My Prayer

How to Say “I’ll pray for you” and Mean it

“Can you pray for me?”

I remember getting that text from my best friend Austin one night. There was a sense of vulnerability and authenticity that came with it, as he was eager to open up his heart to me about a struggle he was facing. Of course, sleep deprived, and with classes the next morning, I sent a text back with the words, “I’ll pray for you bro! :)” and went right back to sleep.

Brotherly moment, ruined…

I can recall many moments where I’ve failed to live up to the promise of praying for someone else, whether it be a friend, family member, or coworker in the moment they reach out to ask. I’ve repeatedly found myself stuck in this cycle of making a promise with someone to pray for them only to get caught up in the business of life, and then completely forgetting the promise I made the next time I’m in prayer.

Think back to the last encounter that comes to mind where someone asked you for prayers. Did you follow through with the promise you made, and offer up prayers for their intentions? Or did you forget to pray for them?

Come Holy Spirit

We as Catholics often fail to recognize the significance of our words when we’re in prayer, especially whenever we pray for others. Christ places a strong emphasis on this in the gospel of Matthew:

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” -Matthew 18:20

Our words in prayer contain power when we bring our worries or the worries of others to the foot of the cross. By praying for others, we invite the Holy Spirit to move with power in the lives of whoever it is we’re praying for. This is known as intercessory prayer.

Intercessory prayer enables us to radiate Christ’s love to those we encounter on our path in a radical way through the help of the Holy Spirit. Partaking in intercessory prayer is key throughout our spiritual journey of growing in discipleship as well as discipling others. It’s a challenge to live up to the promise of doing so. We tend to forget, it’s part of our human nature. To combat the forgetfulness we experience, here are a couple of ways to practice this yourself, and ultimately grow in the practice of offering intercessory prayer for friends, family, and others.

Be Present

Be present. Instead of saving the prayers for later, if a friend asks for prayer or you feel called to pray with them, immediately pray with that friend right in the moment!

via GIPHY

Yes… you heard me right. Pray in the moment you are with someone who is asking you for prayers!

You may be thinking “Hold up Noah, what if we’re out where other people can see us? That’s kinda awkward! You don’t know what that’s like!” I somehow managed to spill coffee all over my jeans in the midst of praying with a buddy of mine one morning. (True story).

Praying with someone in the moment requires courage and vulnerability, but it can become a powerful encounter with God. If you encounter awkwardness, embrace it and brace yourself for how the Spirit will work through your prayer!

This is one of the most powerful, and beautiful ways to be able to start partaking in intercessory prayer. The next time you’re with a friend that’s reaching out to you for prayers, ask if you can pray with them right there. If they say yes, do it! Vocally ask for the Holy Spirit to intercede and guide, and pray over the situation that’s being discussed about in the moment.

Tip: Reach out as well! If you have a friend or someone you know that’s going through a time of trial, don’t hesitate to ask if you can pray for them, even if they don’t ask for prayers at first! The Holy Spirit has a funny way of showing us when the right time to pray will be.

Take Note of Prayer Intentions

I mentioned earlier I used to struggle a lot with remembering prayer requests. If a friend reaches out to me asking for prayers I’d always end up saying “I’ll pray for you!” Then I’d find myself later on in the adoration chapel trying to remember what I was exactly praying for. As a way to help me remember, I started writing things down on my phone. Then whenever I would spend time in prayer, I’d pull the list out and pray for each person on that list.

If you’re like me, and you have trouble remembering prayer requests, write them down and keep track of it in your phone or a prayer journal. The next time you’re spending time in prayer, pull those notes out, and spend some time praying through each intention.

Carve Out Time in your Prayer Life

If you’re struggling to find the time to pray for others, make the time. Think of the amount of time you spend in personal prayer during the week, and pick a day to carve out the same amount of time toward praying in intercessory prayer.

Another way to do this would be to offer up a Mass or Holy Hour for the intentions you want to pray for.

The Holy Spirit has a way of calling us out of our comfort zone, leading us to encounter those that are seeking out Jesus. By praying for others, we can grow in trust with God, knowing he’s bigger than the worries and fears we face. The next time you’re presented with an opportunity to pray for a friend, family member, or maybe even stranger, follow through with your promise. Open up in prayer.

“Come Holy Spirit.”

About the Author

Noah Salas

I’m a NorCal native aiming for a Catechetics degree while attending college in SoCal. I’m a Hydrocephalus survivor. You can find me serving as a youth minister intern at my hometown parish whenever I’m on break from college… or catching up on the latest episode of "This is Us." Currently strategizing a plan to get my next dub on Fortnite. I’m on an adventure in pursuit of Jesus Christ my savior. Would love for you to follow along! Find me on Instagram or Twitter @noahbsalas.