Intercessory Prayer: How to Pray for Others
“God appreciates people who pray fervently for others facing trials. Why does God command intercessory prayer, and how does He want us to pray for others?
What is intercessory prayer?
Intercessory prayer is prayer for the needs of others. Praying for others is an unselfish expression of love.
Why does God want us to pray for others? Because intercessory prayer reflects God’s own character of outgoing love and mercy. God wants us to think like He does, and praying for others helps us to think beyond ourselves and to grow in compassion for others.
God compares prayer with sweet-smelling incense that pleases Him (Revelation 5:8).
Who should we pray for?
Here are a few biblical principles for effective intercessory prayer. We should:
Pray for others from the heart, with deep feeling and sincerity. (See our article “Prayer From the Heart” for more about this.)
Pray for others regularly. In what is often called the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus told us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11; see “The Lord’s Prayer”). We should pray for our needs and the needs of others every day.
Pray for others in detail. God knows everything; but He wants us to come to Him with all our specific requests because He likes to hear from us and to know what is important to us. The Bible compares our prayers to incense, and God loves prayers that are like “sweet incense beaten fine” (Leviticus 16:12). Detailed, thoughtful prayers are more pleasing than rushed, summary prayers to “bless everybody.” Making a prayer list or prayer journal can help you remember the details.
Pray for others with faith, knowing that God has all power and loves the people we are praying for. Faith reminds us that God knows what is eternally best for each person, and that even if God does not answer in the way we want at the time we want, we can trust He has all of our best interests in mind. (For more about faith, study the scriptures in our article “What Is Faith?” and the other articles in that section.)
Pray for others with love. Remember that names on a prayer list represent real people with deep needs, struggles and feelings. Consider that God loves each of them and wants us to have the same outgoing concern. Godly love is totally unselfish and is the essence of God’s character (see “God Is Love”).
Pray for others fervently—with intensity, zeal and passion. James 5:16 tells us “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
Pray for others with a desire to help where we can. This might include physical help and encouragement. Cards, calls and visits might be helpful. It is not wrong to tell a person you are praying for him or her if it will help encourage the person.”
Whose Prayers Won’t God Hear?
“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.
Does God hear the prayers of sinners? Yes and no.
Yes, our merciful God always loves us and works with us, and Jesus Christ even died for us “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). We were all sinners (Romans 3:23), so if God did not hear our cries for forgiveness, there would be no human He would hear. After sinning, David prayed, “Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities” (Psalm 51:9). God heard that prayer.
But without repentance, as Isaiah wrote, “Your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).
Psalm 66:18 talks about sin “cherished” in the heart (New International Version). “If I have known it was there and encouraged it,” then God wouldn’t listen (Adam Clarke’s Commentary on Psalm 66:18).
To be assured God will hear and answer us, we must repent and work to root sin out of our heart with God’s help. See more about repentance in “How to Repent.””
Whose Prayers Does God Answer?
1 John 3:22
“And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
Jesus Christ said, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:14). That sounds like a blanket promise that could be easily abused. But John clarifies in 1 John 3:22 what Christ meant and why He could say that. His followers would, by definition, be those who strive to obey God’s commandments and to please God. Christians must seek God’s will and so must pray according to God’s will.
It only makes sense. Why would God act like a genie and give us things that wouldn’t be good for us? Why would He reward disobedience to His perfect laws? He wouldn’t.
He wants His followers to learn His will and to ask according to His will. Then He can give “whatever we ask” at the time that He knows is best for us in His eternal plan.
For more about His commandments and pleasing Him, see “The 10 Commandments for Today” and “How to Please God.” From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/whose-prayers-does-god-answer/?
How Not to Pray
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
In this chapter James is giving correction about selfish desires and the wrong actions they produce. Selfishly trying to get things for ourselves can lead from lust and coveting to fighting and even murder and war. And still people don’t get what they want, James says, “because you do not ask” (James 4:2).
Of course, James knew that some of his readers would automatically respond, “What do you mean we don’t ask! We ask God for the things we want all the time! So why doesn’t God answer?” Verse 3 is James’ response to this expected objection.
God does not want us to pray with a list of selfish “give mes.” Asking “amiss” is asking for selfish reasons—not seeking God’s will, which truly is in our long-term best interest. Selfishly seeking pleasures now is short-sighted.
Instead our prayers must be based on right motives and right priorities, such as described in Matthew 6:33. Jesus said we should seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then the other things we need “shall be added to you.”
For more about priorities and where we should focus, see “Seek First the Kingdom of God.” From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/how-not-to-pray/?
Doctors’ Nutritional Ignorance
Medical education continues to under-emphasize clinical nutrition.
Transcript of video at: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/doctors-nutritional-ignorance/
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.
“The World Health Organization blames literally millions of deaths every year on inadequate fruit and vegetable intake. Almost as deadly as smoking. So if we care enough about ourselves and our families to not want to die a horrific death from smoking, we should put the same effort into eating more fruits and vegetables. We should eat fruits and vegetables as if our lives depended on it, because in a way they do.
Why haven’t many of us heard of this change from 5 A Day to 9 A Day? Well, the Federal Government spends about $10 million a year to educate people about healthy eating. Candy corporations spend about twice that amount just launching a new candy bar. Okay, but why don’t most doctors pass this information along? Because, odds are, your doctor never learned any of this. Less than a quarter of medical schools have even a single dedicated course on nutrition, and less than six percent of graduating physicians may have received any formal nutrition training.
Out of thousands of hours of pre-clinical instruction, your doctor may have gotten an average of three hours of nutrition training. There was even a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that pitted doctors versus patients in a head-to-head test of basic nutrition knowledge—simple true or false questions. Guess who won? The patients. People off the street knew more about nutrition than their doctors, yet people still ask their doctors for nutrition advice.
What doctors may be telling their patients to eat may be killing them. It wasn’t too long ago that doctors were advising pregnant women to smoke cigarettes to help with morning sickness. Until doctors are taught more about nutrition, their advising us about diet may be physician-assisted suicide.
There is one doctor though, everyone trusts. Perhaps the most famous physician of all time: Dr. Benjamin Spock. Always on the forefront of important social issues. And in the final edition of his book, the bestselling book in American history (second only to the Bible), he recommended that all children be raised on meat- and dairy-free diets to prevent diseases like cancer.”