Your prayers can not only change things for yourself, but they can significantly improve the lives of others. It has been said that praying for others is not the least you can do for them, but the most. Your prayers move the heart and hand of God to take action on their behalf.
Through your prayers others can receive most of the same benefits that you receive when you pray for the same things for yourself—including comfort, protection, freedom from anxiety and fear, healing, material supply, and more.
Because you pray you are also in a better position to help others directly. The Lord often uses people as His agents on earth, so it could very well be that He wants to use you to help bring about the answers to your own prayers. The very fact you pray for others shows that you’re concerned about their happiness and well-being, and this puts you in a position to better understand His loving plan for their lives and how you can help bring it to pass. When you pray for someone who is sick, for example, He may show you how you can help stir their slumbering faith and then He might heal them as a testimony to them and others of His miracle-working power, and to cause their relationship with Him to blossom.
When you spend time with the Lord in prayer, He fills you with the fruits of the Spirit, which include love, joy, peace, longsuffering, temperance, faith, gentleness, meekness, and goodness.1 As you receive more of His Spirit, others will see the Lord and His gifts reflected in your everyday life. “We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”2
Many years ago, a little backwoods town in the U.S. northeast seemed to have more than its share of problems—and problem people.
One night a few Christian friends were talking, when one of them said, “We may not be trained pastors or evangelists, but something must be done in this town. Let’s form a prayer group. We can start by all praying for one person. Who shall it be?”
They picked one of the hardest men in town, a hopeless drunk, and all concentrated their prayers on him. He received Jesus as his Savior that same week, and became a changed man. Then they concentrated their prayers on another man, and he was also converted. Then they prayed for another and another, until within a year, hundreds of people had found Jesus. The town was transformed!
How lovely are the faces of
The ones who talk with God—
Lit with an inner sureness of
The path their feet have trod;
How gentle is the manner of
The one who walks with Him!
No strength can overcome him, and
No cloud his courage dim.
Keen are the hands and feet—ah, yes—
Of those who wait His will,
And clear as crystal mirrors are
The hearts His love can fill.
Some lives are drear from doubt and fear
While others merely plod;
But lovely faces mark all those
Who walk and talk with God.
One night in April 1912, a woman tossed and turned, unable to sleep. She was suddenly very worried about her husband who was then in mid-Atlantic, homeward bound on the Titanic. For several hours she prayed earnestly for him. At about five o’clock, a great peace came over her, and she finally fell asleep.
Meanwhile her husband, Colonel Gracie, was among the men who were trying frantically to launch the lifeboats from the great ship that had struck an iceberg and was sinking fast. He had given up all hope of being saved himself, and was doing his best to help the women and children. He wished that he could get a last message through to his wife, and cried from his heart, “Goodbye, my darling!”
As the ship plunged toward the ocean floor, he was sucked down in the giant whirlpool. Instinctively he began to swim under water, ice- cold as it was, crying in his heart, Goodbye, my darling, until we meet again!
Suddenly he came to the surface and found himself near an overturned lifeboat. He and several others climbed aboard, and they were picked up the next morning by a rescue boat.
After Colonel Gracie made it home, he and his wife exchanged their stories and soon realized that she had been praying for him when he had been in the greatest danger. Not only that, but according to the time at home, he had been rescued at five in the morning—the exact time that the Lord had assured his wife he was going to be okay!
Say not I do not understand the fierceness of your fight,
For I was with you many times in the darkness of your night.
Though you were many miles away and we were years apart,
I felt oft-times your agony, the pain within your heart.
Say not you fought the battle grim in darkness all alone,
For I was with you there in prayer, stood by you at the Throne.
With shield of faith and Spirit’s sword, I answered at His Word,
And came to battle by your side when first your call I heard.
Say not, “’Tis fantasy that one should hear such distant cry.”
For we are one in Him we love; His Spirit draws us nigh.
And oft He whispers to my heart the call to quickly pray.
So I have reached you there in prayer, though you are far away.
—Virginia Brandt Berg
We give to others in their need
No greater love and care,
Than when we give them to the Lord,
Surrounding them with prayer.
1. Galatians 5:22–23 KJV