How to Pray for Others

If you were to make a list of spiritual giants, Moses would be near the top of the list. God fashioned him to be an exceptional leader and spiritual guide.

People have followed his example of humility, obedience, and prayer for centuries.

Moses’ example in today’s Deuteronomy passage models for us how to pray for others.

Passionate Praying

The most difficult part of Moses’ prayer may be overlooked if we skip directly to the words of the prayer. The prayer is introduced with these words:

Deuteronomy 9.25Throughout the forty days and forty nights that I lay prostrate before the Lord when the Lord intended to destroy you.

The burden that Moses carried for the nation was so powerful that he engaged in fasting and prayer for 40 days and nights.

His passion for God’s purposes for the Hebrew nation was so great that he remained before God until he was assured of the answer he desires.

I expect you are like me and are concerned about several things that are taking place in the world. We are truly living in troubled times.

Let’s evaluate our response to the trouble we see in the world.

(1) Have we sought God to determine what he thinks about what is happening in the world? In other words, are we aligned with his will concerning current events in history?

(2) How much time and energy have we devoted to prayer for the accomplishment of God’s purposes.

My response to these two questions is to confess that I spend more time complaining or worrying about current events than doing what the two questions suggest.

Jesus emphasized the need for persistence in prayer. He told this parable.

Luke 11.5-8And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread;

“For a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’

“And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’

“I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.”

The argument that Jesus made in the parable was from the unwillingness of the neighbor to the abundant generosity of God.

He said in effect, “If this human is willing to help, how much more will your loving heavenly Father respond to your prayers.”

To make the point, Jesus followed the parable with an encouraging promise.

Luke 11.9, 10, 13 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.

“For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

I have devoted a sizable portion of the article to this one aspect of effective prayer because it is both needed and often overlooked.

Please evaluate how much time you give to discerning God’s will and praying for what is taking place in the world.

Elements of An Effective Prayer

The words of Moses’ prayer are a model of what should be part of effective prayer for others.

Deuteronomy 9.26-29 I prayed to the Lord and said, “Lord God, do not destroy the people who are your very own possession, whom you redeemed in your greatness, whom you brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.

“Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; pay no attention to the stubbornness of this people, their wickedness and their sin,

“Otherwise the land from which you have brought us might say, ‘Because the Lord was not able to bring them into the land that he promised them, and because he hated them, he has brought them out to let them die in the wilderness.’

“For they are the people of your very own possession, whom you brought out by your great power and by your outstretched arm.”

For centuries, Moses’ prayer has taught people how to ask for others. There are four aspects to his prayer that we will do well to imitate.

(1) Specific Request – Moses’ request was simple, “Do not destroy the people.”

Some of our prayer requests can be so vague that we will have a difficult time knowing when they are answered.

In contrast, it was easy to see if God answered Moses’ appeal.

(2) Confession – Moses described his people as stubborn, wicked, and sinful.

When Isaiah experienced a vision of God, he was quick to identify with the sin of the nation (Isaiah 6).

Daniel was a powerful man of prayer. When he prayed, he said, “We have sinned and done wrong, acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and ordinances.

“We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land” (Daniel 9.5-6).

Jesus taught us to pray, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6.12).

Identification with sin, stubbornness, and rebellion is a central part of effective prayer.

(3) Prayer for God’s Honor – Moses appealed to God’s reputation, as he prayed for the nation.

It is important to understand God’s point of view and to express it in prayer.

Jesus’ message to the church in Laodicea contains an important truth about prayer.

Revelation 3.20Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.

The most effective prayer is that which hears God’s “knock at the door,” and opens it so God can enter the situation.

Moses’ prayer for God’s glory among the nations was exactly that. He knew God’s will and prayed for it to happen.

We do well to imitate his practice.

(4) Appeal for Mercy – Moses’ final appeal was for mercy.

All prayer originates in God’s love and appeals for his mercy. We can pray, because a loving God provided this way for humans to communicate with him.

When we are effective in prayer, it is because God is merciful and grants what we need.

About This Blog

Rudy Ross is an excellent Bible student and lover of God. He and I discuss this powerful passage on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.

Please email your prayer request to or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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