It breaks your heart when someone you love believes lies – about themselves, about others, about God.
How do you pray for them?
Always remember when praying for others that you want to pray God’s best for them … His will (not yours) … by His power and Spirit (not yours) … and that God honors each person’s free will, and so must we.
The Bible tells us in Romans 8:26-27 that the Holy Spirit leads us in intercession when we don’t know what or how to pray (which is all of the time!). We don’t pray our “flesh” for others (nor should we pray that for ourselves). We want to pray as the Holy Spirit leads, because He knows best.
So … always start your prayers for your loved ones by inviting the Holy Spirit to intercede and to lead and guide your prayers. Invite Him to take over!
Stay mindful of His Spirit as you pray … and learn to recognize what is the voice of the Holy Spirit versus your own voice (your own fears, heart break, confusion, your own lies) and versus the enemy’s taunts and suggestions.
When in doubt, pray, “Holy Spirit, please go to [name of loved one] and be with them and help them. You know their needs. Please meet them where they are and meet their needs in the ways You know best.”
You can pray that all day and night for your loved one and it is as powerful a prayer as you need to pray! God will answer.
But the Lord, out of His love for us also gives us keys in scripture for how to pray for our loved ones, in ways that will honor and uphold God’s plan for their lives.
One example is Galatians 5:22-23 – the fruit of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. That is God’s best for each person, and this fruit is what the presence of Christ produces in our hearts. When you see a Christian struggling in any of these areas, there is a bad root producing bad fruit that is choking out the good fruit. You can pray that God grows His good fruit in this person’s heart. That is always in line with God’s will for your loved one.
Resist the (very human) urge to pray against the bad fruit, or you will be in danger of manipulating and practicing spiritual witchcraft and judging/condemning the person (Matthew 7:1), not to mention interfering with God’s work in the person’s life. You don’t want to do that!
Pray for the good fruit. Pray that all day long. God will answer those prayers.
Another way to pray God’s best is to consider the lies your loved one believes. What lies do they believe about themselves? What lies do they believe about others? What lies do they believe about God? What lies do they believe about God’s purpose for their lives? About God’s love for them?
We all get tangled up in believing lies. It starts from conception and the web of deceit continues to grow, until we invite Jesus to come speak His truth into our hearts about those lies. (That is the process of sanctification.)
If you listen carefully to what your loved ones say, and how they behave, you will hear and see the lies they believe. That is a great place to start your intercessory prayers for them. For every lie, there is Christ’s truth. Pray that He will show them His truth, that He will speak His truth to their heart.
If they believe, “I am not loved,” ask God to speak directly to their hearts to tell them His truth, that they are loved. Search the scriptures for where God tells us this truth (John 3:16 is a great one, and there are many others). Turn those scripture verses into prayers: “God, please show [name of loved one] that you love [him/her] so much that You sent Your Son Jesus for [him/her].”
Pray also for God to use His people and to create tangible ways for your loved one to feel and experience the truth of His love. Again, remember not to pray your will or try to “fix it” or find your own answers and tell God what He should do. Just lob your prayers into God’s court and leave them with Him. Let Him decide how to answer them.
“God, show my loved one that YOU love them.” You can pray that all day long and God will delight to respond.
Take a few minutes now to start hearing God’s heart for your loved one, so you can pray effectively:
- Write your loved one’s name on a piece of paper and place it before God.
- Sit quietly with God, just being in His presence.
- Then begin to listen for His heart for your loved one.
- With His guidance, write down a few simple prayers you can pray each day for your loved one.
- Read over them first, to be sure they reflect only His heart, His will, His best for them … and to be sure they honor your loved one’s free will.
- Make any changes needed.
- Then keep those simple but powerful prayers in a place where you can pick them up each time God prompts you to pray.
As you do this more, you will begin to hear God’s heart for others and let His Holy Spirit guide you in prayer.
Have a blessed day!