How to pray for a friend in need

If you’re an average sort like me then you’ve had plenty of opportunities to offer a friend or family member a well-meaning, “I’ll remember you in my prayers.” Sometimes you say this via Facebook or Twitter and you say, “sending thoughts and prayers your way,” or just plain, “thinking of you.”

And then, because you’re average like me…

You forget about that need, that promise, that prayer.

We don’t want to forget. We don’t want to be so focused on other things, but we are, and we do.

I learned a long time ago that my promises are only as good as my memory. So, here’s how I apply this lesson to praying for people I intend to pray for.

1. Pray Immediately

If I promise to pray for someone, I do it right then, right there, on the spot. I do this because I believe prayer matters. It’s worth doing, and I want to encourage that person’s faith and hope in the God who hears and answers. If I put it off, I’m very likely to forget about it. This is plan A. If some circumstance is preventing my praying immediately, then I turn to plan B. I write it down, so I’ll actually remember to pray later. (For my memory, if it isn’t written down, it doesn’t exist.)

2. Pray Personally

If someone asks me to pray for them, I often offer to pray aloud with them. Again, that way I remember to follow through on my promise to pray and, I have an opportunity to help encourage that person’s faith and hope.

3. Pray in Writing

If you ask me to pray for you via Facebook, Twitter, text, or email. I’m likely to send back a short written prayer and maybe even a Scripture verse right away. Why? You know by now.

4. Pray Purposefully

Everyone is in a different place spiritually, and that means their understanding of who God is, how He works, what His plan is, etc, etc varies from person to person. So when someone asks me to pray for them, or even if I offer to pray unasked, my purpose is to help that person move a little bit further along the path toward a fuller understanding of God.

In other words if I ever pray for you, I want you to be a little more equipped to pray confidently on your own, or for someone else when you have the opportunity.

5. Pray Confidently

You don’t need a PhD in Biblical Studies to pray for a friend. You can approach God with faith that He hears your prayers for Christ’s sake with very little understanding of the Bible.

Go ahead, pray. God has a generous heart and listens to our stammering words patiently as we would to a toddler. Even if you just recite The Lord’s Prayer, God will hear and be gracious.

6. Pray Biblically

That being said, I certainly pray differently now than I did 30 years ago. And you will pray differently a year from now than you would today if you made reading the Bible a regular habit of your life. It’s amazing how reading a few verses a day, or a chapter a day, or the New Testament in a year can enlarge your vision of who God is, what His plan is, and how He works it out in our lives. Imagine how that understanding will help you pray with growing faith for a friend in need.

7. Pray in Jesus.

I already mentioned above that God accepts our prayer for Christ’s sake, not for our sakes, not for our friend’s, not for our sincerity, or goodness or great faith. He hears us because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross. That’s what it means to pray “in Jesus’ name” — that we reach out to God knowing we are received lovingly because what Jesus did matters. He is our Mediator. He is our hope. He is the door to heaven; the way to the Father.

So,

Pray. How blessed you and your friend will be.

How do you remember to keep your promise to pray?

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I have so many friends who are going through difficult times right now. There are major health problems where pain is a daily companion. There are broken-down vehicles, and no money to pay for repairs.

Some have lost loved ones, their hearts breaking as they look ahead at the empty days ahead of them. Others are going through a huge crisis with family members, with situations that have broken their hearts and wrecked homes and lives. My heart aches for my precious friends and I’d love to fix their circumstances, but I can’t.

Read More: Prayer Day for Improving Relationships

Instead of feeling frustrated and helpless, I thought I’d share a few of the “what to do when you don’t know what to do” ideas that God put on my heart:

1)  Give your time.
Whether it’s a warm hug, listening, or holding someone’s hand to comfort them, just our presence can make a difference.

2)  Pray.
That’s a sober responsibility. I was reminded of that this week when a sweet friend shared that a year ago when she asked me to pray about something, I was the only one she asked to pray. That moved me to tears as I thought about that. Thankfully, I had prayed for her, but what if I hadn’t? Let’s pray as if we’re the only ones lifting our friends’ requests to God.

