Why We Pray for Others

When you are going through a difficult time, you may have heard someone say, “I’ll pray for you.” Or maybe you have said that to a friend or loved one before. But why is intercessory prayer so important in the Christian life?

During this month of November we pray especially for the souls in purgatory, and Fr. Carl Pieber stopped by Morning Air® to discuss why we pray for the souls who have died, and for those around us.

“Why do we do that?,” Fr. Carl asked. “Well, it has to be based on the fact that we think something is going to happen. It is very Scripture-based. Come to me and I will make your burden lighter. Knock and it shall be opened. And so it is all based on our belief.”

“We have memories of great people in our life, and we have memories of people who are not so great in our life. All of which deserve our prayer. But we only pray for them because we think something is happening.”

In addition to praying for someone because we believe something is going to happen, it is also a good practice in and of itself. Fr. Carl said, “What are they doing when they are praying for somebody? Well, they are certainly giving of their time (and in many circles the most important thing in life is time more than money) and they are giving their time with God for another. So that’s a critical issue when we are willing to sacrifice some of ourselves in prayer for another.”

Intercessory prayer, Fr. Carl explained, is a great gift and also a great responsibility. “We’re ready to go to God for them, we’re ready to be an intercessor, we’re ready to be a mediator,” he said. “We hear it all the time, ‘I’ll pray for you.’ And I hope you really do! Do you really go and pray for that person? Or is it just something they mention?”

Fr. Carl reminded listeners that telling someone you will pray for them is not just a polite way to end a conversation, but it has a meaningful message that we can share with others when we take this practice seriously. Fr. Carl said, “That’s what we’re trying to say to them: you’re not alone. God is with you. I am with you. I am going to take you to God. Now, that is very powerful.”

Listen to the full conversation with Fr. Carl Pieber below:

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Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.