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Explore tools for critical reflection and spiritual practices to deepen your experiences.

Wide 55844493 intercessory prayer

Praying for Others

Praying for Others

Prayer, positive intentions, influence the world.

There are many ways to love our neighbor, but holding prayerful intentions on behalf of other people is among the most powerful. In this type of prayer, we bring the person or the circumstance that troubles us before God until we can sense and be changed by God’s response to that person or circumstance.

The Bible is full of examples of intercessory prayers. The prophets prayed for the people of Israel. Jesus faithfully prayed for his disciples, including in the final hours of his life when he prayed, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). The book of Hebrews even indicates that Jesus is always interceding for us (Hebrews 7:25).

Praying for others is our responsibility and our privilege. Take a few minutes to focus on the individuals or groups involved in the encounter you’ve just experienced. In your mind, bring each of these individuals or groups to God and hold them in prayer. Try to imagine God’s healing, restoration, and love as it might be expressed in response to your “intentional attention.”

  • Pray for those affected by the particular issue of concern.
  • Pray for those you imagine to be responsible for the condition of concern. Hold them up equally in your awareness and offer your intentions for them equally to God’s grace.
  • Pray for yourself that you will be guided by God’s wisdom as your contemplate your own personal response to the issue of concern.
  • Pray for the entirety of God’s creation and for all persons with whom we share the earth that we might all be held in God’s love and guided by God’s compassion.

This kind of intercessory prayer is not only a solitary practice. When we gather with others and lift up names of people and situations needing prayer, our intentions are amplified. This also occurs when we gather with several others to pray for a troubling situation.

You may choose to connect with others in response to the encounter you’ve just experienced, and together lift the issue up in prayer. Each person could offer their own intention followed by silence.