A Toenail and a Prayer

Remember these?

Those were the toes my cousin painted for me over a month ago at our family reunion. I loved them, enjoyed them, and felt all kinds of pretty with them.  I am sad to say that toenails are made to grow. Therefore, I finally had to remove them last week. (I removed the pretty painted flowers, not the toenails. Wow. Someone should edit that sentence to make it clearer and less disgusting.)

While I enjoyed the pretty toenails very much, what I enjoyed even more is how looking at them reminded me of the cousin who painted them for me. I only see her once each year now that we’re all grown up, and shucks, I miss her. And so, each time I saw my toes, which was quite a few times each day, I would think of Carie, and say a prayer for her. Yes, my toes would bring her to mind.  (Should she be honored…or mortified?)  Each time I thought of her, I would immediately breathe a prayer for her. Prayers for her as she raises her daughters. Prayers for her marriage to continue to be strong. Prayers for the business she and her husband own and run. Prayers for her health. Prayers for her parents. Prayers for her siblings. Wow, it was a great month of praying for Carie. Of course, now I miss her more, but that’s okay. God’s got her covered, and I’ve got my great memories. 

It just so happens that I also say a prayer each time I start a load of laundry. Why? Because filthy socks all bunched up in a wad always turn my thoughts to all things spiritual…obviously.  (How I wish.)  Actually, the real reason is because I order my laundry detergent through my sister-in-law, Kari. Instinctively then, seeing the laundry box makes me think of Kari. And thinking of Kari makes me pray for Kari. Here’s hoping that Kari feels uber blessed, because goodness, I do a lot of laundry each week. That’s a lot of prayer, my friends. (If you’re wondering, the detergent I use is Shaklee – the only kind I trust for my family, especially with Malachi’s sensitive skin. Ask me more if you want info. Then you can pray for Kari while you’re doing laundry too. How ’bout that?)  :)

I pray for my cousin Deb each time I do dishes (again, that’s a lot of prayer!). I pray for friends as I drive by their homes. I pray for my children when I trip over the shoes they once again failed to put away in the closet.

Oh wait. No. I don’t. I should, but I tend to mutter (or holler) something other than a prayer when I trip over their shoes. I guess I need to work on that one. (She says, sheepishly.)

We’re all busy. We say we’ll pray for our friends and loved ones, especially while they are going through tough times, but do we always remember? I’m afraid I don’t always.

Having a physical reminder is always helpful, and sometimes necessary, for me to remember to pray specifically for someone. Who knew that God could use crusty socks for his purposes? :)

Oh, and hey, if you need prayer and you want to come over and paint my toenails, I wouldn’t say no.

What helps you to remember to pray for others?


  1. Hanneke says

    We have a list of people to pray for, divided into four. Family, each family plus children, church family, missionaries, ‘special’ people ie widow/ers, sickness, etc. We pray at our family devotions for one of each list(which is on our dining room wall), works a treat! We’ve prayed for some of the ‘specials’ for a couple of years and have been able to tell them that we are praying for them! It works for us!


  2. says

    In college, when I used to wear make-up (none has touched my face since my wedding day 2 years ago!), I had assigned a person to each item of make-up and would thus pray for them as I applied that item to my face. I don’t do something similar now, but I do try to make a habit of praying out loud while I am driving around town. I was challenged to do this when I was working at a Christian day camp several years ago and try to continue the practice now.


  3. Tracy Compaan says

    Love this reminder to “pray without ceasing”. You make it much more attainable and sound so much easier than I make it out to be. Thanks for the kind exhortation!


  4. Deb says

    LOVE this post. You are such an encouragement, Laura. Your family is truly blessed, you ARE the Proverbs 31 woman.


    Claire Reply:

    I second this!


  5. says

    I use the shower as my quiet time to try to think back and remember who needs prayer/who I promised to pray for. I understand exactly what you mean, when my mom was sick, everybody and their cousin said they were praying for all of our family, but a lot of times it felt like something they were just saying and wouldn’t act on. Since then I have strived very hard to not do that, I try extra hard to remember to pray for my friends, especially when I promise to.


  6. Brooke says

    I love it!
    I have random things in the day that remind me to pray for others. Mostly when people just pop into my head and I know they need prayers.
    When I get frustrated at the kids, I sometimes, stop to say a quick prayer of sanity and heart change to love them no matter what and to say the right things, the encouraging words. Still have a lot to grow with on that one.
    I love knowing that God is always listening.


