Timing is Everything

A new friend just lost her husband a few weeks ago. On Mothers Day night, he died in his sleep leaving his wife and three daughters reeling. They were anticipating the youngest daughter’s graduation the following week. She graduated, but her daddy wasn’t there to hug her and beam with pride.

When I heard the news, compassion punched me in the gut, and a prayer tumbled from my lips. Oh, Lord, help them.

When tragedy strikes in someone’s life, it’s easy to remember to pray for them—at first. But with time, other concerns push what once felt urgent to the periphery of our minds. It sounds terrible, but I think it’s just the way we are.  It doesn’t mean we don’t care. We just get distracted by, well, life.

I don’t want to forget to pray for my friend, so I set an alarm on my phone to remind me to pray for her daily. Before I set the alarm, I thought carefully about what time to set it for. What time of day would a new widow need prayer the most?

I decided on 10:30 p.m. While I’ve never been a widow, I can imagine bedtime would be hard. Though my friend has to be strong and present for her daughters all day, when she closes her door at night, it’s just her and God and a half-empty bed.

I’m praying for her to feel God’s arms around her throughout the night. I’m praying for peace to be her pillow. I’m praying for those new-morning mercies to wake her up with hope each morning.

I won’t keep that alarm on my phone forever. One day, the Holy Spirit will prompt me to set an alarm for someone else. And that time, it might be set for 8:00 a.m. or straight-up noon or 3:30 p.m., depending on who it’s for.

Think about someone in your life who could use your daily prayers.

  • Maybe it’s a friend battling cancer, who feels weakest in the morning.
  • Maybe it’s your husband who has his most stressful meetings after lunch.
  • Maybe it’s your child who has his or her toughest class sixth hour.
  • Maybe it’s your mom who suffers from insomnia.
  • Maybe it’s a missionary who teaches a bible class every Wednesday at 3:00.

Set an alarm on your phone for that specific time your loved one needs God’s help and strength, and let the person know about it. I let my friend know of my prayer alarm, not to earn kudos from her but to assure her of my daily prayers. She didn’t object to the time I chose, so I think I hit the mark.

Don’t get me wrong. God hears our prayers no matter when we pray, and His provision is right on-time, always.

But think about the last time you were going through something terribly hard. How encouraged would you have been if you knew someone was praying for you at just the time you needed it? Prayer isn’t just about talking to God; it’s also about encouraging the people for whom we’re praying. There’s such comfort in knowing someone’s standing in the gap for us.

Prayer is a powerful way to show you care, and sometimes, timing is everything.

Lord, keep my heart sensitive to the needs of those around me. Show me who needs my daily, timely prayers. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN

Who needs you to set a prayer alarm just for them? Leave a comment, and give me the privilege of praying for them, too.