As someone who regularly offers to pray for others—whether over the phone, at the end of a spiritual direction session, via text, or in a note—it’s not uncommon to pause and ask, “Do I really mean that? Will I actually pray for them?” This question reminds us of the depth and sincerity that should accompany our prayer promises. 

Prayer in the Catholic tradition is a profound way to connect with God and intercede for others. The Church encourages us in several forms of prayer, each with its own unique approach to lifting up others before the Lord. These include “Blessing and Adoration,” which acknowledges the greatness of God and His blessings; the “Prayer of Petition,” which is a personal request to God; the “Prayer of Intercession,” specifically praying on behalf of others; the “Prayer of Thanksgiving,” expressing gratitude to God for His blessings and mercies; and the “Prayer of Praise,” offering glory to God for who He is, beyond what He has done. 

Embracing these forms can help deepen our prayer lives and fulfill our prayer promises. We can integrate each form of prayer into these ten meaningful ways to ensure that when we say we will pray for someone, we genuinely do so, honoring the commitment with intention and love. It may be a small sacrifice to follow through, but it respects the dignity of each person and acknowledges their worth and the importance of their soul. 

1. Having a Mass Offered 

When someone offers me a Mass, I am deeply moved because it’s one of the most powerful ways to pray for someone and their intentions. The Mass is the highest form of prayer, as it brings us directly into the mystery of Christ’s sacrifice. It shows how much you care by going to the heart of our Catholic faith, scheduling a Mass, and even making a donation for the sacred celebration.

If you want to do the same for someone, just contact your parish or favorite shrine and ask them to celebrate a Mass for the person you’re praying for. It’s usually straightforward: call or visit the parish office, give them the details, and they will suggest a donation, which can vary from place to place. Many places also have Mass intention cards you can give to the person, letting them know a Mass will be said for them or their intention.

I always keep a stack of Mass offering cards on hand. A shrine I’m attached to sends them to me whenever I request them. They’re super handy when I want to send a tangible sign of my prayer for a loved one. These cards are a beautiful way to show someone you care deeply about them and their needs.

Having a Mass offered not only brings your intention before God in a profound way but also gets the whole community involved in praying for that person. During the Mass, everyone there joins in your prayer. It’s a way to unite many prayers for the benefit of one person.

So, next time you want to do something meaningful for someone, think about having a Mass offered for them. It’s a gesture that goes well beyond “I’ll pray for you.” It shows deep care and reverence for the Mass, witnessing to the significance of the Mass as the highest form of prayer and showing the person that they are worthy.

2. Praying Right Then and There

Praying in person with someone immediately after sharing something difficult or exciting is a powerful way to offer support in the moment. This form of prayer is deeply rooted in God’s design, as He made us for relationships. What is more relational than being in one another’s presence, sharing our delights and sorrows, and offering prayers together to God, the ultimate relationship all relationships point to?

While this may take you out of your comfort zone, it demonstrates profound compassion and a willingness to bring Christ’s presence into whatever the person is experiencing.

Praying with someone in their moment of need or thanksgiving follows the example set by Jesus, who often prayed with individuals and groups. In Sacred Scripture, Jesus doesn’t shy away from calling on God in the moment for whatever the need may be (cf. Luke 9:28-29, John 6:11, John 17, Luke 11:1-4).

By leading the person in prayer right then and there, you acknowledge their need and invite God’s presence, authority, guidance, and comfort into their life. This immediate act of prayer shows the person that they matter—to you and to God. It assures them that there is something greater at work and that they are not alone.

Prayer isn’t just for Mass or when we sit down for a meal. Praying in the moment, whatever the moment, reinforces the importance of turning to God in all circumstances and making prayer a natural and integral part of our interactions and relationships.

3. Lighting a Candle

How often has someone told you, “Light a candle for me”? My mother asks me to light one for her whenever I am at a church, shrine, or chapel without her. This simple request has a deeper meaning than we might realize.

