I am delighted to welcome my guest Leslie A. McLeod giving encouragement on an important prayer topic—praying with others. If you find yourself having or wanting to pray for a person in need, then you will be reminded of the privilege of doing so. And you can find some valuable guidance on specifically how to pray—keep reading to the end. If you are nervous in coming forward and asking for prayer for yourself, know that when someone prays for you they are helping you not face your struggles alone, but bringing God’s power into your life. You might like to put your prayer request at the end in the comments.
From my place near the front of the sanctuary, I could see the young family—mom, dad, four kids. When the worship music began and the pastor invited those wanting prayer to come up, the man rose and made his way forward to me.
“I need prayer,” he said simply. “I can’t sleep. I’ve tried everything for insomnia, but it’s not helping. It’s affecting my work and my attitude at home. I’m exhausted. Will you pray for me?”
I put my hand on his shoulder and prayed while he bowed his head silently. Then he looked up, thanked me, and made his way back to his seat.
Since my son suffers from insomnia, too, I thought to shoot up a prayer for that man from time to time. Still, I didn’t see them at church for several weeks, so I was surprised when the young father approached one Sunday morning with a big smile on his face.
“I don’t know if you remember me,” he began, “but you prayed for me a while ago when I was having trouble sleeping. I just wanted to let you know I’m doing okay now and to thank you. God is good.”
God is good indeed! I wanted to bust into a happy dance, but I controlled myself—outwardly, at least.
We talk a lot about connecting with God through prayer. Intimate communication with the Lord is vital to growing closer and more like him.
But there are times when we struggle to find the words to express the pain in our hearts. We’re unable to believe that God is truly for us when the evidence in and around us seems to make a mockery of our faith. Times when we’re drowning, we desperately need someone to come alongside and help restore us.
Even Moses, who conversed one-on-one with the Almighty, couldn’t face his challenges alone. During a battle with the Amalekites, the tide of victory went in favor of the Israelites if Moses’ hands were raised high. But when his arms drooped, the opponent gained the upper hand (so to speak). So Moses’ companions, Aaron and Hur, instructed him to sit down, then held his hands up until the enemy was defeated (Exodus 17:10-13).
Sometimes, we feel like Moses—overwhelmed, exhausted, unable to carry on. At other times, God calls us to be an Aaron or Hur, lifting up a brother or sister in need.
Praying for others is a privilege with tremendous power. James writes, “…confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).
But it can also be intimidating and awkward. Does the idea of praying aloud for someone fall outside of your comfort zone, leaving you unsure of what to say?
If that’s you, here’s good news: every believer comes indwelled with the Holy Spirit, who “…intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:27). When God nudges you to pray for a friend, fellow believer, or even a stranger, start by asking him to guide you before you say a word. Trust that he will.
Here are some affirmations to help shape your prayer:
- Affirm their feelings. Tell God about their situation and give words to their struggle. Let them hear that they are understood.
- Affirm their relationship with God. If they’re a believer, you can claim with conviction all the assurances God gives to His children. If they’re not, or you’re not sure, speak words of invitation from the Savior.
- Affirm God’s character. Call on the names of Jesus that apply—Healer. King. Shepherd. Rescuer.
- Affirm biblical principles and promises. The solution may seem obvious but resist the human impulse to offer advice. Instead, recall similar examples from the Word and ask God to work as he has done before.
- Affirm God’s sovereignty. Ask with confidence that he hears, he cares, and he’s able to meet all their needs. Leave the outcome in his hands as you close with thanks.
You may not have the joy of seeing his answer, but what a blessing it is to partner with the Father as he works his perfect will.
Living near the Southern California coast, Leslie’s artistic leanings balance her role as co-owner of a tech company with her husband. Having lost her parents a few years ago, she is writing a book to help other women walk through that painful season without the added burden of unresolved relationship regret. Leslie also writes articles, devotions, poetry, and a blog. She loves to share the voice of her soul’s Beloved. Connect with her at: LAMcLeod.com and on Facebook and Instagram.