People of all theological sorts like to say ‘I’m praying for you’ when something happens. Indeed, the entire country ‘is thinking of you’ if something terrible happens in your town or to your community. But I’m not so sure we should welcome all those prayers offered up on our behalf. Why? Because what assurance do we have that the person doing the praying is in right relationship to God and that their prayers are going to be heard in the first place.
James writes ‘… the heartfelt prayer of someone upright works very powerfully.’ (Jas. 5:16). You read that right, if a person is upright, their prayer is powerfully effective. The contrary is also true. If a person is not upright (righteous) then their prayer is completely ineffective.
When a godly sort promises to pray for you, that should please you beyond words because you have the assurance that God will pay attention to their pleadings. But when the ungodly offer up a prayer on your behalf, it goes nowhere. Indeed, when the godly pray for your it’s like a skilled a well practiced surgeon operating on your brain. You can have confidence in their skill, experience, and training. You know they aren’t going to hurt you- they’re going to help you. On the other hand having some godless wretch offer up a prayer for you is like having your drunk neighbor who’s also high on meth cutting your head open. You just don’t want that.
So the next time someone tells you they want to pray for you- you might want to ask them to hold off on it until you learn whether or not they’re really qualified to do it. For my part, I’d rather have one godly sort remember me than all the wretches in the world.