Am I able to pray that harm doesn't happen

Let’s say I am worried about my friend having something bad happen to them, like getting robbed, attacked, sexually assaulted, etc

Anything physical

I know I can pray that my friends be protected from the devil that he will not draw them into sin, but can I pray for something that doesn’t effect their soul

Sure! It’s not sinful to pray for physical protection. And, as when we pray for anything, we always trust in God’s Will.

Physical things that happen to us also affect our soul because we are a composite of body and soul. One unit made of both. What affects one affects the other.

Also, Jesus teaches us in the Our Father/Lord’s Prayer section of the Gospels to pray for our physical needs as well as our spiritual ones!

Of course! Think of all the non spiritual things people ask for -
Rain during a drought
Health for a sick child
Clarify when deciding on a new job or a move
Help finding lost objects…

Of course we pray for these things & our God who takes a person interest in us, listens!

1 Like

Of course you can! And you should :pray:t2:

1 Like

My mil relates the story of her aunt dragging her to church on D-day during WW II. She said that the church was packed with people praying for the safety of those storming the beaches. They were praying for the safety of those soldiers.


There is always good cause to pray for loved ones and friends to be protected from all sorts of things- spiritual, physical, or anything else. Pray for strangers sometimes too! Everyone can use that protection from above :blush:


You can pray that God blesses and protects your friend or family member. I have often said such prayers for the Pope or for others who I think need them.

Just be careful you don’t get superstitious about it. Like if the Pope had an accident or a heart attack, I wouldn’t think, “Oh no, my prayer didn’t work” or “It’s my fault because I didn’t remember to pray for his protection this morning, or I didn’t specifically pray against him having a heart attack.” God’s will be done even when it’s not what we are praying for.


Agreed. That’s a form of OCD and should be discussed with a professional.


Do our prayers have any impact on God’s will?

Yes and no. Scripture shows that humans’ prayers can have an effect on what God does, because he likes us to pray and ask him for things, and will sometimes grant the things people pray for. However, God is not fixed in time and has perfect knowledge of everything; therefore he knows in advance if we will pray and what the effect/ outcome will be.

Prayer is more a means for us to communicate with God and understand/ accept his will rather that a way to change God’s will. It is also likely our prayers have other positive effects for us, others and the world that we don’t fully appreciate.

1 Like

If you hang around in bad places bad things will happen - hang around with bad people bad things happen - choice. You can pray for someone but free will is involved. Some times bad things happen to good people at no fault of their own. I have seen really good people destroyed by others. The sun shines and it rains in everyone’s life regardless of faith the bible is clear on that.

1 Like

Your friends have free will. Even Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil, we are all tempted. The devil does not “draw” anyone into sin. Sometimes he tempts everyone, sometimes we simply enter into sin because we want to, all free will.

Our prayers have been part of God’s Plan from the foundation of the world. Ask and you shall receive.

Obviously and demonstrably incorrect.

Only to those who oversimplify it. The Lord will not reward prayers with selfish motives, and He often requires of us that we pray with persistence.

1 Like

God does not reward the good prayers and reject those who are not persistent. That is the heresy called the “prosperity gospel”.

We pray because it is conversation with Our Father, Christ taught us to always pray “thy will be done”.

Of course you can. My husband spends a lot of time on the road, and I always ask God to bring him home to me safely. Nothing wrong with praying for the well being of others – or even of yourself.

1 Like

Did I not say that it won’t work to pray for selfish reasons?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit