• Debbie Salter Goodwin

Five Principles to Help You Pray for Those You Love


As I prayed for our daughter through countless physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges, I learned much about prayer. I learned the difference between what I wanted to pray for and what God directed me to pray for. It was no accident that the best answers always came from how God directed my prayers.


Prayer is the first productive activity we can engage in, no matter what the issue is. Not worry prayers. Not don-let prayers. These focus on everything going wrong. Instead, our prayers need to find their way to God’s heart, His large, generous, compassionate heart. Our prayers need to demonstrate our belief in the unfailing love and wisdom of God, even when it doesn’t look or feel like it.


Praying for those we love is one of the most redemptive activities we can engage in. No matter who care deeply about, we all need to fuel our relationships with prayer. However, we need to keep them focused in the most productive ways.


To help you focus prayers for those you love in affirming and redemptive ways, I offer five principles that helped me:


1. Prayer is the only gift that keeps on giving.


I started my own parent journey with this very important truth, but in a different way. Lisa’s mother died before she could see her prayers answered for Lisa. When I married Mark and became the mother of their daughter, I inherited the prayers Kay prayed for Lisa. They were in a devotional workbook she valued in her last months. I know where God answered her prayers even after she was gone. That’s when I understood the depth and reach of prayer. Nothing we do for those we love can ever do more than prayer. Our prayers last longer than our life!

2. Pray God’s dreams for those you love, not just yours.


So often we ask God for what we think will be best in a situation. But our analysis is always flawed because we are too short-sighted. God sees from yesterday, today, and tomorrow. What does God want for those I pray for? That question fuels my prayers more than what I want. I pray what God wants until it is all I want, too!

3. Pray scripture.


If you want to know the prayers God wants to answer for those you love, pray scripture. Scripture invites us to pray for spiritual discernment when there are challenges. Scripture leads us to pray toward eternal issues. Scripture helps us pray the prayers God wants to answer. Those are the most productive prayers we can pray!


4. Pray for spiritual health before physical health.


Mark and I learned the importance of this during the first months after Lisa was diagnosed with a chronic illness that would create more ongoing challenges than we could know. We decided to pray for her spiritual health first, not her physical health. Committing to that prayer priority changed our focus. We looked for ways to grow her confidence in God. Of all the prayers we prayed, God answered our prayer for spiritual health so completely; it still overwhelms us. While we prayed for her physical health, we always prayed for her spiritual health first. It was Lisa’s spiritual health that enabled her to face her physical challenges. Don’t ever underestimate the power of spiritual health!


5. Pray How not Why.

It took me a long time to realize that the reason God doesn’t answer Why questions. They don’t help us move forward. Understanding why won’t make anything better or different. How is the question that moves us forward. Pray How can I help? How can I support? How can I speak the truth in love? Those are the questions that make a difference. Besides, God always answers a how question.

True prayer connects us with God’s heart toward those we pray for. True prayer gives us God’s perspective about issues. Don’t just think about the people you love and what is hard or going wrong. And don’t try to figure out what God should do. He already knows what do to do. He wants us to join Him in reaching those we love through prayer. Always pray first and pray the prayers God wants to answer. Then we become front row witnesses to His astounding work. Pray with confidence that there is nothing God won’t do to reach the ones we love. Pray knowing that God’s arms are longer than yours and can go where you cannot. That’s why we pray first, often, always.


Pray. Never stop praying!


Other Blogs about Prayer

Praying our Questions

Four Prayers that Bring Change

What I Believe About Prayer

The Kneeling Prayer (Includes a week of prayer prompts)


Books You Might Be Interested in

The Praying Parent by Debbie Goodwin

The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormy Omartian

The Power of Praying for Adult Children by Stormy Omartian




Image by Myriams-Fotos-Pixaby


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