The Talmud (Baba Kama 92a) tells us that anyone who prays on behalf of another with similar needs will have his/her prayer answered first.
Rashi writes that in Torah, Sarah’s conception of Yitzhak (Bereishith/Gen. 21:1) is near Avraham’s prayers for Avimelech’s wife and maids to conceive (20:17-18), teaching us that if a person prays on behalf of somebody else when he/she needs that same thing, too, he/she will be answered first.
I’m often asked to “pray for someone.” More properly, to pray for a need of theirs: health, marriage, financial security, etc.
I’d rather encourage people to pray for themselves and for each other.
Many authors have pointed out that praying itself can give us a peace-of-mind that can help make difficulties easier to bear. I’m sure that many people have had their own experiences of this, too. So for starters, their own prayer may do more for their inner peace than mine will do for them. Quicker, too.
People say “I don’t know how to pray.” I said it, too, many years ago. I can’t say even now that I know all there is to know about prayer, but years of experience has a way of teaching us something.
The simplicity and “innocence” of that first time that I purposely, personally prayed strikes me now. I simply said what I had to say, with some degree of belief that I was being heard. Well, maybe not “belief.” Maybe just a willingness to allow for the possibility. I was having a problem. My mind wasn’t actually overwrought. I just felt that I needed “help” with it. I wondered if praying would solve the problem. After I prayed, I felt some relief. Not a mystical inner peace, but certainly less burdened. I said what I had to say and let it go. I don’t remember that it was a fully “silent” prayer; I think I just spoke quietly.
Prayer, if nothing else, can bring us to a deeper feeling of G-d’s Presence with us. It doesn’t always mean that our prayer is “answered” the way we want it to be, but sometimes, we come in prayer to a point of realizing that maybe what we want isn’t the best, or even the only outcome. Coming to a state of “acceptance” is a sign of real prayer too.
Mostly, though, I feel that people praying for themselves and each other can help reduce the amount of worry and upset that they feel.
I can pray for others, but I can’t give them my inner experience of prayer.
That they must find for themselves, although I can help them with that.
In the end, their own experience can do at least as much for them as my own prayers.
There’s also a free, confidential program (not non-denominational) that can connect you with someone else who has the same need as you do, to pray for each other.
The website is: kolhamitpalel.com.
Contact: email@example.com and/or (646) 294-4355.
They can give you prayers to say or read. Currently online in Hebrew without vowels, they’ll later be adding the vowels and English versions of the prayers, too.
But if you need their help, call or email them and see what they can provide at this time.