Prayer is the connection between you and your divine source. It is your personal experience, but you can also “pray it forward.”

Through shared prayer with others or by praying for others, we use our personal connection with the Divine to uphold others as whole and wondrously made.

“The real search of all people is for God,” said Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore. “They may think they are looking for other things, but they must eventually admit that it is God they seek.”

What Fillmore describes is a personal journey that also naturally brings people together: in Sunday worship, in silent meditations, in prayer circles, and in town squares—even together through virtual online prayer vigils.

When we move from praying alone to praying with and for others, we experience powerful changes in our own inner spiritual practice and personal connection with the Divine.

Does Praying for Others Make a Difference?

“Our prayers do not change other persons,” wrote Hypatia Hasbrouck in Handbook of Positive Prayer (Unity Books, 2021). “Other persons may seem to change when, through prayer, we change our perception and understanding of them.”

Rev. Linda Martella-Whitsett, vice president of Unity Prayer and Practice, says she believes praying with and for others is a way to clarify a path of Truth, a way to “lend them our spiritual realization.”

“This means that instead of worrying about them or with them, we clear our mind and get in touch with our innate strengths and capacities,” she says.

“Centered in this clear state of mind, we can see the truth about them and their life—that they, too, have all they need within them to respond in the healthiest way to the conditions they are praying about.”

Praying it forward allows us to consider others’ needs and perhaps help them see more clearly the truth of their own divine nature.

At the same time, we most likely capture our own moments of better understanding.

Tips for Praying It Forward

Here are a few ways to improve your practice of shared prayer.

Keep It Simple

When you pray, don’t overthink it. The more accessible you make daily prayer to yourself—and to others—the greater the benefit to you and all those around you.

“[Prayer] is a simple, normal activity of the mind and heart,” writes Mary Kupferle in God Will See You Through (Unity Books, 2005).

“Prayer makes no demands concerning time or location. Right where you are, at your place of business, on the street, in the home, you can pray and pray effectively.”

Anyone Can Use the Power of Vision (Even if You Are Not Religious)

Have you ever been on Facebook or at work, and a friend or team member has asked for prayers as they go through a tough time?

As we know, not everyone embraces the same idea of divine power—and some believe firmly in none!

Yet even an agnostic or atheist can capture moments of silent intention to support loved ones in times of hardship. This can be done, according to Martella-Whitsett, through visioning.

Visioning is a mental picturing process in which we allow ourselves to hear, feel, and imagine the highest good for ourselves or others.

“A good response in this case,” Martella-Whitsett says, “is: I envision you aware of your inner strengths, thinking constructive thoughts, and acting compassionately toward yourself and others.”

Visioning allows us to focus intentional, positive healing energy on our loved ones in their time of need.

Share Prayer with Children

With their rich imaginations, children will grow the seeds that are planted in their minds. What ideas about prayer do you want to convey to the children you know and love?

“When you pray with a child,” writes Rev. Patricia Veenema in the booklet Pray Without Ceasing, “you can reinforce that God is always available because God is present within that child.

“If we help children know they have the divine seed of perfection in them, they will feel empowered to go forth into the world and let their light shine.”

Ways to Pray It Forward: Sharing Prayer with Others

Martella-Whitsett offers practical ways to share prayers with others:

  • Light a candle. Remember that you are upholding the person’s highest intentions and deepest desires.
  • Talk to them. Tell them about the talents and strengths you have noticed in them, such as courage, resilience, and kindness.
  • Share notes of prayer. Write a message of affirmation and prayer and mail it. Those who receive the notes can keep your loving thought for them on the refrigerator or in their wallet to bless them wherever they go.

Sharing prayer and praying together have long been a source of comfort and healing—a practice Unity has embraced for 130 years.

When we “pray it forward,” we use our own prayer connection to envision others—and the world—as wondrously made, healed, and whole.