Week 13: Who should I pray for?

We’ve talked for a few weeks about how to pray and what to pray. This week we’ll look at a few Scriptures that tell us who we should pray for.

Be ready to read the following passages:

Let’s start it.

Moving clockwise, have family members say a name as quickly as they can. It can be someone they know – like a friend or a teacher – or a person they’ve seen on television or heard about in the news. Keep going until one of you hesitates before answering.

Let’s learn it.

How did you do? It’s amazing to think of how many names we have stored in our heads, isn’t it? Did your family name friends who also believe in Jesus? Spending time with Christian friends alerts you about how to pray for them. What does James 5:16 tell us about how to pray for other believers? You can pray for a sick friend to get well or for friends going on vacation to have a safe trip. You can even pray for God to show them ways they have disobeyed Him.

For another important way to pray for Christian friends, read Paul’s personal prayer request in Ephesians 6:19-20. If Paul – the greatest missionary who ever lived – needed prayer for boldness to talk about Jesus, then so do our friends and so do we! Paul not only prayed that he would share the gospel of Jesus, he also prayed for the unbelievers who heard it. What did he pray for his unbelieving countrymen in Romans 10:1? Do you have friends who haven’t yet received Jesus’ gift of salvation? Pray for boldness to talk to them about Jesus and about how much God loves them.

Most of us are quick to pray for the people we know, but we sometimes forget to pray for the leaders of our country, schools, churches, and workplace. Did you remember to name any of these people in Let’s start it? Look at what Paul wrote to Timothy about this group of people in 1Timothy 2:1-4. It’s important to give thanks to God for the people who have authority over you and to ask God to guide them with truth.

Jesus Himself gave instructions about praying for another group of people. What four words does He use to describe them in Luke 6:27-28? Having a godly attitude toward people who hate you, curse you, and mistreat you does not come naturally. It’s easier to be kind and loving to even those people when you pray for them regularly. As you pray for people who seem to be against you, ask the Lord to help you to respond to them in a way that honors Him.

Followers of Christ have the privilege to talk with God. We also have the responsibility to pray for other people. The Apostle Paul summed it up best when he said to pray, “for everyone” (1 Timothy 2:1). Wow! Praying for all people is a big responsibility, but it’s also a great privilege. Of course, it would be impossible to pray all at one time for every person you know or have ever heard of. That’s why the Bible instructs us to pray “all the time” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). That means that we should always be in an attitude of prayer. When a friend comes to your mind, you don’t have to stop and close your eyes to pray. You can simply ask God silently from your heart to help that friend.

Let’s discuss it.

  1. Think about the names you mentioned in Let’s start it. Try to match some of their names with one of the groups we just talked about: believers, unbelievers, authorities, and those who mistreat you. How can you pray for each group?
  2. Which of these people have an immediate need for prayer because of an illness or some kind of trouble?
  3. Who makes decisions that affect you and your family? How can you pray for those leaders and authorities this week?


Let’s do it.

Let’s practice everything we’ve learned this month about prayer. Remember to start your family prayer time by praising God for who He is, and then thank Him for what He has done. Use 1 John 1:9 as your spiritual bar of soap to ask for God’s forgiveness. Pray again for the requests your family members have mentioned over the last few weeks. Finally, pray for the people you talked about in Let’s discuss it this week (as many of them as you can!). End your prayer in the name of Jesus, showing that you want your requests to glorify and honor His plans.