It’s a common response—“I’ll pray for you.” But do you actually follow through on that promise? Do you regularly pray for those in need of your prayers or someone who has specifically asked for you to intercede on their behalf? Even when we can’t always see the tangible fruits of our prayers, they are efficacious and powerful.
You might find that you are called to focus your prayer on a specific intention, or you may want to pray for whatever intentions come your way on any given day. “There are some people that have intentions that maybe they have a charism for, that this is an intention that God has placed on my heart that I want to pray for all the time and every day I’m going to dedicate myself to praying for that,” explained Fr. Edward Looney: priest, author, and regular contributor to Morning Air®.
Some saints dedicated their lives to praying for specific intentions. Saint Therese, though she was never able to be a missionary herself, was devoted to praying for the missions and the salvation of souls. A special intention for you might be vocations, clergy, couples struggling with infertility, the Holy Souls in Purgatory, or any other intention close to your heart.
On the other hand (or in addition), you may like to pray for many different intentions. If you have people asking you to pray for them on a regular basis or hear of things you’d like to remember in your prayers, you might benefit from keeping a journal of prayer intentions. You could pray for these people by name or offer small sacrifices or difficulties on their behalf.
Our prayers for others can benefit our own lives as well. When we start to feel bad about our own situation or spiral into loneliness or sadness, thinking of others can lift us up. “If you’re having a couple of ‘moments’ or you do start to go down that road of feeling sorry for yourself, you can use the gift of time God has given you to pray for someone else. And that just always turns me around if I’m going down that road,” said John Harper, host of Morning Air.
As you devote your time to praying for others, it’s okay to pray for yourself, too. “For myself, it’s just saying where am I at right now? What is my greatest need? And I think if we do that introspection ourselves, if we look deep within, we’ll be able to identify how it is I need to pray for myself. That if I find myself very worried right now, very anxious, well then I know that I need to pray for peace and for calmness, for inner tranquility. Or maybe I am sick, and so maybe it’s to say I need to pray for my healing so that I can continue God’s work,” explained Fr. Looney.
This awareness of our needs and the needs of others gives us the ability to know how to pray for others and in what ways they need us to reach out with help and support. What a great gift!
Learn more about intercessory prayer:
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