Lighting a votive candle in a church is a beautiful, tangible way to pray and offer your intention to God. The light represents God’s presence and the continuous offering of your prayer, even after you leave the church. It’s a visible sign showing that God is actively present in the lives of those we pray for. When you light a candle, you create a sacred space for your prayer intentions, allowing you to focus more deeply on the person you are praying for. It’s a moment to pause, reflect, and lift up their needs and intentions to God.

The lighting of a candle also connects us to a long-standing tradition within the Church. For centuries, Christians have lit candles as a form of prayer, symbolizing the light of Christ in the world. This practice reminds us that we are part of a larger community of believers, both living and deceased—the Communion of Saints.

Many churches request that you make a small offering for the candle. Usually, it isn’t much more than the cost of the candle. 

Next time you visit a church, take a quiet moment to light a candle. As the flame flickers, spend a few minutes in prayer, lifting up the person and their intentions to God. Let the light serve as a reminder of your ongoing prayer and God’s presence in both your life and theirs.

4. Praying a Novena 

Have you heard of a Novena? I have found great consolation in many a novena, often accompanied by writing a page or two of intentions for the nine days of prayer. Although it is difficult for me to name all the novenas I’ve prayed, a few come to mind: the Divine Mercy Novena, the Saint Rita Novena, the Infant of Prague Novena, the Saint Joseph Novena, and the Holy Spirit Novena. Surely, there are more! Each one was a gift for a different reason, including being able to surrender not only something but someone

Novenas have their roots in early Christian traditions, with this form of prayer beginning around the time of the apostles. The word “novena” comes from the Latin word “novem,” meaning nine. This prayer form is thought to be inspired by the nine days of prayer and waiting between the Ascension of Jesus and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.

Choose a Novena that resonates with the person’s needs and pray daily, offering them and their intentions to God.

You may not expect this, but praying a Novena can also help you develop intimacy with God. The commitment to praying for nine consecutive days enhances your discipline in daily prayer and offers you comfort and grace, even though your focus is on praying for someone else.

Some people appreciate moving from one Novena to the next, enjoying the structure, daily routine, and focus it brings to their prayer life. This continuous cycle of prayer can be life-giving. If you’re new to praying Novenas or looking for your next one, consider praying my Joy Seeker Novena, designed to guide you in making yourself available to God, who is joy Himself.

5. Making a Sacrifice or Offering 

Offering personal sacrifices or suffering for someone else’s intentions holds deep spiritual significance and is very Catholic. It imitates Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the cross, allowing us to share in His selfless love and redemptive suffering. This practice deepens our prayer life, making it more sincere and meaningful, and serves as a powerful expression of love and support for others, especially in their difficult times. We show deep concern and live our Catholic faith by offering our sacrifices for someone, offering a very high form of solidarity. 

Embracing sacrifices cultivates virtues like humility, patience, and compassion. It underscores our unity as the Body of Christ, reinforcing the belief in the communion of saints, where all believers are one, even in suffering. This practice deepens our faith by requiring trust in God’s providence and the power of redemptive suffering, where we offer our pain and sacrifices in union with Christ’s suffering on the cross for spiritual benefits.

Redemptive suffering gives meaning and purpose to our pain. By uniting our suffering with Christ, we participate in His work, offering our struggles for the good of others and strengthening our relationship with God. This helps us view suffering as an opportunity to grow in virtue rather than as meaningless pain.

Personal sacrifices can take many forms: fasting, giving up a comfort, dedicating extra time to prayer, offering daily struggles and pains, performing acts of charity, or making intentional sacrifices for others’ intentions. Practically speaking, you can leave off the cold foam, make a difficult phone call, donate to a life care center, volunteer, increase your tithe, support your parish prison ministry, or refrain from buying something for simple enjoyment. There are numerous ways to make a meaningful sacrifice.

