We recently welcomed Betsy Lee, founder and president of Prayer Ventures, to shares some tips on how to pray for others. Enjoy!
When faced with questions about how and what to pray for when we pray for others, Betsy challenged us not over-analyze prayer.
“I think we make it harder than it really is. We think of prayer as mysterious, but think about it, when someone’s hurting or in need, a friend or a family member, what do we want to do? How does our heart respond? Our heart responds in compassion.”
Praying for others is comforting, and treating others with compassion should be a focus in our prayers. Betsy notes,
“When we add thinking about what Jesus would say to them–a thought can become our prayer.”
She shares that when we’re praying for others we need to delve beyond basic surface needs, although those are important too. Getting down to people’s real needs requires slowing down and connecting heart-to-heart with the other individual.
“The first, I think, most effective thing to do when praying for others is to listen. What are they really saying? How are they saying it? Where is the real hurt?”
Empathy is the second step according to Betsy. We should take time to consider how we would feel if we were in the other person’s shoes. This can work even if we haven’t had a similar experience. Christ can work in our hearts to give us wisdom and empathy. If people aren’t open to sharing or don’t seem to be receptive to verbal prayer, there are many other ways to minister to them according to Betsy.
“We tend to think of prayer as talking, and there are other ways to pray for others. For example, putting a hand on a shoulder, offering a smile, or simply being present. Look at the Gospels and the way Jesus healed. Touch is one of the things he used.”
Take a moment to pray for a friend today, and ponder how much Jesus loves all his children!