is her behind-the-scenes group of prayer warriors. 🙂

  • Tara Ulrich

    Love this! Prayer is a powerful thing. For the last approximately six summers I’ve prayed through my FB friends list. It gives me such joy to pray for others. I’m in the midst of a transition listening to the calling of the Holy Spirit. Prayers that God would lead me to the right place and everything falls into place quickly would be greatly appreciated!

    • Ruth

      Heavenly Father, I thank you that You are leading Tara where You want her to go. I pray that she will dwell in You, that she will abide in You and Your words will abide in her, and that she will hear Your voice and follow You where ever you lead her. Please take away her fears and fill her with Your peace and with the power and courage she will need for all that You will call her to. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

    • That is such a cool idea, to pray through your FB friends list, Tara. …

      Dear Lord, I lift up my sweet friend Tara, during this time of transition. When everything changes, your Word says You are the unchangeable God. Be her Rock through everything she’s facing now. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • Robbin Griffith

    Amen!!!! I am trying to be much more BOLD and OBEDIENT when it comes to praying!! Many times I’ve felt led to pray for someone right then and there but didn’t want to call attention to myself, or didn’t want people to think I’m weird. Shame on me. God promises that where two or three are gathered, HE IS THERE!!! So what do I care what an unbeliever thinks when I’m in the presence of the King!! And if a believer thinks I’m weird, then they need prayer!!! I’ll be sharing this post with my friends and encouraging them to stop saying they’ll pray, and just do it!! And while I’m here I’d like to SHARE a prayer request. Nearly a year ago my beautiful Holy Spirit-filled mom (Donna) was diagnosed with colon cancer that had spread to her liver. She’s undergone a colon resection, chemo, a liver resection where they removed 70% of her liver, and now they want her to take more chemo and then have radiation in a couple of months to kill the one remaining tumor in her liver. I believe that the same power that raised Jesus from the grave LIVES IN US!!! I believe our God still heals. I ask for you all to join me in prayer for complete healing in the name of Jesus Christ for my mother. Thank you all and God bless you!!!!!

    • Lord, please be with Donna. Comfort and strengthen her and heal her body. Give her doctors wisdom and Donna peace about what to do. Surround her with love and joy and people who are your hands and feet and care for her. Please bring her complete healing in your son’s name. Amen.

    • Lord, I join Robbin in praying for her dear mama, Donna. I pray that you would guide the hand of every physician, nurse, and earthly healer — while also asking You to do the mighty Healing Work that only YOU can do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • Mitzi Neely

    Amen and love this so much Jennifer!! I was in that session at She Speaks 2017. One of the highlights for me was meeting you and listening to your wise and thought provoking words. God has gifted you and you have shared your knowledge so freely. I am finding myself more and more wanting to pray with people right where they are, instead of just saying those words. Thank you for the reminder to be bold and step out of our comfort zones to lay our prayers at His feet and further His Kingdom. Bless You!

    • Oh Mitzi — My heart is still so tender for all of you ladies who were in that session. I remember what it felt like to feel like I was “too small honey” while standing outside the big wooden door! Please know that I am cheering you on … and I have been & will continue to pray for you!

  • Lynn D. Morrissey

    this is so beautiful dear Jennifer and so convicting! How many times have I said, “I’ll pray for you,” and haven’t? This is both an encouraging post and accountability-inspiring one. I have started to do this more, when a friend relays a need. I ask her if we can just pray (or I even start before asking). But I haven’t done this so much in person and public. Thank you for this wake-up call to gather with our Triune God to approach His throne, sister to sister in prayer!
    Grateful to you!
    Lynn

    • I am grateful for you as well, Lynn, and all the ways you live your faith out loud in this world. Thanks for being here. I love you, friend.

  • Susan

    Jennifer, this conviction struck me 20 years ago. I have prayed in grocery lines, Walmart aisles, Target dressing rooms!!! Most people are receptive – if they aren’t then move on!!! I’ll be linking up tomorrow!

