What does it mean to really “pray for one another”?

Every church has a prayer chain.

Every Christian knows that we are called to pray for one another.

But, what does it mean to really “pray for one another”?

Dr. Will Bruce, of OMF International, wrote a great article that challenges Christians to consider going deeper when praying for others – be it fellow Christians or those who are unbelievers.  Bruce writes:

Every Christian in our modern world is under constant satanic pressure and attack. We must bear one another’s burdens as we see these pressures escalating. We can and must do it by regular, specific prayer. So much of our praying is limited to just, “Lord, bless …,” or, “Lord, meet the need of …” We are admonished in Galatians 6:2 to bear one another’s burdens. Some burdens are too heavy to be borne alone because of a sudden flood of problems, lack of adequate Bible teaching or spiritual immaturity.

On the other hand, Galatians 6:5 tells us there are burdens for which each one must take responsibility. He must seek God’s help and do what he can for himself. In 2 Corinthians 1:8-11, Paul writes of the extreme pressures that can be handled only through the prayers of others. To be guilty of the sin of prayerlessness is to be guilty of the worst form of practical atheism. It is actually saying we can get along without His help while the evidence is very clear on every hand that we cannot. Could it be that the sin of prayerlessness stems from our unbelief that he is a living God who exercises direct influence on the affairs of men? Instead of waiting until crisis problems develop which result in panic praying for others, we need to trust God to protect them as we pray Spirit-led, thoughtful, caring prayers before the problems overwhelm them, and they are unable to cope. We need to engage in major battles, not just minor skirmishes, moving from surface praying to in-depth praying. We need to pray both defensively and offensively.

Read the rest of the article here.

Will Bruce goes on to suggest things to pray for people when lifting them up before the Throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:16).  He concludes the article by stating:


Confess sin and let the blood of Jesus cleanse. Prayer must flow from a cleansed vessel. Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me.”

Be tied to the mind of Christ so thoroughly that you think his thoughts about his embattled saints.

Be motivated by love for God and a desire to help others (Hebrews 6:10, NIV).

Pray fervently to be led by the Holy Spirit to the exact needs of the one for whom you ARE praying.

Be specific, systematic, and steadfast in praying for others.

Agree in prayer with others, the “two or three” of Matthew 18:19-20.

Learn to saturate a situation or problem with prayer.

Pray with the authority you have in Christ to bind the power of Satan (Matthew 18:18, Mark 3:27).

Pray the prayer of faith and claim the victory (1 Cor. 15:57-58).

Pray for others as you pray for yourself. Any problem you have others probably have, even if in a slightly different form.

Use a passage of scripture as you pray for others. Here are some suggestions: Ephesians 1:15-23; Colossians 1:9-12; Ephesians 3:14-21. (Use scripture also in praying for yourself.)


May you accept your responsibility of interceding for others by getting down to the real business of praying for them. “O God, awaken us all to our responsibility to pray for one another so that all Christians may glorify you and fulfill the purpose for which we have been saved!”

I know I’ve been challenged, how about you?


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