Intercessory Prayer: What It Is and How To Do It (2024)

What Is Intercessory Prayer?

Intercessory prayer is a powerful form of prayer in which we agree with God for His will to be accomplished. It is praying on behalf of others and for their needs, as well as our own. Intercessory prayer recognizes that God has the power to work in other people’s lives through prayer.

When we pray intercessory prayer, we seek God’s grace and mercy on behalf of someone else. We are asking God to intervene on behalf of another and help them in whatever situation they may be facing.

There are many examples of intercessory prayer in the Bible. For example, in Exodus 32, Moses intercedes on behalf of the Israelites as they continue to rebel against God. He says, “But now, please forgive their sin — but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.” In this passage, Moses is willing to sacrifice himself in order for God to be merciful towards the Israelites.

Another example of intercessory prayer is found in Daniel 9:20 where Daniel prays on behalf of his people. He pleads, “Lord, hear! Lord, forgive! Lord, listen and act! For your sake, do not delay.” Here Daniel is asking God to intervene on behalf of the Israelites for their sins.

In Romans 8:26-27 Paul says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” Here, Paul is asking God to help strengthen the faith of his fellow believers in Rome.

And Jesus himself prayed for his disciples in John 17. Jesus said, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” In this passage Jesus is asking God to protect his disciples and unite them with the same faith he had.

Why Is Intercessory Prayer Important?

Intercessory prayer is an important part of Christian life because it allows us to pray for and stand in solidarity with others who are facing difficult times. By interceding on behalf of others, we show our faith in the power of prayer and God’s ability to work through us.

Intercessory prayer also teaches us humility and encourages us to focus more on the needs of others rather than ourselves. It is a powerful way to support our loved ones and the world around us.

Additionally, God responds to intercessory prayer. When we pray for others, God is likely to answer our prayers. This in turn reminds us of his love and faithfulness.

Scriptures About Intercessory Prayer

There are numerous specific Bible verses about intercessory prayer. Here are some that you can use in your own prayers.

  • Philippians 4:6 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
  • 2 Chronicles 7:14 – “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
  • James 5:16 – “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
  • 1 Timothy 2:1 – “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people.”
  • Ephesians 6:18 – “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
  • Romans 8:26 – “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
  • Colossians 4:2 – “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
  • Matthew 5:44 – “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
  • Job 42:10 – “And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed, the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”

These scriptures reinforce the importance and power of intercessory prayer, and can be used as a guide when you engage in prayer.

How To Prayer Intercessory Prayer

Intercessory prayer is not complicated, and there is no specific formula you need to follow. However, here are some general guidelines.

Pray Specifically

When you are praying for someone or a situation, think deeply about the needs of those involved. Pray specifically and with intention for their current circumstances. Name names, talk about specifics, and discuss details with God in your prayers.

It’s not that God doesn’t know the details of what is happening. Rather, praying specifically helps bring clarity to what we’re asking and allows us to identify more clearly when God answers our prayers.

An example from the Bible of praying with specificity is when Daniel prayed for the walled city of Jerusalem. He specifically asked God to have mercy on his people and to rebuild the city (Daniel 9:17-19).

Pray With Authenticity

When you are praying, it’s important to be sincere and authentic in your prayer. Don’t just recite memorized prayers or go through the motions – rather, speak from your heart and let God know what is truly on your mind. Let Him know how desperate the situation is, and how much you are trusting Him to bring about a positive outcome.

An example of an authentic prayer can be found in Psalm 130:1-2 – “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!”

The Psalmist was very honest with God in prayer. He didn’t sugar coat things. Rather, he was open and honest about his feelings of desperation, sorrow, and need for God’s mercy.

Pray In Faith

When praying intercessory prayer, it’s important to remember that God is always faithful and He loves us deeply. We can approach Him confidently in faith, knowing that He hears us and will answer our prayers according to His perfect will.

An example of praying in faith can be found in Matthew 21:22 – “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Faith is important because it helps us to trust God in prayer. Even when we can’t see a solution in our circumstances, we can trust that God is working behind the scenes to bring about a positive outcome.

Pray With Persistence

Intercessory prayer isn’t something that you do once and forget about. It’s something that needs to be done persistently – praying for the same outcome consistently until you receive an answer.

An example of persistence in prayer can be found in Luke 18:1-8 – Jesus told a parable about a widow who kept coming to the judge and asking him to do justice for her. Even though the judge gave no explicit response, she persisted in her request until he finally granted her wish.

