How to Pray for Others
Most of us have found ourselves wanting to help someone 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 to 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 [see] the sacred Light in everyone and every circumstance. …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
Change your thinking. 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. … Worrying about another person, adding our own fears, only attaches our own negative energies to the situation, which can make it worse.
Let go and let God. 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.
Send loving thoughts. 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. … The presence of love is a healing presence … 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.
Help them to see the presence of God in themselves and in their circumstances.
This 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.
Pray. 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 to acknowledge and give thanks for this Truth about the situation.
Sometimes we pray for others because we think we know what’s best for them. Too often our prayers are plans that we present to God to be fulfilled. But we never can be sure we know what’s best for another person. All we can know is that God knows best and that we can trust God’s plan.
Adapted from The Quest by Mary-Alice and Richard Jafolla, published by Unity Books.
Enjoy this podcast with Rev. Tom Thorpe— How to Pray for Others: Guest Joanna Saliani