    • This doesn’t surprise me about you at all! You are such a blessing, Susan.

    • I have found this to be true – most people are receptive to pray because at the very least they feel important for just that moment in time.

  • Jennifer Perry

    Our family has been, and continues to be, in great need of healing and restoration. <3

    Thank you for this beautiful post!

    • Ruth

      Heavenly Father,
      You know Jennifer and her family. You see them and the struggles they are going through. You know what it is that needs to be healed and restored. Please draw each family member to Your side; reassure them of Your love. Help them to feel Your presence. Lord, I bring them to You and ask that You will give them the healing and restoration that they so badly need. Help them to know You and love You the way You want them to, with a sacrificial love that strives to walk in obedience to their Creator. Surround them with Your joy and Your peace. Help them to surrender all to You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

  • Pamela Filomeno

    THIS is PERFECT! <3

    Please pray for healing of mind, body, and spirit. I'm barely surviving right now.

    • Ruth

      Lord God,
      I thank you that You know Pamela and her situation. You are the One who created her body, mind, soul, and spirit. You know her intimately and love her no matter what. I ask that You speak peace to her spirit, truth to her mind, and healing to her body and emotions. I praise You that this is not too hard for You, for You are able to do great things. Please lift her up in Your loving arms and hold her close. Fill her with Your Spirit. Help her to be still and know that You are God and to surrender all to You. If the evil one has come against her, whispering lies to her mind and soul, please bind Him in Jesus’ name and send Him far away. Teach her Your way and Your truth, for You have promised that we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

      • Thanks for being a prayer warrior in the comment box this week, Ruth. You are a blessing!

    • Dear Jesus — We come to you, begging for your mercy, grace and provision for Pamela. Heal her, through and through. Fill her with Your strength. Give her renewed peace, and hope for the future. I don’t know the details — but I know that You do! Move mightily today in Pamela’s life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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  • I love this in so many ways! I could use prayers for direction in my writing. I’m feeling a little stuck and frustrated and unsure of myself.

    • Ruth

      Thank you, Lord, for the call that You have given Anita to write. I pray that You will help her to rest and be still before You, spending time with You and seeking Your face, and that You will not only bless her with the awesomeness of Your Presence, but that You will give her peace and guidance and the inspiration to know what to write and when to write it. Fill her with Your Spirit, and help her to hear Your voice and follow You wherever You lead her. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

    • Dear Lord — I lift up to you my soul sister, Anita. God, you are the great unsticker of stuck work. You say that with faith as small as a mustard seed, a mountain can be moved. We offer you our faith, and ask that you would push that mountain out of the way, so that she can move forward with her writing — all for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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  • Kristi Woods

    Absolutley beautiful, Jennifer – you, Suzie, and the prayer. My spiritual mentor prayed on the spot as well. It leaves a deep impact. Would love prayers concerning a manuscript – to work past that hump called fear. Thanks and praying for those noted below as well.

    • Ruth

      Thank you, Lord, for Kristi and for the call You have given her to write. I pray that You will banish fear from her in Jesus’ name and fill her with Your Spirit which You have given her, the Spirit of power and love and a sound mind.
      In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

      • Kristi Woods

        Thank you, Ruth. I’m “amening” over here as well.

    • Good morning, God! I come to you with Kristi on my heart and mind. I ask, Lord, that You would give her words of great power and strength, that come from You. Drive out those fears with Your perfect love. Give her divine inspiration today, in such a way that she is aware of Your awesome presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

      • Kristi Woods

        Thank you, Jennifer, and amen. xo

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  • Dianna Sharpe

    My sweet Jack left this earth praying for others no matter where he was he would ask if people needed prayer. It is my desire to be bold and pray for others like he did.

    • What a legacy! What an example. Thanks for sharing, Dianna.

  • Pam Ecrement

    Amen! Amen!! I have often had someone ask me to pray even as I pass them in a room and I will agree to do so and mean to, but I have started doing it right then so I do not get distracted and forget and also show the person I heard and took them seriously. The persons are almost always surprised that I respond right away!

    • It’s such a gift, to stop and pray, on the spot.

      I love what Suzie said in her Facebook post about this blog: “One thing I notice as I walk with Jesus in the Gospels is that he stopped when someone shared a need. Because he does that for us, we can do that for each other, right?”

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  • I’ve actually been convicted of this very thing lately — that my conversations with other believers are hardly distinguishable from those of unbelievers. I want to do better at acknowledging the presence of God in every room and take our concerns to Him together and often.

    • Me, too, Michele. I want to acknowledge His presence in all places. xo

  • I love this picture of you and Suzie! What a special moment. That woman is a prayer warrior for women. 🙂 Wish I could have heard you at She Speaks. Thanks for your message today. “Can I pray for you right now?” is so much better than, “I’ll pray for you.” I like, “Hi God. It’s us.” for a simple start that sounds so nonreligious, so good for when you’re offering to pray for nonbelievers, especially!

    • Yes! We sometimes over-complicate prayer, thinking we sometimes have to string together right-sounding words or else they won’t unlock the doors of heaven. God hears. He sees. He knows. Even if the words are from the simple vocabulary of a child.

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Jennifer,
    I stand convicted…instead of offering to pray, I need to grab hands more and pray right there on the spot. This moved me too as I watched Suzie pray with you before the session and oh what a mighty session it was. Evidence that Suzie’s prayers moved the Holy Spirit to speak through you that day. Thanks for a needed reminder! It was wonderful to see you!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • I was thrilled to see you, Bev. As I mentioned, I shared our photo with the women of (in)courage. We appreciate you more than words can express!

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  • Jennifer, this is a powerful story and so beautiful. Thank you for sharing a real example of someone praying on the spot, rather than just saying they’ll pray. I’m often convicted of saying I will because I want my word to be true and if I’m likely to forget, I don’t want to say it. It’s been challenging to pray in the moment, even if it’s short, but it’s something I greatly appreciate others doing for me. I love, love that this moment was capture in photo. It’s going to stick with me.

    • I’ve been convicted of the same, Jolene. Thanks for sharing!

  • Oh this! and You! I love you and I love this. What a gift of a reminder.

    • Thanks, LJB! We had such a great weekend at She Speaks. Have you ever been? Do you know Suzie Eller? I’ll bet you do. The first time I met her was at an incourage event, the year we visited Dayspring HQ. She’s a treasure.

      See you SOON!!!!!!

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  • Julie Loos

    Love in action! What a beautiful display of sisters in Christ!

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  • I try to do this. One, it keeps me honest – if I say it then I do it. Two – it really gives me an empathetic heart and I like what God is doing with that.
    I’m encouraged by this post and one day I will get to SheSpeaks.

  • I love this! {and Suzie’s attentiveness to the Spirit.} What a lesson for us all. I’ve begun to say “I’m praying for you now” stopping and doing that. I do have a running list but not everything makes it and my memory surely can’t catalog all of it! <3 I've seen from so many tweets & posts that you really blessed with your She Speaks talk. Not surprised!

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  • Jennifer, such a good word because there are days we all need prayer on the spot. Imagine how different our lives would all be if we did just that – prayed right then and there.

  • I try to be good about praying in the moment, but the truth is often I don’t want to bother people or hold them up with a prayer. That seems so silly after reading your words. What a great witness to the power of Jesus, and friendship, and inviting Him into the moment when we need Him most.

  • Jennifer – Yes, Jesus was there I have no doubt. First, the picture brought tears to my eyes and then the post. To see two beautiful women in prayer is breathtaking and then to read the story was beautiful. Yes, we say to often I will pray. I have tried to get in the habit to at least say something to God right there in the moment, in the email response as I send it, but I am sometimes reluctant to say, “can I pray right now with you.” You have encouraged me to step out a bit more.

