How to pray for strangers

Praying for strangers is not really on anyone’s priority list. We have plenty of personal problems, friends and family that keep us on our knees, so we do not really go looking for more prayer material! From time to time though, we might consider praying for a friend’s friend in need or crisis, but for complete strangers? We usually do not know where to begin.

Does God expect us to pray for people we do not really know? Matthew 25:35 answers this question easily: For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. If God wants us to minister to strangers, surely He wants us to pray for them too! This article gives some practical examples that may inspire you to look differently at praying for strangers and doing so relentlessly through the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Keep it simple and sincere. When you drive or walk down the street, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. The easiest way to start is to pray for neighbours, based upon something that stands out to you from their houses.

Examples of prayers when driving through your neighbourhood
The Holy Spirit can lead us in really creative prayers – you may even find that you enjoy praying His promptings!  Be attentive and alert as you walk or drive through e.g. your neighbourhood. For example, when you pass by a home and see something drawing your attention, ask the Holy Spirit what He wants you to pray and then pray it. Here are some more examples to get you going:

  • A house with a red roof. Lord touch this people with the regeneration of new Life in Christ.
  • A bicycle in the driveway. Father, please show the children that You love them personally.
  • A flagpole. Lord, fill their hearts with love and adoration towards you more than they feel it for their country.
  • Old rugged tree in the front yard. Jesus, reveal yourself to them as the One who died for their sins on the cross.
  • White flowers or red roses. Father, cleanse them from sin and make them white as snow.
  • Walls and security fences. Holy Spirit, cut between the dividing wall between their soul and spirit, let them know You more and more.
  • Abandoned garden. Lord pour out Your Spirit upon this family so they may be restored in their relationship with one another and with You.
  • Magnolia trees surrounded with fallen petals. Lord reveal this family’s sins so they may lay them at Your feet, just like this tree sheds its flowers.
  • A fenced-in yard. Father, surround this family with Your love and protect them from deception and temptation.
  • Red car in the drive way. Jesus, let these neighbours come to accept the sacrifice of Your spilled blood.
  • Mailbox on old stump. Holy Spirit, reveal to them the message of the Father’s love through His Son Jesus Christ.
  • House on a corner. Jesus, reveal Yourself to this family as the faithful witness and the one and only capstone.
  • Light shining through window behind curtains. Father God, reveal to them that You are light and in You there is no darkness.

Shopping malls or at the office
In the same way you pray for your neighbourhood, you can pray when you go to work or enter the city/town or shopping mall. Be attentive to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit prompting you to pray about what you see around you.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit may show you someone during the day and prompt you to pray for such a person. Other times He may prompt you to go to the person and start a conversation and end up praying for a need they mention to you. The following are examples of things your attention may be drawn to.

  • When you see a young girl at a jewellery store. You can pray: Lord may she find You as her first love and be a good wife to her future husband.
  • When you see a mom with twins in a pram. You can pray: Father, strengthen this mother to nurture and care for both her babies. Protect her from feelings of guilt when she becomes tired.
  • When you hear someone cough behind you. You can pray: Father, will you touch him/her to be healed physically, and also find You spiritually.
  • When you see a child walking hand in hand with his father or mother. You can pray: Father, reveal Yourself to both this father and his son as their Heavenly Father.
  • When you see an elderly couple walking hand in hand. You can pray: Lord, thank you for this couples testimony of love to the younger generation. Bless them with many more years together.
  • When you see people are queueing at the bread counter. You can pray: Jesus, may they come to know you as the Bread of Life.
  • When you see someone paging through a book at a bookshop. You can pray: Jesus, reveal Yourself to her as the Word of Life that became flesh.

A last word
Praying for strangers – whether or not they know you are praying for them – is really taking a step in faith. Also, it is making our walk with the Lord very adventurous whilst learning to hear His voice on a daily basis. Continue to pray for people and little things the Holy Spirit shows you daily. As long as we listen to the Holy Spirit and act according to Scripture it will bear fruit pleasing to the Lord. It will build your faith and give you a testimony that will encourage others to do the same. Sometimes it may happen that you do not ‘hear perfectly’. That is part of the journey of learning to hear the Father’s voice. Do not lose heart or faith. Keep listening and praying for the next person He shows you.  Keep your focus on glorifying His name and not yourself.

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