On New Year's Eve morning I was out for a walk when I ran into Bev, who was also taking her morning constitution. We joined our energies and went a half-mile or so together, comparing our Christmas notes and our heart pangs for unsaved family members. Then Bev was about to go her way and I mine, when I said I wanted to pray for all this. So we stopped on a corner and bowed our heads and prayed a while.
Later on the same walk I came across Art, and as we chatted he told me he would be having back surgery and that his legs were very weak, and strangely hot, as if there was Bengay rubbed all over them. I told him I wanted to pray for him there on the spot, so we bowed our heads at the corner of Easton Road and Keswick Avenue and talked to the Lord about his health.
I had a pastor many years ago who taught us many things, especially by example. If a person met him in passing and asked, "Pastor Miller, will you pray for me?" he would typically stop and pray with the person immediately. He explained that if he were to just say, "Yes, I will pray for you," he would probably forget later.
I find Jack Miller's practice helpful and have also become an "instant" prayer, and for the reasons that he gave. Moreover, I notice that Paul the Apostle was also an "instant" prayer:
"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, in every prayer of mine for you all, making my prayer with joy …" (Philippians 1:3-4).
If there are ungodly habits, there are surely also godly habits. Praying instantly for people who cross our minds has several benefits: Most obviously, it ensures that we will add deeds to intentions and not be found sinning against God and our neighbors by giving and then breaking our word.
Secondly, praying instantly is a way of keeping our mind in the "groove" of spiritual thought patterns; we give Satan very little opportunity for a wedge of access. Thirdly, praying instantly, and thus being always at God's disposal for intercession, is an excellent way of inviting the continuous guidance of the Spirit. With minds ever yielded to him rather than to sin, we give him carte blanche to plant suggestions for prayer all through the day.