How to Pray for Others?

Ok, I watched the Passion of the Christ, and now I’m all full of questions…

What is the “correct” way to pray for other people, and not be selfish? Let’s say that a person is ill. I know I need to pray for them, but how? Ask God for what? For what I THINK should be done? For HIS will? Do I say “Please help this person to get better”, but it may not be God’s will for the person to get better. Do I say “Please spare this person pain”, when it may be God’s will to have the person to endure pain for other reasons? How do we pray for something, when we know God’s Will, will be done regardless of our prayers? To pray “God, so-n-so is sick, and your Will will be done” seems to be pointless.

I guess I’m looking on how to pray productively when praying for others.

PS - If I completly confused you with my question, the Excedrin is on me.

God knows our hearts and minds, so it’s fine to pray that someone be healed or a situation be turned around for someone, but we also follow Jesus’ example as He prayed in the garden for the cup to be taken from Him “Not my will, but thine be done.”

I find it helpful to pray that God will send His mercy and grace upon whoever I am praying for and that God will draw them closer to Himself during their trials and bring healing to their souls.

God has infinite mercy and love and grace and is waiting to shower it upon us, but He has also given us free will, so we must ask for it for ouselves and for others. He also knows what is best for each of us in any situation, so even though the outcome might not be what we think it should be, it will always be for their spiritual benefit.

Dear friend

I agree with Didi. We should pray for every person we know and meet, pray for their physical and spiritual health, as well as those we do not know but know are suffering e.g. those in Sudan, Tsunami area, homeless in major cities and elsewhere, people who have had abortions, children who suffer, for governments and powers etc etc…this is a general prayer of course which is not always specific to any one person , but to a number of people who suffer a common trial.

In praying we are performing THE most important corporate work of mercy, the Mass is the biggest prayer of the church and you can ask for the intention of a Mass to be offered for a particular person or particular reason.

Please don’t feel your prayers of petition are of no purpose, they are very powerful and of purpose, through prayer we are in a position ask God to reshape the world! To reshape souls and God requires for us to interceed for others, in this we are brothers and sisters in Him.Not one single step in faith can be taken without prayer, prayer is the axis upon which faith is built and grows nourished and fulfilled in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist.

Pray and ask the Lord for anything, if it not for the good of you soul or of others, He will not grant it, but you do not know what is good for others, so you ask the Father to help them and ask Him to do what is best for a soul in need and no prayer is ever left unanswered. Every prayer is answered according to His Holy Will.

God Bless you and much love and peace to you


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What Didi and springbreeze said. I’ll add not to worry about selfishness in prayer. This is not magic casting that requires us to formulate a perfectly selfless wording in order to get God to listen. Prayer is communion with God, so tell Him absolutely everything: hopeful dreams, greasy desires, whatever. He knows your heart, and will take what you say and make it right. This is why many pray through Mary. We take our concerns to Our Mother and ask her to present them to Our Lord. Since she is more righteous than us, she can take our imperfect prayer, clean it up, and present it pristine to God.


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A while back, we had a pastor that gave an interesting view about prayer. He had conducted some funerals, where the young people who died had led a very bad life, treated others badly, hurt others physically and mentally Etc. (Young gang members). The pastor said that he felt that some of the good that people do in this life can apply to their loved ones, who’s lives ended so suddenly. In other words, prayer can be the offering of good works for the benefit of another soul. Interesting view.

Deacon Tony

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