10 Prayers from History to Pray for Your Loved Ones

1. A Prayer for Loved Ones

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Paul the apostle, Philippians 1:3–11

2. A Prayer for Family and Friends

Have mercy, oh Lord, on all those whom you have associated with us in the bonds of friendship and family. Grant that they, with us, may be so perfectly conformed to your holy will that, being cleansed from all sin, we may be found worthy, by the inspiration of your love, to participate together in the blessedness of your heavenly kingdom through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Old Gallican Rite

Cloud of Witnesses

Jonathan W. Arnold, Zachariah M. Carter

This comprehensive anthology combines prayers and petitions of the greatest figures throughout history to bolster the reader’s knowledge of prayer and develop their walk with Christ.

3. A Prayer of Dedication for Children

To you, oh Lord, I offer my first and last children. This is my firstborn, and this is my last child. To you, both have been consecrated by law, and they are offerings to you. So sanctify them for your service. Amen.
Gregory of Nyssa (ca. 335–ca. 395), quoting Emmelia of Caesarea (d. 375)

4. A Prayer for Marriage

Oh eternal and gracious Father, you have set marriage apart as a holy mystery, a representation of the union of Christ with his church. Please let the Holy Spirit guide me in my life as a spouse that it may not become a sin to me, and do not let the liberties that you have righteously given by the holy Jesus become an occasion of licentiousness for my own weakness and sensuality. Please forgive all those irregularities and overly sensual applications that may, in some degree or other, upset my spirit or hinder my maturity as a Christian. Let me in all experiences and circumstances be serious about my service for you. Let me be affectionate and loving to my spouse, a guide and good example for my family, and in all quietness, sobriety, prudence, and peace, a follower of those holy couples who have served you with godliness and a good testimony.

Please let the blessings of the eternal God, the blessings of the right hand and of the left, be upon the body and soul of your servant, my spouse, and let those blessings remain there until we have come to the end of a holy and happy life. Please grant that both of us may live forever in the embrace of the holy and eternal Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
Jeremy Taylor (1613–1667)

5. A Prayer for the Conversion of a Father

Oh Lord, with your gracious and merciful eye, look upon the contrition of my heart. According to your certain promise, stay with me as I acknowledge you to be the maker and defender of all creation. Cause a spring of water to rise up within me; give words to me as I open my mouth and a mind so set on you, the chief cornerstone, so that your unworthy servant may be enabled to preach to my father, as I should, the mystery of your plan of redemption, and remove him by your power from the futile lies of wicked demons so that I may deliver him to you, his God and Lord, who does not desire the death of us sinners but waits for us to turn back and repent so that you will be glorified for all time. Amen.
John of Damascus (ca. 675–749)

6. A Prayer for Students

Ineffable Creator, who, from the riches of your wisdom, designed three classes of angels and placed them above the heavens in a wonderful order and distributed the parts of the universe in the most elegant way, you who are the true source of light and wisdom, deign to shed upon my understanding a ray of your light to remove from me the double darkness of my birth, the darkness of both sin and ignorance.

You, who make the tongues of children speak eloquently and who infuse my lips with the grace of your blessing, give me a keen mind for understanding, a capacity to retain knowledge, a method and facility for learning, the subtlety of interpretation, and an abundant capacity for communication. Direct the beginning, oversee the progress, and bring the task to completion, you who are truly God and man, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)

7. A Prayer for the People of God

Dear Lord, remember this city where your people dwell and every other city and country with your faithful followers in them. Oh Lord, remember all who sail and those who travel by land, those who are sick or who are close to death, and those who are captives in need of freedom. Remember, oh Lord, those who display good fruit, those who cultivate the soil of your holy church and do not neglect the poor. Grant that, in unity of voice and heart, we may glorify and praise your great and majestic name—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—both now and forevermore. Amen.
The Liturgy of Saint Chrysostom

Grant that, in unity of voice and heart, we may glorify and praise your great and majestic name—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—both now and forevermore.

8. A Prayer for Family, Friends, and the Persecuted Church

I do not want to pray for myself only but for all people, as you have taught me. Shine the light of your gospel over the whole heart. Deliver those who are persecuted for righteousness’s sake from the hands of those who hate them. Let the spirit of persecution be rooted out from the nations. When will the time come, Lord, that the freedom to worship you and the power of your gospel will be asserted and vindicated by the rulers of this world? When will it be that the governments of this earth will advance true faith with all their resources?

Maintain your gospel in its power and glory. Let the ministry of your word be accompanied by a demonstrable power of your Spirit so that the church on earth would be enlarged daily. Do so that the knowledge of you and of holiness would increase and abound among all people.

Look down in mercy on my dear family members and friends. Bless my parents, siblings, and family with all the gifts they need according to your providence and grace. Show your love to those who love me and enable me to forgive any who have hurt me. Let them repent of their sins, oh Lord, and partake of your forgiveness.
Isaac Watts (1674–1748)

9. A Prayer for Friends and Others Who Are Dear to Us

We ask you to bless people everywhere, famous or unknown, rich or poor, so that they would all faithfully serve you and enjoy whatever you determine they need. We especially ask that you would arrange stability and peace in the affairs of this world through your providence. We ask this so that your church can joyfully serve you in all quietness.

We leave all we have with you, especially our friends and those who are dear to us. We desire that when we are dead and gone that they would similarly lift their souls to you. Teach those who come after us to praise, love, and obey you. And if we wake in the morning, may we praise you again with joyful lips, still offering ourselves to you as a more acceptable sacrifice through Jesus in whose words we beg you to hear us.
John Wesley (1703–1791)

10. A Prayer for the Church

We ask that you send the Holy Spirit as a holy offering to the holy church. As we assemble, give to all the saints the fullness of the Holy Spirit for the confirmation of true faith so that we may praise and glorify you through your Son, Jesus Christ, through whom glory and honor to the Father and the Son with the Holy Spirit in your holy church are yours now and forever! Amen.
Hippolytus of Rome (ca. 170–ca. 235)

This article is adapted from Cloud of Witnesses: A Treasury of Prayers and Petitions through the Ages edited by Jonathan W. Arnold and Zachariah M. Carter.

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