Praying for Others

By Mary-Alice and Richard Jafolla
Praying for Others

Most of us have found ourselves wanting to help someone else through prayer. This is understandable, for it is natural, since love and caring are built into our hearts, to want to help those who appear to be going through a difficult time in their lives. But how do we do this? …

While things such as "being there" for others in whatever ways are appropriate can certainly be important, we are limited in the human level of help we can give to others by our talents, our time, and our finances. But there is a higher level we can step up to. When living God-centered lives, our help is unlimited because we lift others by our mere presence. We become that unwavering bulwark of faith the steady flame—which sees the sacred Light in everyone and every circumstance, even the ones which might be deemed needing "help." When we live this way, we serve as blessings to everyone who touches our lives. Praying for others, therefore, becomes a matter of releasing those people to the activity of God and continually strengthening our own awareness of this activity in them.

Some "How-To" Ideas

First, let's recognize that when we feel the need to pray for someone, the real need is not to change this person, although it may seem that way. The need is to change our own thinking-our own perspective—regarding the individual. (Trying to change someone else is fruitless, as we have all discovered!) This is our biggest hurdle if we really intend to be of help. We have to recognize that each soul needs to experience whatever it requires for its own enlightenment, its own growth. There's no way any of us can possibly ever know the soul needs of another person, no matter how close that person is to us.

To think that we can is not only presumptuous, it is downright controlling and manipulative—a violation of the sanctity of a human soul. It's easy to know this in theory, but when we see a loved one in physical or emotional pain, it is very difficult not to get drawn down into a negative state of fear and/or worry ourselves. But stay above it we must, if we do not want to become part of the problem. Worrying about another person, adding our own fears, only attaches our own negative energies to the situation, which can make it worse.

So we change our own attitude first and lift ourselves into the consciousness of seeing the presence of God in the person and situation. This means letting go of the person's problem—and even letting go again and again if it tries to overtake us. This is crucial to our being of help because we can only lift others to our own level. When someone is drowning in the water, it's easier to pull them out if we are in a boat floating on the water. Thus we can only help them by being on a higher level ourselves.

The Power of Love

One extremely powerful and effective way to begin to help another is to send loving thoughts, rather than thoughts of worry or concern. Thoughts are palpable. They are real. They are potent carriers of our personal messages. When they are combined with the most powerful force in the universe love—we are able to help others infinitely more effectively than by just worrying along with them. The presence of love is a healing presence and provides an environment that allows the activity of God to flow in its natural way. Our own loving thoughts and emotions are dynamic agents for transformation and healing and should never be underestimated. It is a most important first step in supporting others.

If we have regular access to the individuals we wish to help, we are of most benefit to them through our example by helping them to see the presence of God in themselves and in their circumstances. This, again, sounds fine in theory. But when someone we care about is in a dire situation, it takes patience and persistence and great trust on our part to help this individual begin to get a sense that God is always present—even in the midst of his or her challenge! The tricky part is that this cannot take place until we ourselves have a sense that God is always present—even in the midst of challenge. (Let's face it, this is simple in theory but often most difficult in practice and requires our continual attention.)

What of the actual prayers themselves when we wish to help someone? Simple in concept, but here again it requires getting ourselves in "the right space." When we pray for a person, we pray not to God, but from a consciousness of God. In this consciousness, we see the wholeness and beauty and blessings already available to the person and we use our prayers to affirm and acknowledge and give thanks for this Truth about the situation. Any words we might speak from this elevated consciousness are therefore true "Spoken Words" because they originate from the divine power of us. When uttered by us in desiring to bless other people, the intention of these words is to release the God-power within those people.

The "Spoken Word of God" has nothing to do with trying to manipulate people and events or making something happen. These true Spoken Words are devoid of any ego or personal will, and are essentially a release of the power of God within us. ...

When it comes to helping others through prayer, each of us must ask. "Am I lighting a candle, or am I merely helping someone grope in the dark?"

Excerpted from The Quest for Prayer. Mary-Alice and Richard Jafolla are the authors of many books and founders of Spirit of Life, a nonprofit organization dedicated to all aspects of wellness. They are former directors of Silent Unity®, the prayer ministry of Unity, serving people of all faiths with 24/7 prayer support.