Why Praying for the Needs of Others Matters

Humanitarian Prayers is all about praying for the needs of others: those in need of food, those in need of shelter, those in need of peace. Praying for the needs of others is known as intercessory prayer.

The word intercede means to intervene between parties with a view to reconciling differences. We intercede to God on behalf of others. Intercession is prayer, petition, or entreaty in favor of another.

While we should pray for our own needs: that of our health, faith, and well-being, praying for the needs of others is a great way to love our neighbors, especially those we will never have the opportunity to meet.

The Bible has a lot to say about intercession. We first hear about intercessory prayer in the book of Genesis, the first book of the bible. Abimelech, a king who had kidnapped Sarah, the wife of one of the earliest prophets, Abraham, had a dream where God appeared to him and said (Genesis 20:7*)…

“Return the man’s wife so that he may intercede for you since he is a prophet, that you may live. If you do not return her, you can be sure that you and all who are yours will die.”

Intercession is seen over and over again in the lives of the prophets in the Old Testament who prayed to God on behalf of the Israelites. Intercession is also described in the book of the prophet Isaiah as what Jesus did by his death to bridge the gap between God and sinful humans.

The book of Acts details how Jesus’ Apostles spread the Gospel message after Jesus ascended into Heaven. In Acts 8, after newly baptized convert Simon was condemned by Peter, the leader of the Apostles, for attempting to bribe the Apostles to gain special power (he had been a sorcerer), Simon said (v. 24), “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

In the first letter of the Apostle Paul to Timothy, Paul says (1 Timothy 2:1-2),

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

There are plenty more examples in the Bible where someone interceded in prayer on behalf of another person’s needs. All of these passages show that intercession is one of the principal avenues of God’s followers to strengthen their faith and support each other, as well as to help all people.

What does this mean for us?

God wants us to pray for each other, for those we know and for those we don’t. Praying for others is not fruitless labor. As myself and countless other Christians can attest, many petitions we have prayed for the needs of others have been fulfilled.

Christians commonly pray for friends and relatives to be healed of illnesses and diseases, and if God wills it, they are. I prayed daily for almost a year for a friend with a chronic, incurable disease to be healed, and one day a blood test showed that the disease was no longer present!

This is what Humanitarian Prayers is all about.

When you read my posts, you are interceding for your fellow humans: that those who are refugees will be made welcome, that those who are suffering from injuries and diseases will be healed, and that those who wage war will seek peace.

One prayer I love is the Prayer of the Lady of All Nations. In the 1940s and 50s, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a woman and gave her a prayer to pray once a day for the end of degeneration, disaster, and war. She said that if this prayer is prayed once a day, “I assure you this world will change.” It is as follows.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, send now Your Spirit over the Earth. Let the Holy Spirit dwell in the hearts of all Nations, that they may be preserved from degeneration, disaster, and war. May the Lady of All Nations, the Blessed Virgin Mary, be our Advocate. Amen.

Below are some Bible verses to get your prayer juices flowing.

John 15:7 (Jesus speaking)
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want, and it will be done for you.

Philippians 4:6
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.

Matthew 21:22 (Jesus speaking)
Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.

Ephesians 6:18
With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit.

Romans 12:12
Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.

Luke 18:1
Then [Jesus] told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.

*All Scriptures quoted are from the New American Bible.

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