A few years ago, I trained a group on how to pray for people (intercessory prayer). Then, we gathered to pray for whatever the Lord put on our hearts. The time of prayer started normally, with the first few people asking the Lord to bless certain people in their lives.


Then Larry, a college student, lifted up his voice in prayer. His voice was quivering but strong with conviction as he started, “Jesus, so many people are lost on my campus. They walk in darkness. They contemplate suicide. They are purposeless, lonely, and covered in shame.” His conviction rose as he cried, “They need you! They need your light. They need your life! Save them, Jesus! Be their Savior, their Redeemer!”

how to pray over others

As he continued to pray, I sensed a powerful faith and a rock-solid hope rising within him. I could feel authority in the room. I knew he was praying according to God’s heart for the world. Tears streamed down his face and his voice grew louder as he begged the Lord to fulfill his promises. “Rescue the lost!” he cried. “Liberate the captives, restore the sight of the blind, deliver your people!”


The divine Love that saved the world was flowing out of Larry. This was not merely a sentimental feeling of love. This was the love that moves mountains–God’s love for the world. I marveled to witness such an expansive, all-encompassing, powerful love bursting from the prayer of this very normal college student.


This love was the Holy Spirit within Larry. This was the manifestation of God’s heart. His prayer was an expression of God’s will for the world. The Holy Spirit was praying within this young man, in communion with his spirit, bursting out through his voice.


We cannot pray this way on our own. We are weak in this kind of faith, hope, and love. This is why St. Paul writes in Romans 8:26-27: 


“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. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”


The Spirit groaned in Larry and interceded for students on his campus in accordance with God’s will. I believe many students found the life of Jesus because of Larry’s prayer. Someday, when he comes home to heaven, Jesus will introduce him to all the souls in heaven who are there because of his prayer that day. And they will praise the work of the Holy Spirit together as they embrace.


This Holy Spirit is our inheritance as baptized disciples of Jesus. He has been given to us. He was sealed and unleashed in us through our confirmation. This Pentecost, ask him to help you in your weak faith, hope, and love for the world. Beg him to groan within you for the salvation of the world, especially those in your circle of influence. He is eager to rise up within you. He is eager to give you these gifts. And someday, like Larry, you will meet the souls in heaven who enjoy his eternal light because of your prayers.


Pentecost still happens.


Jason Simon is the President of the Evangelical Catholic. The Evangelical Catholic’s mission is to equip Catholics to live out the Great Commission. Learn more.


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