  7. Vonda says

    I pray whenever I see an emergency vehicle ….prayers for the responder and those in need of help. I love your ideas of visual cues as reminders for those we need to lift up in prayer.


  8. says

    I love this, Laura! Not only do I want to act on this, but I want to let the person I’m praying for know that I’m thinking of them and praying for them in this way… like if I had a cousin who painted my toenails, I’d take a picture of my toes and make it into a card to mail her.

    Thanks for the inspiration!


  9. says

    We sat down shortly after we got married and made a list of 31 people/organizations. Since there are 30 or 31 days in a month, we pray for the person or the organization that is assigned to that day. For example, today is the 8th and my roommate from college is number 8 on the list so we pray for her at breakfast, dinner, and before bed. It is really fun to see how the list has changed over the years…we just pencil in new friends or new babies or new marriages.


    Emily Reply:

    I love this idea! We are going to try it in our home!


  10. rachel berkheiser says

    When we moved into our house, I wasn’t too excited about the fact that the back yard faces a major highway. But over the years I’ve learned to look out at my kitchen window and pray for the people driving by. Just praying for strangers helps me to refocus and be thankful.


  11. Beth says

    I also pray for people when I see things that remind me of them. I have a friend whose email address.is her 3 initials so I am very used to associating those 3 letters with her. I frequently see license plates with her initials on them and that reminds me to pray for her.


  12. Kathy says

    I have a friend who is having a particularly difficult time, so I got a set of “friendship bracelets”. I wear one to remind me – OFTEN – to pray for her. I sent the other one to her and asked her to wear it to remind her – OFTEN – that someone is praying for her. Those bracelets seemed silly in elementary school, but not so silly now!


  13. Melissa says

    I can’t take credit for this. I wish I remembered where I got this idea and I would give credit for it but it’s this: Save all of the Christmas cards you receive and put them in a basket. Select one a week and pray for that family. This week we prayed for my sister’s family and so I asked her how we could pray for them specifically. My niece was having bad dreams. It was a faith booster for both my niece and my children (and their parents) to see how God answers specific prayers! No bad dreams in several nights!!! God is good.


  14. Serenity says

    Love it! I have done a “cookie fast” before. Bake cookies for someone that you need to remember to pray for. Save some for your family. Everytime your family enjoys a cookie you remember to pray for the person you baked them for. The only slightly sad part is that then you don’t eat the cookies :)


  15. Candice says

    Well, now… I can always use extra prayer, so if you’re ever in Stanwood, WA look me up :)


    Candice Reply:

    I forgot to say… because I own a nail salon!


  16. Linda says

    I do the same thing! I have a friend who is a Sheriff’s Deputy, so whenever I see a sheriff’s vehicle I pray for her. If I see an emergency vehicle on a run, I pray for the emergency responders and the people in need of their help. I use many daily reminders to pray for people I know. I ask God to remind me, and He is SO faithful to give me something that will remind me to pray for them. Sometimes it’s for an extended period of time, and sometimes it’s just for a short season. OH, and for several months, filing my nails was a reminder to pray for one person I know! ;)


  17. Carmen says

    Love it! I once read a book by a woman who said she prays for her husband every time she’s stopped at a stop light. :) Having things you do every day remind you of a special person really helps you remember to pray for them!


  18. Claire says

    Since I’ve read this, I’ve started to notice how many people per day come into my mind and my heart, and I think about them extensively without petitioning God on their behalf. This post has been more of a blessing than you know!


  19. Jessica says

    What an amazing post!!! I really love the idea that God uses crusty socks as a reminder. Thank you for making me think a little differently about my children’s clutter.


  20. says

    Great post! I am reminded to pray for folks by household items, usually something the person gave to me (so, give me presents so I’ll pray for you? That’s not sounding right!).
    At my bridal shower my youth pastor’s wife gave us a butter dish. Since I look at that quite a bit I’m reminded to pray for them a lot. My grandmother gave me a KitchenAid mixer, so when I see it I pray for her and my grandpa. Mostly kitchen items remind me to pray for people:)
    When I unball dirty socks I pray for me, that I would have a good attitude toward my husband and kids;) Seriously, if dirty socks are the worst thing in my life, I have it pretty good!


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