Home Small Group Leaders Articles for Small Group Leaders What It Means to Say I’m Praying for You

What It Means to Say I’m Praying for You

praying for you

I’m praying for you.

How often do you say these words, and what does it mean to say, I’m praying for you? Especially in a small group setting, I’d like to suggest that at the heart of praying for others is the word friendship—friendship with people and friendship with God.

There’s a beautiful example of prayer and friendship in Luke 11. One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” The disciples asked Jesus for a lesson on prayer, but many of us quit listening after the sample prayer in verses 2-4. But the Lord’s answer includes what it means to say I’m praying for you. His answer stretches all the way to verse 13.

When Jesus Explained I’m Praying for You

After Jesus provided a sample prayer he continued with seven simple words that can forever change our idea of prayer: “Suppose one of you has a friend . . .” (Luke 11: 5) Jesus moved the conversation from the content of prayer to the relationship between God and man. He calls this relationship friendship.

Some friendships stand on stick-legs; they can’t hold much weight. Every single conversation has to be measured carefully to avoid damaging the relationship. Jesus, on the other hand, presents the example of a friendship so strong that both people can say exactly what they think without any worry of ruining their bond.

The Lord’s example is a story of two men who knew each other so well they could be completely honest. One guy receives an unexpected visitor late at night and needs to provide hospitality. He goes to his friend’s house–even though it’s too late at night to drop by–and asks for extra food. His friend says, “Are you nuts? It’s way too late, come back tomorrow.” Yet the relationship is so strong that the first guy can say, “I’m not leaving until I get what I need.”