When My Prayers Seem Redundant

When I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep, I sometimes pray.

Often, the next thing I’m aware of is the alarm going off in the morning. Other times, I pray and pray and pray, and then I start thinking about what I’m praying, and then … this.

God is with me

A friend came to mind one night. I started praying. “Lord, be with So-and-So.” Then I stopped, struck by how frequently I begin prayers with a phrase that’s actually quite redundant.

Why do I always ask God to be with people, when He has promised over and over again in His Word that He already is exactly that?

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you.” (Deut. 31:8)

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” (Psalm 23:4)

“When you pass through waters, I will be with you.” (Isaiah 43:2)

“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

God is with us.

Whether we pray for Him to be or not. Whether we feel it or not. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we think we deserve it or not.

In good times and in bad, He is with us.

I know this is a whole lot of semantics. And trust me—if someone prays for me, and all she says is, “Lord, be with Lois today,” I am profoundly grateful.

But if I want to be more disciplined in prayer (which I do), I wonder if I should frame my words a little differently sometimes.

That night, as I lay there wide awake, I came up with some alternatives.

Instead of, “Lord, be with So-and-So …” I could say, “Lord, thank you for being with So-and-So.” Or, “Please help So-and-So to feel your presence today.” Or, “I don’t know how it’s possible for you to be with So-and-So in the middle of her pain, but you are, and you always will be.”

Clearly, this has more to do with the care with which I approach my prayers than it does with my actual words. There are times when, “Lord, be with So-and-So” is all I’ve got. In fact, sometimes I even stop at, “God, for So-and-So …,” trusting that the One who intercedes before the throne of Heaven on our behalf knows what my friend needs far better than I do. (Romans 8:26-27)

But if I’m honest with myself, I have to admit that there are other times when, “Lord, be with So-and-So” is just plain laziness on my part.

Nothing more, nothing less.

And when it comes to talking to my Heavenly Father about another member of our family, maybe I can do better than that.

Lois Flowers

P.S. An excerpt from this post is featured at Purposeful Faith today, along with a sampling of writing from other bloggers who participate in Kelly Balarie’s weekly linkup. If you’re in need of some mid-summer encouragement, you just might find it here. I’m also linking up this week with Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory and Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart.

12 Responses to When My Prayers Seem Redundant

  1. Kristi says:

    Lois, recently a similar thought came to mind. For real. I like your scriptural reinforcement that He is with us. We could offer prayers that the other party (or ourselves) recognize He is with us, know He is there…. Love your thoughts in writing.

  2. MB says:

    You make an excellent point! I guess when I pray “Lord be with so-and-so,” what I really mean is, “Lord please help so-and-so feel your presence today.” I’ll try and keep that in mind for future prayers 🙂

  3. Bethany says:


    Have we been praying together telepathically?? Each of those prayers, redundant and more specific, have been my go-to’s in regular, nightly praying!

    Thank you for sharing this and offering the gentle but convicting suggestion that when we pray this way out of laziness, we could do better! Taking it to heart.

    Love from #RaRaLinkup!

  4. That is a great point- He is already with us, Emmanuel. Stopping over from the #RaRaLinkup. 🙂

  5. Kim Jones says:

    Lois, I love this! It is so true. I have been feeling stagnant in my prayers lately, which I can’t stand. These are amazing suggestions to be more thoughtful in prayer. I agree there is no bad prayer, but I, like you, want to be thoughtful and grow in my prayer life. So glad to be featured alongside you today over at Kelly’s. Look forward to reading more of your inspiring words! kim from Hunt & Host

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Kim, I like how you describe it as being thoughtful in prayer. Even though it’s just a small adjustment, I’ve found that purposely not praying for God to “be with” people helps me to focus so much better and keeps me from just rattling off a bunch of things without really thinking about what I’m saying. I still find myself doing it from time to time, but I’m more aware of it now. Thanks so much for your kind words today!

  6. Anita Felzke says:

    I couldn’t relate more to a topic than today’s that you wrote about: When My Prayers Seem Redundant! Plus, I do the same thing when I wake at night – pray. I love your blog and look forward to reading the entry whenever I see one pop up in my inbox.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      And I was so happy to see YOUR name pop up in the comment section today, Anita! You, of course, are near and dear to our hearts around here, and I love knowing you are reading the blog. 🙂

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