Is it ok to pray for


Sometimes I see someone with a disability or is physically struggling due to old age and I pray for them in passing, I’m wondering though should we pray for people who have not asked for our prayers?

(I expect this has come up before.)


You absolutely should. That’s very charitable.


Yes this is alright. Prayers are not invasive they are supportive. They’re not meant to influence but to love. Praying is as needful for us as for those we pray for. :slight_smile:


Thank you both for your help.

It is the aspect of interfering that made me doubt what I was doing. I began to wonder if I might be interfering with the divine plan for an individual but of course God’s will is done no matter what I pray for.
I have sometimes wondered this about those who heal too.


It is fine to pray for anyone you wish. I frequently say a quick prayer for disabled people I see, or moms who are frazzled with crying kids, or jaywalkers who walk in front of my car. Just a “Please help that person, Lord” prayer.

I do not pray in a way anyone would hear, or tell the person I prayed for them unless we get into a conversation and they seem open to the idea of prayer.

It’s important to understand Catholic prayer is just an asking God to help the person. It does not have any effect like converting them to Catholicism or somehow making them a member of the church against their will. Also, be aware that some people react badly to prayers, so unless you are pretty sure the person is okay with them, be careful about mentioning you prayed for them.


Thanks. I wouldn’t mention that I pray for anyone to them, i think that would be self -serving. I think we should avoid that at all costs.


It typically comes up when someone is sick or has lost a loved one and someone posts a prayer on social media or you tell the bereaved you’re praying for them or praying for the soul of the deceased. If they or their deceased loved one was an atheist, or from a faith where they don’t pray for the dead, they can be very upset.


It is a common pious practice to pray every time you hear an ambulance or fire siren, someone needs help = they need prayers.


One of my sons has quite a bad disability and has been approached in public and asked if he would mind if they ‘laid hands’ on him. He has allowed this but has been slightly affected by the resulting failure. It hasn’t helped him with his unbelief put it that way.

But I’m digressing away from the thread slightly.


And add a prayer for the first responders too.


When my youngest son would hear or see an ambulance when he was about 4 or 5, we used to say “God bless somebody” as it passed by. I think he used to like being the first to say it. I recently found out that 16 years later, he still says it. :slight_smile:


Yeah, that seems a bit intrusive to me. It could be because it’s just not my tradition. In Catholicism, those who wish to have hands laid on them generally would request it by asking a priest to pray over them or by presenting themself at a “healing Mass” where that went on.


On occasion, don’t we sometimes help a stranger who doesn’t ask for help? For example, you might hold a door open for someone on crutches. Once in a while, someone will take offense, but most of the time they seem grateful. Just don’t make a show of it.

In the same way we can pray for others who do not ask for prayers. The prayers are efficacious even if the person doesn’t know about it, because it is not by our speaking or their hearing, but by God’s power alone.


Just be charitable in how you do it. What you perceive as a disability the individual himself may see as normal. Don’t pray for another if you wouldn’t be equally comfortable with them returning the favor based on how they perceive you.

I need other words, don’t pray for the Lord to heal someone that doesn’t believe they need healing (e.g., a deaf person), and if you ask the Lord to help that poor soul over there, they may well be praying the same for you (which we should welcome).

Just saying, several “disabled” friends and family have taught me that we’re not being as nice, comforting, or friendly as we might think we’re being when we single them out due to the issues we see… would we treat the person on the bench without a cane the same as we would treat one with?


I understand the point you’re making completely. I also know someone with a serious disability which could possibly be relieved by an operation. However the operation has some serious risks involved and this persons point was “why does everyone think I want to be healed!” It was a bit of a shock to hear this but when I thought about it in depth I could see how actually this persons life was totally adapted to living with a disability, physically and financially too.
It’s a good point, I am thinking however based on comments and ideas here that when saying such a prayer we are petitioning God in a way and of course He knows everything about the person were praying for and His will be done.


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