Praying for unknown needs of others

by Courtney Jacob

One of the challenges of serving as a prayer partner with a ministry like ReFrame is that we rarely have personal relationships with the people for whom we pray. That means, for better or worse, we don’t always have a lot of context. Sometimes when I read a prayer request, I wonder, “Is this what this individual truly needs, or is it just what they think they need?” Of course, I recognize it’s not up to me to decide what someone else really needs. God knows what they really need, and his answer to prayer will always meet that need. Still, at times I do find myself moved to pray for someone beyond their specifically stated need. When that happens, I sometimes struggle to find the right words when I don’t have all the information.

Praying for unidentified needs

I discovered a prayer in Kari Kristina Reeves’ book, Canyon Road: A Book of Prayer, and found its phrases useful in praying for unidentified needs. I hope you will also find it helpful.

“Protect my friend from snares that are invisible to her own eyes. Protect her, by your grace, God, from traps and stumbling blocks. Keep her eyes fixed on you alone. Shield her; encompass her; give her that which she does not know to ask for, Jesus. Please give her your mercy, Father, and let her see your glory” (P204).

God works through the prayers

God works through the prayers of his people, and even if we don’t know quite what to pray—for ourselves, for our loved ones, or for the individuals who contact us—there are always ways to pray in accordance with the will of the Father.

What if you are asked to pray for something you don't agree with, click here for some helpful advice: Do I really have to pray for that?