At this time, people may ask you to pray for their loved ones who are in sickness, danger, or difficulty. It’s one thing to say “of course I will pray for them”, but how exactly do we do it?
Firstly, if you can, ask for some details about the situation. This will inform your thinking, but more importantly it will give the person an opportunity to show you how they are feeling. They may need your prayers as well, but are unable to ask directly for them. Each week try to find out from them how the person you are praying for is doing, this is a caring action and can mean a lot to the friend who approached you.
It’s easy to forget names and details so write them down as soon as you can. You will probably have a list that seems to grow and grow. One way of coping with all the people is to put the individual names in a “prayer pot” taking just a few names out at a time, and transferring them to another pot, until the first one is empty. Then simply reverse the process.
Some of us pray for people simply by using their name together with the name of Jesus. “John, Jesus….John, Jesus”. If, in the silence between each phrase, an idea for prayer or action comes into your mind, follow the lead!
Others prefer to talk to God informally as you would to a friend, but then adding a short prayer eg. “Father (or Lord Jesus) please help John at this time” Where people are critically ill you might use the prayer of the penitent thief from the cross simply putting the name of the person you are praying for in the sentence thus: ”Jesus remember (add the person’s name) when you come into your kingdom. (See Luke23:39-43).
Establish a pattern and way that suits you. It’s not easy, but above all “Pray as you can, not as you can’t!”