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  • Gina Reynolds

    Love this! In my book I have a story of a friend who does this ALL the time, babies on hips, eyes open (to watch her kids) and prays right then and there! It’s so good! Wonderful story.

  • Denise Heidel

    I love this! I missed a chunk of your workshop because I had a publisher’s appointment, but what you said about the dinner party / being there for those who showed up (rather than worrying about those who said no to the RSVP) struck a chord with me. I mentioned it in my own She Speaks recap.

    And when you wrote above about needing to pray NOW… AMEN! I am really working on doing exactly that. Praying in the moment rather than hoping I remember when “designated prayer time” comes around.

    Thank you for all you did to make my first She Speaks an amazing experience!!!

  • Thanks for sharing my post, Jennifer! And I love your post this week. Imagine how different our world might be if instead of saying, “I’ll pray for you,” we actually stopped and prayed then and there. I definitely need to follow that advice more myself.

  • Nancy Ruegg

    SO appreciate this shot of adrenalin for our prayer lives, Jennifer. Prayer is not just for our closets! And I, too, must admit to saying I would pray and then forfeiting the opportunity to do so then and there. Other times I have prayed for people over the phone, in parking lots, even in the grocery store over the clerk. You’ve inspired me to up my prayer-game (!), ministering to others more powerfully, and augmenting our intimacy with God and each other.

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  • Tricia

    I love this! I had several women hear my story and just immediately stop and pray for me and my family while I was at the conference. Praying that God will allow me to be a person who just stops and prays with people on the spot instead of saying I will pray about it! Also, I loved your session! Thanks for being willing to share your gift!

  • I love this! So often people say they will pray but probably don’t follow through. I’ve started to pray immediately when someone asks me for prayer. I love that the woman snapped the photo.

  • Stacey Pardoe

    These words compel me to be more faithful in prayer. Thanks for sharing this post, Jennifer. It can feel far outside our comfort zones to bow in prayer in the middle of the grocery store or along the community walking trail, but what better way to love one another. Surely, these moments also captivate those who don’t understand Christ-followers. These moments remind me that we will be known to the world by how we love one another. Beautiful!

  • Mary Jane Perdue

    Jennifer, if I could ask that you pray that I can trust God to continue to provide for my boys in college. He has already provided so much I am.just scared that he won’t help us with the rest. Thank you!

  • Mary

    I love, love, love this post and I equally love Suzie’s prayer for you, Jen. And I shall remember to pray this over myself before I open my mouth during a presentation.

  • Caroline Cordle

    I have started to type out thebprauer of my heart when someone asks fornprayer online. Then I have actually prayed straight away. I need to be bold enough to do it in real life as well, when the opportunity next arises. Thank you for challenging my heart.

  • Allison Wixted

    Hi Jennifer! Just loved how God spoke to you through Suzie’s kind gesture to pray on the spot! What a wonderful challenge for us all!

    Thank you for your inspiring words and talks at SS 2017! I was one of the many beneficiaries! And thanks a bunch for sharing this amazing post on my blog’s SS 2017 Link Up! Blessings to you and all you do!

  • Sophia DeLonghi

    Thank you for posting this beautiful story of hope! I shared on Facebook.

  • Caroline Cordle

    I have been thankful in several circumstances for this post – it really challenged me. I’ve started typing out prayers on Facebook, and for the first time I phoned someone to pray with them when they were upset. It was such a joy to do it – thank-you for this post, and I will look for more ways to encourage others and blessing them in this way.

This is what we are all after this Christmas, right? We are all after more light, more Jesus. 🕯🔦💡... So let’s make it happen. Let’s make it all about Jesus. (Latest blog post in the profile) ift.tt/2j8VIGC pic.twitter.com/f1MRQ692QC