The same is true for us when we pray intercessory prayer. We must keep praying even if it seems like nothing is happening. God hears our prayers and He will answer them according to His perfect timing.

Pray With Humility

When praying on behalf of others, it’s important to do so with humility and respect. We must never presume to know what is best for a situation or individual – rather, we should humbly submit our requests to God and leave the outcomes up to Him.

An example of praying with humility can be found in James 4:10 – “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

God is sovereign over all things and His plans are far greater than anything we could ever imagine. As such, it is imperative that we come before Him in humility, trusting that He will answer our prayers according to His good and perfect will.

Pray Regularly

Intercessory prayer is not a one-time event. It’s important to build a regular practice of praying on behalf of others – this helps to keep our focus on the needs of those around us and also serves as a reminder that we are not in control, but rather God is.

A great example of someone who prayed regularly can be found in Daniel 9:3-19. Here we see how Daniel took time out to fast and pray for the people of Israel, even though there was no immediate response to his prayers.

The same is true for us today – we must continue to pray regularly and faithfully on behalf of others, trusting that God will answer our prayers according to His perfect will.

7 Intercessory Prayers You Can Pray

Here are some short examples of intercessory prayers you can pray in different situations. You can either pray these word-for-word or use them as inspiration for your own prayers.

Prayer For A Sick Friend

Dear God,

I come to You now on behalf of my friend who is sick. I ask for Your healing touch and comfort in their time of need. Give them peace of mind, strength in spirit and hope in heart that You will bring them through this difficult time.

In your word you say, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)”

With this verse in mind, I lift up my friend to you, confident that you hear my prayer. I pray that you would heal my friend and bring them relief from their sickness.

In Jesus’ name,


Prayer For Comfort In Grief

Dear God,

I come to You now on behalf of my friend who is grieving. I ask for Your presence and comfort in their time of deep sorrow. Open the floodgates of Your grace and mercy so that they may find healing and hope.

In your word you say, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me (Psalm 23:4).”

I lift up my friend to you, asking you to meet them in their grief. I pray that You would bring comfort and peace to my friend as they go through the difficult times ahead. May Your strength be made perfect in their weakness.

In Jesus’ name,


Prayer For A Friend In Trouble

Dear God,

I come to you now on behalf of my friend who is in trouble. I ask for Your protection and guidance over them in this difficult season of life. Shield them from harm and provide a way out of their circumstances.

In your word you say, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)”

I pray that they may have wisdom and discernment so that they may make wise decisions. May they come to know that You are always with them and never leave their side.

In Jesus’ name,


Prayer For Strength In Stressful Times

Dear God,

I come to you now on behalf of my friend who is feeling overwhelmed by the burdens of life. I ask for strength and courage for them to face the challenges that come their way. May they find solace in Your presence and rest in your love.

In your word you say, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)”

I pray that they may have the courage to keep going no matter what comes their way, knowing that You are with them every step of the way. May their hope and faith be renewed so that they can continue on despite any obstacles.

In Jesus’ name,


Prayer For Protection From Temptation

Dear God,

I come to you now on behalf of my friend who is struggling with temptation. I ask that You protect them from the schemes and lies of the enemy. May they be surrounded by Your love and grace so that they may be able to resist any temptations that come their way.

In your word you say, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)”

I pray that my friend may find the strength and courage to stay away from any sinful behavior. May they remember the great love that You have for them and find joy in living a life that is pleasing to You.

In Jesus’ name,


Prayer For Wisdom In Difficult Situations

Dear God,

I come to you now on behalf of my friend who is facing a difficult situation. I ask that You grant them wisdom and discernment to make the right decisions in this situation. May they have clarity of thought and be guided by Your truth so that they may find peace and resolution.

In your word you say, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)”

I pray that my friend may find the courage to take each step forward in their situation with confidence, trusting that You are leading them in the right direction. May they seek Your counsel for every decision made and be open to follow where You lead them.

In Jesus’ name,


Prayer For Guidance In Choosing The Right Path

Dear God,

I come to you now on behalf of my friend who is trying to make a difficult decision. I ask that You provide them with guidance and wisdom in choosing the right path for their life. May they be filled with Your peace and comfort during this time of uncertainty.

In your word you say, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105)”

I pray that my friend may be filled with courage and strength to chose the right path. May they trust in You for answers, knowing that Your will is perfect and wise. Let them remember that Your plans are good and bring life when followed faithfully.

In Jesus’ name,


Hey, I'm Stephen Altrogge. I'm a dad and published author. I've written for The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, ERLC, Church Leaders, Crosswalk, and many more outlets. You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook .

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