Intercessory Prayer is a Christian practice of praying on behalf of others. It may be offered for those who are unable to pray for themselves, those facing catastrophe, or those in positions of great responsibility.
This type of prayer requires compassion and unselfishness, as it focuses on the needs of others rather than self. According to the Bible, Christians are admonished to pray for those in authority, church leaders, family member, friends, the sick, enemies, those who persecute others and those who are persecuted. Clearly, no one is exempt from this list, meaning that all of mankind is deserving of prayers of compassion.
There are no specific instructions to learn in order to offer intercessory prayers, however, the highest form of prayer asks mainly that God's will or "the greatest good for all" be done, rather than asking for a specific outcome.
Those who unselfishly pray for others receive the rewards of peace and purpose, though they carry a burden of the suffering of others.
Many scientific studies have been done demonstrating the effectiveness of prayer, particularly for those who are ill. In fact, intercessory prayer is effective across great distances and even when those praying do not know the individuals for whom they pray.
These studies have also documented that HOW you pray can make a difference. Through careful investigation, it was found that, while all forms of prayer are effective, "non-directed" prayer can have the greatest impact. "Non-directed" means that rather than ask for a specific outcome (e.g. "Please heal Mrs. Smith's cancer"), you pray for the highest good to occur in every situation, as mentioned above. This type of prayer acknowledges that we may not always see the reason for things that are happening and that there may be wisdom beyond our understanding.
For more information on the study of prayer, see the book "Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine" by Larry Dossey, MD (http://www.dosseydossey.com/larry/book.html).
Visit this website for more information about intercessory prayer or to join an international circle of prayer:
You may also submit prayer requests Here if you would like support in praying for another or yourself.