3)  Offer hands-on help.
Whether it’s making a cake or casserole, changing the oil in the car for a disabled person, driving a senior citizen to the doctor or taking a turn sitting at the hospital with a sick friend, we can show our love and compassion in even small gestures.

4)  Share a miracle story.
Talk about how God’s provided for you or someone in the past, those “tried and proven” moments that remind us that the God who performed miracles in the past is still able to do them today.

Read More: 7 Ways to Relieve Stress

5)  Spread encouragement.
We can encourage others with phone calls, visits and texts. And we can share precious verses from God’s Word, Scriptures that have touched our hearts, sweet promises that have helped us through our own difficult days.

So what else can we do when we don’t know what to do? Ask God to show us ways that we can become extensions of His loving arms in the lives of those who need us. I know these things will make a difference–I’ve been the beneficiary on so many occasions.

As my pastor, Rev. Ralph Sexton says, “All we have is God and each other.”

How could you share His love and compassion with someone today?

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Method 1 Before You Pray

  1. Think on what you will pray about. Before you begin, think about what you will pray about. What are the things in your life that trouble you? What are you thankful for? How do you want to bring God into your life? What questions do you have? These are things which you may want to pray on. Knowing what to say ahead of time will make you feel more clear and comfortable when you go to pray.

  2. Consult with your religious adviser or a trusted friend. After you’ve thought about some of the things you’d like to talk to God about, consult with your priest, imam, rabbi, or a friend or family member whom you trust. Ask them what they think God might be able to help you with and what they think about your concerns and questions. They may open your eyes to questions and answers which you had never thought of.

  3. Find a good place to pray.

    Once you are ready to pray, you will need to find an appropriate place and time to pray to God. This should be a quiet place where you can devote a good amount of time and concentration to your conversation with God, to show him your devotion.

    • However, if you feel the need to pray quickly and in a less than ideal situation, go right ahead. You do not need to be anywhere special for God to hear you. He will understand your distress and cares only that you love him in your heart and try to follow him.
  4. Get any necessary or additional items. You may want to have certain items when you pray, such as candles, a bible, the remains of a loved one, or other items which are significant to you. Have these available and respectfully placed.

  5. Plan to pray alone or with others. You will want to decide if you feel it is better to pray on your own or with others. Different faiths stress different methods but you should not feel constrained by the normal conventions of your denomination. Do what you feel is right in your heart, whether that means singing your prayers in a church full of people or facing Qibla alone in a corner.

Method 2 Making a Basic Prayer for Christians

  1. Show respect.

    Show respect by humbling yourself before God. Dress plainly (if you can), do not show off your prayer pridefully to those nearby, and

    pray

    on your knees with head bowed (if you can).

  2. Read from the Bible. You may want to begin by reading a passage from the Bible which has significance and meaning to you. This will open your heart to His word and show him your devotion.

  3. Thank God. Thank God for all of his blessings. Thank him for the things that make you happy, that make your life better, or that make the world a better place. Understand that these blessings are God showing his love for his people and should be celebrated and appreciated.

  4. Ask forgiveness. Ask God’s forgiveness for the mistakes that you make. Keep your heart open and remember that we all make mistakes: nobody is perfect. Though you may have trouble admitting it or thinking of a mistake you have made, you will find some way that you can be better. Be sincere and you will know in your heart if God forgives you.

  5. Ask for guidance. Ask God’s guidance. He isn’t a genie or some magical granter of wishes…He is merely there to guide you on the path you are meant to follow. Ask him to lead you and show you the right decisions and the ways to better yourself as a person, as well as the world and people around you.

  6. Pray for others.

    Pray for those who you feel need prayers. You can pray for your family, for your friends, or for strangers. Ask God to show them His love and to also help them find their way when they are lost. Do not cast judgement on them or their problems: God is the only Judge and He will do what is right.

    • Remember that people are not the Devil or demons; they are souls, just as you are, and can be led by God. Don’t ask for them to be struck down, ask for them to realize their mistakes and seek forgiveness just as you do.
  7. Close your prayer. Close your prayer in whatever way you feel is appropriate. The most common way is to say ‘Amen’.

Method 3 Making a Basic Prayer for Jews

  1. Try to pray in Hebrew. Most denominations believe that praying in Hebrew is better, though your god will understand you in whatever tongue you speak. Do your best and He will understand.

  2. Try to pray with others. Jews prefer to pray more often and in groups, other than Christian prayer which is more individually focused. Pray with others if you can. This can be at temple, with your family at home, or while you are out with your friends.

  3. Know each of the prayers for the different rituals. Instead of individually stated prayers said each day, Jews prefer to say blessings for different times of day, events, and times of year. You will want to learn the different prayers and when they should be spoken, as well as the Holy Days which require special prayers.

  4. Pray individually if you prefer. If the normal ways of praying are not for you and you feel that you communicate with your god better on your own and in your own way, that is okay. You can pray in the Christian method above and your god will understand. He cares more about your devotion and obedience.

Method 4 Making a Basic Prayer for Muslims

  1. Pray at the right times. Muslims pray at specific times of day and you will need to learn and observe these times. You can look them up, ask your imam, or get a handy app or program for your mobile device or computer.

  2. Orient yourself. You will need to face Mecca when you pray. This is an important part of prayer for Muslims. You will need to look up what the proper direction is for the area in which you live. Alternatively, you can get an app or program for your phone or computer which will act as a compass and point you in the right direction no matter where you are.

  3. Sit, stand, and motion correctly. There are specific ways that Muslims are supposed to sit, stand, bow, and move their hands and bodies during prayer. These can be rather complicated and you may need to do some research. You can also learn by watching fellow Muslims, either out and about or at your local mosque.

  4. Open your prayer. Begin your prayer in the proper way. Muslim prayer is much more specific and rigid than Christian prayer. The standard opening is to call “Allahu Akbar” and then recite the Isteftah Dua (optional) and Surah Al-Fatiha.

  5. Recite the Surahs. Recite the Surahs appropriate to the time of day or that are being recited by your fellows nearby. If you are alone, you can recite whatever Surahs you believe are appropriate.

  6. Perform the appropriate number of rakats. The rakats, or cycles of prayer, are standardized and a different number of cycles is prescribed for each time of day. Know what is the appropriate number and try to perform at least that many.

  7. Close your prayer. End your prayers in the normal way by turning your head to the right and saying, “As Salam Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu’.” The angel who records your good deeds is to this side. Then, turn your head to the left and say, “As Salam Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu’.” The angel who records your wrongful deeds is to this side. Now your prayers are over.

Method 5 After You Pray

  1. Look for signs that God has heard you. When you are done praying, as you progress through your day and further on, look for signs that God has heard your prayers. Keep your heart open and look for ways in which he seeks to lead you on the appropriate path. You will know in your heart what is right.

  2. Do right by Him and keep your promises. If you promised God that you would improve yourself or work harder for something, you should keep your promise. Work as hard as you can, honestly and with humility, and God will understand and be pleased.

  3. Pray regularly. Don’t just pray when you have a really big problem. God is not your band-aid. Pray all the time and show Him the respect that He deserves. Get in the habit and with time you will be great at praying.

  4. Help and pray with others. As you pray more, you will want to pray with others and bring others to understand how much they can gain from prayer. Bring them to God by helping them, honestly, humbly, and without judgement, and they too may become inspired to come to know Him as you have.

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Community Q&A

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  • Question

    Do I need to pray 3 times a day? How many times?

    There is no specific number of times to pray in a single day. It is good to remember to pray after waking up to ask God to guide you through the day, before going to sleep to thank Him for the day, regret your sins from the day and ask for good sleep, and at the noon to keep on track with God so you don’t forget about Him and to stay in active contact. You can pray as many times as you want, even 20 times a day. Prayer is our conversation with God, so you can pray some quick short prayers whenever you want and need.

  • Question

    How can I devote my life to God?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    It depends how fully you are willing to devote your life. Start by praying regularly, maybe in the morning and before you sleep, and before meals. Thank God for the day he has made. If you are serious about devoting your entire life, look into going to the respective place of worship to become a member to spread gods word. You can become a missionary and help those in need. You can donate to charities and follow the word of the Lord.

  • Question

    What if I’m scared to get close to the lord?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    Don’t be! Think of God as your father. Don’t you want to be close to your father? Then think of a man who watches over you, is willing to do anything to protect you, loves you, wants to know you and walk with you through life, cares for you no matter what you do, forgives you always, and is slow to anger. Then add “all powerful and mighty”. God is that man, but even better.

  • Question

    How do I know when God has answered my question?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    Everyone gets their prayers answered differently. Sometimes you don’t get what you expected either, but God will show you a sign when he’s answered your prayer, it could be right now, it could be next week, it could be in five years, but God will answer. Just don’t expect to get exactly what you want.

  • Question

    Will my prayers still be heard if I am not baptized?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    Baptism is just a way to wash yourself of the sins you have committed and the sins of Adam and Eve. God is hearing your prayers regardless of the status of your baptism. Matthew 7: 7 “Seek and you will find. Ask and you shall receive. Know that when you ask that God hears the prayers.”

  • Question

    How do I say a protection prayer?

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    Community Answer

    Ask God to put a hedge of protection around you while you’re driving, at work, at home etc. You may ask Him to guard you.

  • Question

    I have many worries and my thoughts are all over the place. If I tell God all this, will he still hear me and help me sort out everything that is worrying me?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    He cares about your worries. Just give it to God, and sometimes He will say yes, wait, or no. The future usually holds his answers. And sometimes His answers take days and weeks and months. Just be patient and keep praying. Sometimes He will even give you an immediate answer. Those are always the best!

  • Question

    Why do we need to pray?

    Prayer is also called a conversation with God. Christianity is based on a relationship with God, so imagine if you have a friend and you never talk to him. It wouldn’t work, right? It is the same with prayer. We can talk through it to God, tell Him our struggles, joys and share with him our thoughts and lives.

  • Question

    How can I tell God that I really love him and will listen to him?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    By saying just that. How much you love God can be seen in your actions and what you do to show that you love Him. He sees your heart and knows it, so if you truly love Him, He will see that, too. Do pray and ask Him to speak to you in your prayers and while reading the Word.

  • Question

    How do I pray to God about my grades in school?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    “God, give me an A!” is not how you should pray. Instead, when you go to school, you should pray that He will help you do your best in your education.

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Tips

  • Always trust what you know to be true in your heart. If a priest, leader, friend or family member tells you something that makes you uncomfortable, pray on it. God will tell you what is right and you will feel sure and happy in your heart. No one but God can tell you what is right and what He wills.
  • Pray whenever and where ever you need to, i.e. in traffic, before a test, or before each meal.
  • Talk to God the same way you talk to your friends. This helps to calm any nerves you may have before praying.
  • When you wake up in the morning, close your eyes and thank God because there are some people who didn’t wake up and never will. Thank Him when you still have a chance to.
  • Just because God has not answered your prayer right away does not mean he will not, or he does not love you. He will always love you. He has your future planned out for you, and the answer to your questions will be answered at the right time.

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Categories: Prayer | Christianity

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Português: Rezar Para Deus (Iniciantes), Español: orarle a Dios (principiantes), 中文: 向上帝祈祷(初学者), Français: prier Dieu (pour les débutants), Deutsch: Zu Gott beten (für Anfänger), Русский: молиться (для начинающих), Italiano: Pregare Dio (Principianti), Bahasa Indonesia: Berdoa kepada Tuhan (untuk Pemula), Türkçe: Tanrı’ya Nasıl Dua Edilir (Yeni Başlayanlar İçin)

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Lord, I come before you today knowing that all power is in Your hand. I know that you are the Lord and that you care for your people.
Right now, my friend is struggling with a difficult trial. I can see her strength is faltering, Lord, and know that you have all of the strength that she needs.
I pray that you will reach down and touch her right now wherever she is at this moment. Let your presence fill the room where she is and let her feel an extra portion of your strength that can help her to get through this day.
She needs you now, Lord, and I thank you in advance for meeting her where she is and shoring up her strength during this difficult time.
In Jesus name. Amen.
To be Grateful
Lord God, may we be grateful for our lot,
and compassionate toward all those who are
suffering every kind of distress at this
difficult time.
May we hold back nothing, and
hasten to be the ministers of prayer and mercy,
like the disciples of Him who went about doing
good in times of need.
Amen

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