How to Pray for People You Don’t Know

I was praying for my daughter-in-law’s parents last night. Then I realized, as my son is only nine-months old, she may not even be born yet.

We’re slogging through our sleep-depriving dues of correcting some “accidental-parenting” mistakes that result in frequent night-waking.

I was praying my daughter-in-law was a better sleeper for her parents than my son is for me just now.


The idea for this type of prayer is to take the specific substance of your own need(s) and reflect them into the situation of another person who has those same needs. It is a terrific way to get your mind beyond your own problems, and a good way to remember “those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” (Hebrew 13:3)

On the first International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church our pastor encouraged us to imagine a Believer in our exact place in life, in one of the countries we’d been learning about, and pray specifically for that individual’s needs, knowing our own.

I’ve used this exercise many times since; in the context I mentioned at the beginning (family-members I haven’t yet met), and for fellow beleivers I am called to uphold in prayer.

I find (among other things) that it allows my prayers are more frequent and purposeful.

More ideas at Rocks in my Dryer.

This entry was posted in Advice.

7 thoughts on “How to Pray for People You Don’t Know

  1. As soon as we found out Katherine was a girl, we started praying for her future husband. I like the idea of praying for his parents as well.

    We’ve been using this idea of praying for others based on our needs since a recent missionary send-out from our church asked for that – “I’m just like you all, and I have the same needs, so whatever you’re going through, pray that for me too.” It has made it so much easier for us to remember to pray for him, and to know how to pray.

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