The Bible makes it clear that we are to pray for others (see James 5:16). God calls us to pray for others because prayer unites our hearts with his heart. God also moves in mighty ways when his people pray.
Years ago, the Lord showed me that I was not consistently praying for the people he had placed in my life. My prayer life lacked structure and regularity. In response to this realization, I began making prayer lists and praying for the people within my sphere of influence daily.
Every morning, I pray for my immediate family, and I also pray from a list containing the names of five to ten people who are close to me.
This practice of regular intercession has transformed the lives of those I pray for. I have watched God move in mighty ways in response to my prayers.
Most of all, God has used this discipline to change me and align my heart with his heart. Today, we’ll look at 20 Bible verses about praying for others and learn why praying for others matters.
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The Importance of Praying for Others
Praying for others is important for multiple reasons: First, God moves in response to prayers, and his movement changes the spiritual world around us. Second, praying for others ushers them into Jesus’ divine presence. Third, prayer leads us closer to God in a loving relationship.
In his letter to the Ephesian church, the Apostle Paul reminded God’s people that the battles we face daily are not merely physical. Every day, we walk into spiritual battles taking place in the heavenly realms (see Ephesians 6:12). When God’s people pray, the spiritual realm is altered by God’s response to our prayers.
It’s important to note that some of the most powerful prayers aren’t long monologues or lists of requests. We can pray powerful prayers by simply lifting the faces of our loved ones into Jesus’ presence and asking him to wash over them with his love. This kind of prayer changes lives.
Lastly, the purpose is prayer is to help us grow closer to God. Whether we’re praying for family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors, or political leaders, effective prayers always align our hearts with God’s heart and help us grow closer to him.
Bible Verses About Praying for Others
The Bible has a great deal to say about prayer. We are to pray all sorts of prayers on all sorts of occasions. God wants us to pray often because prayer is the gateway to intimacy with him.
Let’s look at 20 powerful prayers for others.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” ESV
God’s Word commands us to confess our sins and pray for one another. As a result of living in this sort of authentic community with others, we will experience the healing power of God in our lives.
This verse teaches us that God uses our prayers in mighty ways. He wants us to pray for one another so that we will be healed—both in our bodies and in our souls.
“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” ESV
Jesus taught his disciples that there is power in praying together. When we pray for others, praying in agreement alongside other brothers and sisters in the faith gives us strength. This verse is a reminder that we are to pray for others in our private prayer closets and also in the context of community.
“Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” ESV
How do we pray for those who mistreat us? We pray blessing over them.
Praying blessing over others is praying for God’s goodness and favor to fall upon them. When we pray for others to be blessed—even those who curse us—God does work our hearts as well. He gives us hearts of love for people who feel like enemies.
3 John 1:2
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” ESV
In his third letter, John began by praying that all would go well with God’s people. We can follow his example and pray this same kind of blessing over the people in our lives.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” ESV
Part of our prayer time for others might include asking God to show us how to stir up others in love and good works. We ask God to show us how to encourage others to follow his will and make his kingdom known on Earth. These are prayers God wants to answer.
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” ESV
Paul’s powerful prayer for the Philippian church is a prayer for love, knowledge, and discernment. The fruit of this prayer will be the ability to determine God’s will, blamelessness at the day of Christ, and glory and praise to God.
This is a good prayer to pray over the people we care about. We can never have too much of God’s love, and his knowledge and discernment can radically change our lives.
“But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” ESV
When praying for others—especially those who are going through trials—we can model Jesus’ prayer and pray that their faith will not fail. We can pray that as God builds them up, they will use this strength to strengthen others.
I often pray this prayer when I sense that someone in my life is tempted to take offense at God for allowing a trial. Instead of taking offense, I pray for strengthened faith.
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” ESV
Most of us turn to doctors before turning to prayer in times of sickness. There’s nothing wrong with going to the doctor. God often uses doctors and modern medicine to bring healing to our bodies.
However, let’s not forget to pursue prayer for healing. In this verse, James encourages God’s people to go to the elders of the church and be anointed with oil in the name of the Lord. Sometimes, this bold step of faith brings a breakthrough that can be found nowhere else.
1 Chronicles 16:11
“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” ESV
I often pray that my loved ones will seek the Lord and his strength and pursue his presence. James 4:8 promises that when we draw near to God, he will draw near to us.
There is no greater prayer than the prayer that our loved ones will encounter the life-changing presence of Christ!
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” ESV
When someone I care about is going through an uncertain time or is trying to make a difficult decision, I often pray this verse. I ask God to stir my friend’s heart and reveal hidden things.
God wants to guide and direct our paths. Our role is to ask for his guidance. We can ask for him to guide the people we care about and reveal things they do not know.
1 Timothy 2:1-2
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” ESV
Our prayers for others should include supplication (asking) as well as thanksgiving. It’s especially important to remember to pray for people who are in leadership positions in our nation and our world. We can use Timothy’s prayer as a guide.
“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” ESV
Praying with others is important; however, praying in secret is equally important. This verse reminds us that prayer is about intimacy with God.
Even when praying for others, the purpose of prayer is to unite our hearts with God’s heart. For this to happen, time alone with God is essential.
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside.” ESV
When our loved ones go through difficult times, we can pray that God will use their struggles to refine them. We pray that they will hold fast to the Lord and not turn aside from following him.
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” ESV
Paul’s letter to the Colossians begins with a powerful prayer for God’s people. Part of this prayer includes asking God for the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
When we pray for our loved ones to grow in spiritual wisdom and understanding, we can rest assured that we are praying mighty prayers according to God’s will.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” ESV
Part of bearing one another’s burdens is lifting the burdens of our friends and loved ones before the Lord in prayer. At times, the burdens of others are too heavy for them to lift on their own.
For this reason, we are called to stand together in prayer and help our companions lift their heaviest burdens before the throne of the God who is fully able to help.
“And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” ESV
Job’s friends aren’t known for being extremely supportive. When Job went through his trial, his friends repeatedly blamed him for the trouble he was suffering as if he deserved it.
It would have been easy for Job to grow bitter toward his friends; instead, he prayed for them. As a result, God blessed Job. God will bless us when we keep soft hearts toward people who offend us, too.
“Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” ESV
After describing the armor with which we are to fight the spiritual battles we face, the Apostle Paul reminds us to be faithful in prayer. We are to pray in the Spirit at all times for all of God’s people.
God responds to our prayers by moving mountains and working in the spiritual realm. God is waiting to move in response to his praying people. Our role is to be faithful in prayer.
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” ESV
Abiding in Christ is the secret to answered prayer. The closer we remain in Christ, the more he will shape our hearts to look like his heart.
His desires become our desires when we are close to him, and when our prayers align with Christ’s desires, he answers our prayers.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” ESV
It’s easy to embrace anxious thoughts when we are concerned about the welfare of our loved ones. This verse reminds us not to be anxious.
Instead, we are to pray with thanksgiving. God will respond by covering us with his peace (see Philippians 4:7).
“And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’” ESV
Jesus spoke these words as he breathed his last breaths on the cross. These words are a reminder that we are not to hold the sins of others against them.
Just as Jesus forgave those who crucified him, we are called to forgive those who hurt us. This kind of prayer leads to healing and freedom.
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Let Us Pray for One Another
As we pray for others, God fills us with his love. He gives us his love and compassion for the people in our lives.
Let’s be faithful to pray for one another. As Scripture teaches us, God moves in response to our prayers. He works in our hearts, and he moves on behalf of others.
God is waiting for a movement of people who are set on seeking his face and fulfilling his will. This movement begins when we humble ourselves, recognize our need for the Lord, and seek his face in prayer.