One of my very first experiences serving in the church was in being on the prayer team. I was so surprised they would let a fourteen year old serve in this capacity. So as soon as they agreed, I was determined to show this small team of four that they made the right choice.
I hitched a ride from whoever would take me to the weekly meetings and stayed until the very end, even if that meant late into the night. This prayer team was no joke. There was never a set time of how long it would go. Sometimes that meant 4-5 hours long.
I loved it!
My faith grew dramatically during my years on this small prayer team. I saw the power of prayer and the power of praying boldly on behalf of other people. I became courageous in my personal relationships and was always that person who would stop the conversation and say, “Let’s pray about this.” I had a fire to seek the Lord about anything and everything any time of day.
This zeal and solid belief in the power of prayer began to shift once I went to college. I met Christians across many denominations and I quickly realized not everyone viewed prayer in the same way. I was fearful that my prayers weren’t biblical because my prayers sounded different from the people around me. I began to incorporate the phrase, “Lord if you will…” into just about all of my prayers.
There is certainly room for these types of prayers, but we also see several examples where scripture calls us to pray boldly.
One style of prayer we see in scripture is prayers of blessing and yet, many of us feel hesitant to pray these kinds of prayer. Prayers of blessing are sprinkled throughout the bible and we should be more open to incorporate them into our daily life.
Here are three practical ways you can bless others through your prayers.
1. Pray Scripture.
There’s one prayer of blessing that has been getting a lot of attention lately, it’s often known as the priestly blessing. This is Moses’ prayer of blessing for the people of Israel.
“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.”
What is so interesting about this prayer is actually what’s found in verse 27.
“Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”
God himself is making a promise that through the prayers of Aaron and his sons he will bless the people. Now, of course we can’t take this directly and say it is true in our lives, but there is something to be said about believers praying for blessing over others. God is in the midst of these prayers and he is at work.
Prayers of blessing aren’t like reciting a spell and waiting for magic to happen. But they are a way to care for others and to petition for the goodness of God’s Kingdom to be displayed in their life.Prayers of blessing aren't like reciting a spell and waiting for magic to happen. But they are a way to care for others and to petition for the goodness of God's Kingdom to be displayed in their life. Click To Tweet
It’s biblical to pray blessings over the lives of others. Paul was actually a great example of someone who put these prayers into practice.
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:16-20)
Paul is praying for the Church of Ephesus to experience the fullness of a relationship with Jesus. This is the abundant life that believers can have. He’s praying for the Holy Spirit to empower them, for God’s love to strengthen them, and for them to understand the fullness of the love of Jesus. There is power and victory in this prayer. Paul is asking for mighty things and it’s all for the benefit of the believer.
You may not always feel like you have adequate words or even that you know what to pray, so don’t be afraid to pray scripture directly. God hears your prayers and he acts. He wants good for his people, even more than you want good for them.
2. Actually Pray Out Loud with Your Friends.
There’s something about having a fellow believer pray over you that is like a balm to your soul. You may have prayed a similar prayer a thousand times for yourself, but when you hear someone else pray for you it instantly ministers to you. When you decide to pray out loud over your friend, God may use that to bless them in ways you could have never imagined.
In the same way that God isn’t looking for a super polished and well thought out prayer, neither is your friend. So instead of telling someone you’ll pray for them, why don’t you stop to actually join hearts and pray with them in that moment?
I know it doesn’t always feel comfortable and it might feel less than socially acceptable depending on where you are. But throw all of those things out the window. What could be better than ministering to your friend in their great moment of need?
This is often a far better way to respond to a friend than trying to give them your wisdom or guidance in a situation. Prayer is so much more powerful than your attempts at wise council.
My aunt is actually very good about stopping us mid conversation to pray with me. As I unload my heart to her she resets the conversation by bringing that great concern before the Lord. At the very least it’s a wonderful reminder that we don’t have to solve the problem together, but that we have someone far greater who is caring for even the small details of my life.
Taking a moment to pray out loud with your friends is one of the ways God desires for us to care for one another.
3. Don’t try to make your prayer beautiful.
Oftentimes, when we think prayers of blessing we think about incorporating all of the elements we were taught. We spend too much time being worried about checking the theological boxes of what should be in a prayer. There are many methods out there of how to pray and I’m sure they can be helpful, but not if they become the focus of your prayer.
God accepts your prayers no matter how unrefined and unpolished they might be. This is the case for when you pray for others. Interceding on someone’s behalf isn’t about you knowing the details or even knowing exactly what to pray for. Praying for others is about joining them before the throne of God. It takes compassion and empathy to pray for someone else. It means you have listened to them and thought of them.
The way your prayer sounds doesn’t make it any less of a blessing or cause God’s ears to go deaf.
You have spiritual authority to bless others.
When it comes to praying for others, we should be bold and passionate about our request. We should pray like God is going to move and like he loves that person because he does.
One of the greatest ways to bless another person is by praying for them.