Instead of Complaining, Pray

I was with some friends in a restaurant, and the waiter seemed in a grumpy mood. When I commented about this, one of my friends said, “Then we need to pray for him.”

Her comment made me realize how many times I am quick to complain (even silently) about the way someone is behaving toward me. What if I were to pray instead of complaining?

God has called us to be salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). When we notice something amiss, our first response should be to invite the Holy Spirit into the situation.

This might mean we pray silently in intercession for the Lord to help the person who is in a grumpy mood. We have no idea what’s going on with that person to cause that behavior. They obviously need God to help them because they are not at peace. So we can pray and ask God to help that person.

We might even ask the person, “Are you okay? Can I pray for you?” Often in a busy restaurant, a waiter will not feel comfortable praying with you at the table. Although when I hang out with my intercessor friends, this happens sometimes. But the person might be willing to tell you how to pray. Or the person might simply say, “Yes, please pray for me” with no further explanation before walking off. The beauty of asking is that now this person knows someone is praying for them. And that alone can bring encouragement, hope, or peace, in addition to the spiritual power that your prayers will bring.

Your invitation to pray might not be face-to-face. Perhaps you are driving or sitting in traffic and someone cuts you off, yells, or acts crazy. Is your first reaction to complain and yell back? Or do you take that opportunity to invite the Holy Spirit and tell Him: “Someone needs your help. The person driving that car back there needs You. And I need You too.”

The tendency to complain might not be about a person, but rather about a situation. I am in a life circumstance right now that I do not like.

I have a choice:

I can muddle through this circumstance griping and complaining. All that does is fuel my anger and frustration. It disrupts the peace God desires to give me. It invites the enemy to push through those open doors of bitterness, fear, and futility.

Or I can choose not to complain, and instead I can pray. I can invite the Holy Spirit into the situation and ask Him to keep me in peace while He works.

It’s clear which is the better response. But the choice, in every situation, is ours to make.

Will you complain today? Or will you pray?

Dear God, teach us to pray instead of complaining. Help us to stay in Your peace and invite Your Spirit into difficult situations. Nudge us to pray for others throughout the day. When we encounter a person who is not at peace, remind us that our first response should be prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen