Is there a sweeter gift for your friends than praying the Scriptures over them?
After all, there are few things on earth more precious than friendship.
To have people in your life you can be real with. With no pretenses. No masks. No filters.
No fear of offense because they’re quick to give you the benefit of the doubt.
The ones who will tell you what you need to hear…
even if it’s not always what you want to hear.
The ones who have your back…
but at the same time don’t hesitate to hold your feet to the fire.
I’m blessed to have several people in my life who fit this description. Dearly loved friends, treasured family members who are also friends, and a cherished husband who was first (and remains to this day) my friend.
I must confess that while I pray frequently for specific needs in the lives of my friends, I have room to grow in the realm of praying the Scriptures for them.
Let’s fix that, shall we?
Prayers for Your Friends
Pray that according to the riches of God’s glory, He may grant your friend to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in her inner being, so that Christ may dwell in her heart through faith—that she, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that she may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19).
Ask that the Lord would bless your friend as he trusts in the Lord. Pray that he would be like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots strong and deep by the stream, and has no need to fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit (Jeremiah 17:7-8). Pray that God would make your friend strong, fruitful, and flourishing for His glory.
Pray that the Lord bless your friend and keep her; that He would make his face to shine upon her and be gracious to her; that the Lord would lift up His countenance upon her and give her peace (Numbers 6:24-26).
Implore the Lord not to allow steadfast love and faithfulness to forsake your friend, but that he would bind them around his neck and write them on the tablet of his heart. Remind God of His Word, which teaches that doing this will bring your friend favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Pray that he would trust in the Lord with all his heart, and not lean on his own understanding. Ask that in all his ways he would acknowledge God, and God will make straight your friend’s paths. Entreat the Lord to help your friend not be wise in his own eyes, but to fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. Claim God’s promise that this will result in healing to your friend’s flesh and refreshment to his bones (Proverbs 3:3-8).
Ask that when your friend walks in the midst of trouble, God would preserve her life. Claim His promise to stretch out His hand against the wrath of your friend’s enemies, to deliver her with His right hand. Remind God of His commitment to fulfill His purpose for your friend, and of His steadfast and endless love for her. Ask Him not to forsake her, the work of His hands (Psalm 138:7-8).
Beg theLord Jesus Christ Himself, and God your Father, who loved you and gave you eternal comfort and good hope through grace, to comfort your friend’s heart and establish it in every good work and word (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).
Pray that the God of endurance and encouragement would grant you and your friend to live in harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 15:5-6).
Dear Heavenly Father, You are our Friend who sticks closer than a brother. You are our example of true friendship – One who laid down His life for His friends. Thank you for the gift of human friendship, which is a tangible representation of Your love and care for us. I pray that You would make me one who encourages my friends to press on in this race called life, and to press in towards You. It’s in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, that I pray. Amen.
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I have to tell you this story.
When I first got saved some relationships in my life changed. Friends didn’t seem interested in hearing about how Jesus saved me and blah blah blah. We started growing apart, and I actually lost friends.
It felt uncomfortable, and as a person who values friendship I wondered what would happen. My soon-to-be husband asked if I had prayed and asked God for friends.
At first it sounded a little desperate. Besides, I had no trouble meeting people.
But it wasn’t just about meeting more people or about making more “friends.” It was about praying for the right people; about having friends who God knew would be good for me.
How Do You Pray for Friends?
I asked God if He would bring loving Christians into my life. I didn’t know what else to pray, so that was it. And despite the words, I believed God knew the desire of my heart.
But how would it happen, and when?
Months went by and not much changed.
It was around then that my husband and I started looking to connect with a local Christian married couples group. We were newly married and our church didn’t have one at the time. We found a Christian church nearby that had one and asked if we could join them sometime.
We ended up loving the people in the group so much that we checked out their church. Welcoming hellos turned into warm hugs and invitations to dinner and ministry events and movie nights. When I first prayed for friends I imagined one or twobut in the course of a year, we gained an entire church family of 50+ people.
After a few years we felt called to move across the country. We looked forward to the new adventure, but I thought I’d never make friends like that again.
Our beloved church family sent us off with prayer and blessing, and hugs and kisses, but my heart was a little broken.
And So I Prayed for Friends… Again
The first year was a little lonely. I was that mom at preschool who no one recognized. I entered situations hopeful and excited, thinking it would be easy to make new friends, but nothing really happened. I didn’t connect as much with my old friends as I had hoped, but I trusted God had something in store.
Once again I prayed for friends. But this time I knew it wasn’t a desperate prayer… it was a necessary one.
While I grew impatient at times, sad and even a little depressed, it was important to wait for the right people. It was a quiet time of prayer and waiting and drawing closer to God.
The first place I met a new friend was at church. It’s a church with thousands of members, which sounds like a great place to meet friends, but sometimes it’s hard to get to know people well when everyone is coming and going. But at the end of one service in particular, a woman in front of me turned to leave with her husband, and there we stood after a great time of worship, both brushing away tears from our cheeks. We looked at each other and just laughed. Three years later this is one of my dearest friends– but so much more than a friend. This family has become our family, and ours theirs. And one of the hallmarks of our relationship is laughter!
We continued meeting more and more brothers and sisters in Christ over the years–at church, kids’ parties, Bible studies and even just walking in the neighborhood–and as I’m writing this, I feel beyond grateful for the amazing women and families and friends the Lord has brought (and continues to bring) into our lives.
It’s by God’s hand that we meet these chosen friends. Encouragers in the faith.
Have You Prayed for Friends?
If you think that these things don’t happen to you, believe this: You can pray and ask your Father in heaven who loves you for friends.
There is no secret to what I described above. I had a desire for Christian friends, so I asked God. You can too.
It says in 1 John 5:14-15, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”
Could you use support in a certain area of your life?
Have you been burned by friends in the past and feel resigned to go it alone?
Do you long for a mentor or for more diversity in your friendships–friends of different color, ethnic background or life experiences? (YES, I have prayed for diversity in my friendships and YES, God continues to answer this prayer too!)
Ask God for friends. He knows exactly who you need and who needs you.
Because all good things come from God.
Updated on November 28, 2018
Praying for a friend meets an obligation; praying with a friend meets a bundle of needs.
Solitary prayer also has its benefits, and there is no judgment for those who prefer not to share their prayers. Still, those who share will experience an energizing, supportive fellowship with benefits that inspire gratitude.
Pray Anywhere. Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt | Source
Praying with a friend may happen in situations like the following:
- In a general prayer session, the leader requests that participants pray in groups of two; two friends find each other.
- One friend needs an urgent solution for a pending problem and calls on a friend to join in prayer. They may pray just once, or they may decide to meet for prayer until the problem is solved.
- Two people who interact with each other feel a mutual kinship. They begin to trust each other by sharing their personal issues. They both believe in the power of prayer, and they intentionally become prayer partners. They decide to pray together regularly—daily, weekly or whatever schedule they set.
Prayer can be effective in all three of the scenarios above, but this article is primarily concerned with the third one, which is ideal for individuals looking for support in their pursuit of godly living.
Six Important Benefits for Friends who Pray Together Regularly
Love each other with genuine affection, and . . . keep on praying. – Romans 12: 10-12 (NLT)
Praying with a friend—really praying as opposed to reciting a prayer—creates a three-way connectedness. While one exposes his innermost feelings to God, the other listens in. Simultaneously, they become vulnerable in their relationship with God and with each other. (Good reason for spouses to pray together).
That vulnerability is not something to be afraid of; it is something to be embraced between real friends. It is supported by confidentiality—the assurance that whatever they learn about each other will remain private between them.
Some people turn to psychologists only because they have no friends with whom to share their personal struggles. Friends who meet and talk to God on each other’s behalf have a spiritual, social and emotional advantage.
If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. Matthew 18: 19 (NLT)
Anything has to be interpreted within godly confines: “The thing asked must be reasonable, good in itself, expedient for the petitioner” and “the desire will be granted in some form, though, perhaps, not in the way or at the time expected.”*
The prayer request is more likely to be appropriate when two people consult, than if made by one lonely person in a state of grief or anxiety. The levelheadedness of one compensates for the shortsightedness of the other. Also in expectation of God’s answer, the impatience of one is comforted by the patience of another.
Praying with a friend provides the kind of cooperation and unity which affects both the wholesomeness of the request and the acceptance of the answer.
Pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5: 16 (NLT)
Job and His Friends (oil on canvas) by Ilya Repin | Source
Compassion for others distracts one from self-pity. It is difficult to think of a scenario better than praying with a friend which encourages an individual to forget about himself. While he is focusing on someone else’s need, he does not interfere with God’s intervention in his own.
This principle proved true in Job’s situation:
When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. Job 42:10 (NLT)
It is not unusual for prayer partners to focus on each other’s personal, family, and ministry needs or whatever other needs they may have. They develop genuine compassion for each other and pray with complete selflessness.
So encourage each other and build each other up . . . 1 Thessalonians 5: 11 (NLT)
The strongest Christian has a weak spot, and is capable of experiencing a weak moment. Some become discouraged when their misdeeds remind them that they are not yet perfect. They may lose confidence in themselves, and be tempted to lose confidence in God.
At such times, they need the benefits of godly counsel, empathy and supportive prayer from a friend. Sure, they can request prayer on the prayer line, but nothing builds confidence like the actual touch of a friend holding the hand or throwing an arm around a discouraged soul.
These days, when there are so many distractions and so many opportunities for doubt, praying with a friend is one sure way to build faith.
As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. 1 Samuel 12: 23 (NIV)
An Embrace and a Prayer. Photographer information lacking. | Source
This verse is probably the most famous line from Samuel’s farewell speech to the Israelites. Despite the fact that they rejected his prophet’s leadership in preference for the leadership of a king, Samuel committed to intercessory prayer on their behalf. This, he seemed to suggest, was a duty which, if he neglected, would be a sin against God.
It is safe to accept this principle as valid for all believers. Intercessory prayer is a duty.
How many times have people requested prayer and the request is forgotten? Praying with a friend makes it difficult to forget about intercession on each other’s behalf as well intercession for other people. Because the prayer partners meet regularly and share prayer requests, they have the opportunity to be true to their prayer commitments.
What do you think about praying with a friend regularly?
Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:3 (NIV)
Have you ever had some good news burning in your chest, without the opportunity to share?
It lifts the spirits to hear songs of deliverance and testimonies of faith in the large assembly, but not every excited soul gets an opportunity to share her answer to prayer. Truth is, not everyone wants to testify before the crowd.
After the public celebration, friends who pray together get the opportunity to meet, share screams of victory and tears of joy. The benefits of praying with a friend include personal celebrations where they glorify God and “exalt his name together.”
Furthermore, among friends, the celebration can last longer, and be repeated as often as they desire. In fact, there is always something to celebrate among friends who pray together. They are always grateful for the benefits of wholesome, supportive friendship.
* Bible Hub: The Pulpit Commentary, Matthew 18: 19 (© 2004-2014 by Biblos.com)
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2014 Dora Weithers
“Sharing Time: I Pray for Others,” Friend, Aug. 1996, 14
Have you ever seen a picture of children who look very hungry and need something to eat? Did you want to send them food?
When people are left without homes because of a storm or an earthquake, do you wish you could help them?
Has a family member or friend been sick? Did you wish you could make him or her better?
How do you feel when you see someone who is hurt or treated unkindly by others? Even though you want to help, you might feel that you can do little for people who suffer. Yet there is a way you can help those who are suffering from war, from need, or from other evil or hurtful things. No matter what your own circumstances are, one of the most powerful ways you can help is to pray for them.
Heavenly Father hears the prayers of His children. He understands the feelings in your heart. The feelings of love and concern that you have for others come from His spirit. These feelings and desires come because you are His child. As you ask Heavenly Father to bless those who are suffering, remember that He knows best how to answer your prayers. Listen carefully. He will let you know if you can help. Maybe He will prompt others to help or, in His great wisdom, answer in other ways. He loves you, and He loves the person you are praying for. When you pray for others, you are helping them in a very real and powerful way.
To make a booklet about praying for others, mount page 15 on heavy paper, then cut along the solid lines. Draw someone you would like to pray for on the blank page and fill in the blank. Punch two holes in the side of each page, put the pages in order with the title page on top, thread string or ribbon through the holes, and tie the ends in a bow.
Illustrated by Jerry Harston
Sharing Time Ideas
1. Invite four priesthood brethren to each portray a different prophet from the Book of Mormon and to explain how he, as that prophet, prayed for someone or was blessed when someone prayed for him. Divide the children into four groups and have them move from “prophet” to “prophet.” Possible selections: Enos (see Enos 1), Alma (see Mosiah 27:8–15), Ammon (see Mosiah 28:1, 5–9; Alma 19:22–23), Nephi (see 3 Ne. 1:11–15).
2. Explain that Heavenly Father and Jesus are pleased when children pray for the members of their family. Praying for family members invites the Spirit of the Lord, increases love, and develops unity in the home. Tell the children about the life of the prophet Mormon and his son Moroni. Read and discuss Moroni 8:1–3 with the children. Have each child fold a sheet of paper in fourths and fill each square with the name or a drawing of a family member. Let the children think about the needs of these family members and about how they could be remembered in prayer; then discuss some ideas with them. Suggest that the children share these lists with their parents.
3. Divide the children into four discussion groups. Have each group discuss how they as children can help one of the following: people who do not have enough to eat, people whose homes have been destroyed in storms or floods, people who are sick, the prophet, and the missionaries. Write each group’s suggestions on a chalkboard. Discuss with the children the power of prayer in helping people. Teach the children that praying for others is a powerful way of helping and that we must always pray that Heavenly Father’s will will be done (see Matt. 6:10).
4. Sing the first verse of “Help Me, Dear Father” (Children’s Songbook, p. 99). Define trespass for the children (to hurt, offend, or wrong someone). Jesus wants His followers to forgive those who trespass against them (D&C 64:10). Invite a child to come to the front of the room, and place a backpack, a large cloth bag, or a large paper sack in his arms. Explain to the children that feeling resentment against another person stops us from becoming like the Savior. As you explain, fill the backpack with large rocks or bricks. Explain that carrying resentment or hard feelings is like carrying a heavy burden. When we forgive others, the Lord will forgive us and lighten that burden. Where possible, take the children outside to select a rock as a reminder. Suggest that the children share this object lesson with their families.
5. Prepare a script for several of the children to dramatize the unmerciful servant (see Matt. 18:23–35). Discuss the lesson this parable provides on forgiveness. Let each child take home a script to share with his or her family.
6. Help the children make paper-bag puppets of the prodigal son and his father (see Luke 15:11–24). Help the children understand and practice telling this parable. Encourage them to use the puppets to share this parable at home.
7. Read or tell one of the following stories from the Friend, then discuss how the principle of forgiveness blessed the lives of the characters in the story: “Hand-painted Tie,” June 1994, pp. 30–32; “Incident at Raven’s Roost,” July 1994, pp. 40–43.