A couple of years ago, I made a simple but life altering resolution: never delay to pray. I found myself saying “I will keep you in my prayers” a lot and often I would indeed do that, but as often I would forget. The phrase felt more like just something Christians say to each other. A nice sentiment.
So now when someone expresses a need, a joy, or an unfulfilled hope to me, I say, “Can I offer a short prayer?” I might take his hand or place my hand on her shoulder if it seems appropriate. Always best to ask permission. Then I pray usually no more than 10 seconds if it is in public.
The whole purpose of this blog and my book is to encourage you to make the same resolution. You will be surprised how easy it is and how large of an impact it can make.
You may also be surprised how few, if any, people turn you down. The key is to listen and observe. Remember that the goal is not to pray with people. The goal is to respond to need. If people feel like their need is being attended to rather than your need to pray or spread the gospel, then you will always get a yes.
It also might mean that you have to do something in addition to praying. Prayer often accompanies action. For example, if someone is hungry feed him.
Do not forget to include the people closest to you. When your spouse or you child or your brother or your mother or your best friend is struggling offer to pray. I have found that good listening followed by prayer is a heck of a lot more helpful and welcome than my advice.
In short: never delay to pray! Make a resolution today and begin to change the world starting with your own.