12. How to pray for a brother or sister using a passage from the Bible

Let’s take Colossians 1:9-12 as an example.

  • v.9 “fill you with the knowledge of his will”

Lord, I pray for James today. Give him an accurate understanding of things. Give him an overview of your plan so that he might follow your path, plan and will with precision. Help him to choose what is right, good and edifying. In his everyday planning, give him the ability to establish good priorities. May reading your Word influence his choices, guides his steps and keep him safely on the path which you have set for his life.

  • v.9 “through all the wisdom”

Give James the ability to cultivate common sense, to observe and reflect before speaking. Give him a thirst for this wisdom from the heavens which is pure, peaceful, moderate, conciliatory, full of mercy and good fruits. Help him in his daily life to decipher between true and false, right and wrong, good and bad. Teach him to fear the Eternal who is the source of true wisdom.

  • v.9 “through… all the understanding”

May the Holy Spirit fill him with the understanding required to judge and discern things, to know when to speak and when to remain silent, to be encouraged and keep going. Help him to draw good from difficult situations.

  • v.10 “so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord”

Help him to have a pleasant manner and to build good relationships with his family, neighbours, brothers and sisters in Christ, boss and work colleagues. May others see Jesus in him today.

  • v.10 “so that you may… please [the Lord] in every way”

Help him to walk with the Spirit. May the Holy Spirit influence and mould his thoughts, words and actions. May his behaviour honour you.

  • v.10 “bearing fruit”

Help him to cultivate the different qualities of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self-control. Place along his path people who seek you. Give him simplicity, the right words and the courage to witness.

  • v.10 “in every good work”

Give him compassion for others. Give him a generous heart, the patience to listen and the humility to serve.

  • v.10 “growing in the knowledge of God”

Help him to take quality time to get to know you better, Lord. Through his reading, meditation and study of your Word, through prayer, may he acquire knowledge of you, your attributes and your interventions. May knowing you better be a priority and source of progress and spiritual stability for him.

  • v.11 “strengthened with all power”

Grant him physical strength and good health. Protect him on his travels. Strengthen his inner being: his heart, emotions, soul, thoughts and intelligence. May the arrow of doubt not pierce him! Keep him from stress, psychological pressure, oppression and conflict. Give him the strength only available through your Holy Spirit to resist temptation.

  • v.11 “endurance”

Grant him the ability to persevere in the face of obstacles, conflict and doubt. Even when he cannot see visible fruits for his work, give him the tenacity to continue to spread your Word, knowing that it will have an impact.

  • v.11 “patience”

Help him to put up with people who are difficult. Give him inner peace. When he faces trials, help him to trust in your promises, and may your truth be a source of strength, consolation and encouragement to him.

  • v.12 “giving joyful thanks to the Father”

Fill his heart with the joy that comes from you. May your Word give him joy in his heart. May this joy express itself through generosity, radiance, an optimistic spirit and a profound peace. Help him to maintain this joy in difficult situations. Give him opportunities today to express and communicate this joy to others around him.

  •  v.12 “giving joyful thanks to the Father”

Help him to cultivate a grateful spirit, to examine everything and retain what is good. Help him to count his blessings: your interventions, your blessings, your promises. May this spirit of gratitude be a powerful tool for him to witness effectively. We ask all this, in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. Amen!

Now you can choose a Bible passage, read it aloud, meditate on its content, then pray using the text as with the example I’ve just given you! Try to find inspiration in a phrase or a word in the Bible passage and build your prayer on the passage. This invigorates and gives shape to your prayer. The Holy Spirit who inspires our prayers is the same Spirit who inspired the Bible! So of course he guides us towards the Word of God!

Here are some examples of passages which work well with this kind of exercise:

  • Consolation and direction : Psalm 23
  • Instruction : Psalm 119:33-40
  • Confession : Psalm 51
  • Protection : Psalm 91