There is a commercial running for Vermont Teddy Bear Company that asks ‘what are you giving your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day?’ It starts with the traditional: flowers and chocolates.
But it then points out that flowers will be dead in a week, and chocolates will make one fat, or lead to a similar argument. So the commercial advocates buying a 4 foot tall, giant stuffed teddy bear.
Now I largely agree that flowers are a waste, for they will be dead in a week or less; and chocolates are nice, but they too are temporary. And as for the bear, well, he is a huge bear and not very practical for most people.
No, the surefire way to impress your Valentine is to tell them four simple words: I pray for you.
Think about that: I pray for you. I pray that your Father who is in heaven, who has called you to be His own in the waters of Holy Baptism, would watch over you, guard you, and protect you all the days of your life. I pray that your day goes well, that the Lord would prosper your activities, and that He would bless you in all that you do.
I pray for you is not just a Valentine’s Day deal either, for this is the gift that keeps on giving. I pray for you every day of the week, I pray for you on a Saturday in February just as I would pray for you on a Tuesday in July or a Sunday in November. I pray for you even when there is no worldly pressure to do so.
We pray for the people we care about; we pray for the things that concern us; we pray for those things that weigh upon our hearts. We go to God in prayer with things we would not necessarily reveal to others. To pray for someone else is to mention their name in the personal confines of your conversations with God, and to say that this person matters to me, and I come to You, the Lord of heaven and earth, and ask that You would be with them, just as You are with me.
You won’t find I pray for you on a card at Hallmark, nor will it come imprinted on pieces of candy at Walmart. But to tell someone that you pray for them is to tell someone, whether it is your Valentine or a youth at the church or a neighbor next door, that you care for them, and that you desire that God the Father in heaven would look down upon them with favor.