Praying for Others

woman in prayerDo you ever wonder why we pray for people? Praying for the living and the dead is, after all, a spiritual work of mercy. I believe one of the key characteristics of Ignatian spirituality, being a contemplative in action, offers us insight into this work of mercy.

To me, living as a contemplative in action means being a person of prayer who puts that prayer into concrete reality. It doesn’t mean that we merely act just to act, nor does it mean for us to squirrel away somewhere apart from the world in endless contemplative silence. Being a contemplative in action means we pray and we wait for God to direct our actions as we live out in the world.

Pope Francis says it best, “God the Father comforts by raising up comforters, whom he asks to encourage the people, his children.” (On Hope, pg. 3) Prayer opens our hearts to God, and as our hearts are opened to God, our compassion for others grows. When we pray for others, we support them and entrust them to God. Praying for others is a way that God stirs desires within us to act, often on the behalf of the very people we bring to prayer. This is how God raises comforters, by stirring our hearts during prayer to move us forward to action.

God comforts others by inviting us to be God’s hands, feet, and eyes comforting those we keep in prayer.

Who does God have on your heart in prayer right now? How might God be inviting you to comfort this person through a concrete action?

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Becky Eldredge
Becky Eldredge is a writer and spiritual director in Baton Rouge, LA. The author of Busy Lives & Restless Souls and The Inner Chapel, Becky holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Education from Louisiana State University and a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University New Orleans. She has her Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Spring Hill College. Becky has been involved in ministry for more than 15 years, with the majority of her work in retreat ministry and adult faith formation. While ministry is one of her passions, her greatest joy is sharing life with her husband, Chris, and her children, Brady, Abby, and Mary.


  1. I was taught that prays must go with good works??? However, if Praying IS all we can do for someone then PRAY. That’s about all I am now capable of doing at present and I hope people are saying one for me. I dropped off a bit for a while , but never completely. With Lent approaching I hope & pray to get back to more prayer. Thank you for all the helpful Reflections. A.M.D.G.

  2. Well articulated insight! It is within the very essence of the contemplative vocation to be a comfort to others, either in person or in prayer, in community or in solitude. Deep prayer opens the heart to love and care.

  3. A dear friend of mine has lost her faith completely during the last few months… She’s on my heart and I’m quite at a los how to be there for her, honestly. 🙁


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