These offerings enrich our spiritual lives and transform our pain into a source of grace and eternal benefit for ourselves and others.

6. Quick Mentions 

Prayer doesn’t always have to be a lengthy, formal process. Quick mentions to the Lord throughout your day can be just as meaningful. Whether during morning or evening prayer, while doing dishes, gardening, walking, or working out, take a moment to bring the person to mind and ask God to bless and help them. What this looks like for me: 

When I Am Making My Coffee:

As I prepare my morning coffee, I take a moment to pray: “Jesus, be with _______ today. Give him what he needs to be close to you.” This simple prayer helps me start the day with a heart turned towards God and a desire to intercede for others.

When I Am Working on the Computer:

While working on my computer, I pause and say: “God, I love you. I offer to you _______. She has asked for prayers for ____________. May your divine will be brought to fruition.” Integrating prayer into my work routine also reminds me that my daily tasks can be an offering to God and a moment of connection with Him.

When I Am Out for a Walk:

During my walks, I pray: “God, I offer you __________. Mary, please intercede for them.” Walking in nature often brings me peace, and this time becomes an opportunity to lift up my loved ones and their needs to God.

When I Am Driving:

As I drive, I might pray: “Mary, I give you everyone I have promised to pray for. Hail Mary…” Driving can be stressful, but turning it into a prayerful moment transforms it into a time of intercession.

By weaving these brief, sincere prayers into my daily life, I ensure that the people and intentions I have promised to pray for are genuinely offered to God. Incorporating prayer into various activities keeps me attentive to God and the needs of others, maintaining a spirit of intercession regardless of what I’m doing. 

7. Writing a Prayer 

Writing a prayer specifically for someone you want to pray for can be a deeply personal and heartfelt way to intercede on their behalf. This practice can be done in a journal, on a card, or in a letter. The act of writing helps to focus your thoughts and intentions, making the prayer more deliberate and meaningful.

Years ago, I realized that anyone could write prayers, not just Saints from centuries past. I was at my friend’s house, and in their bathroom, there was a prayer written by her grandfather that her mother prayed every day. It was a prayer to be open to God and to be of service.

I was chatting with a friend on Messenger and promised to pray for her granddaughter. After saying I would pray for her, I took a few moments to write a prayer and sent it back to her, letting her know I had just prayed this for her. By doing this, I offered a prayer and provided her with one she could continue using, creating an unexpected and meaningful gift.

Think about the most recent person you promised to pray for. Consider writing a prayer for them today. It could be as simple as this:

“Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of ________. They have asked me to pray for __________. Give them exactly what they need to live out your will. Help them to know their worth and bask in your love today and always. Please surprise ________ today with your presence. Amen.”

Writing down a prayer for someone can transform a simple promise into a powerful act of love and faith.

8. The Rosary 

The Rosary is a powerful form of prayer. Dedicate a Rosary for the person you promised to pray for and meditate on the mysteries of Christ’s life while keeping their intentions in mind. You can, in fact, include a whole list of people, and it still counts!

The Rosary is an excellent prayer for fulfilling a promise to pray for someone. Its structure guides us through key events in the lives of Jesus and Mary, helping us contemplate the central mysteries of our faith and align our prayers with Christ’s life. By seeking Mary’s intercession, we trust she presents our prayers to God with her unique motherly care.

Rooted in Scripture, the Rosary’s prayers, like the Our Father and Hail Mary, provide a biblical foundation for our intercessions. The Rosary’s meditative nature and repetitiveness foster a contemplative state, allowing us to focus on our intentions and away from worry and anxiety. 

I share more about the Rosary and my experience with the devotion here: “The Sixth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.”

9. Praying in a Group 

Praying in a group has always been a cornerstone of our Catholic faith. From the early days, as described in the Acts of the Apostles, Christians gathered to pray, showing support for one another. Jesus emphasized the power of communal prayer in Matthew 18:20. This form of prayer is central to the Church’s life, especially in the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours, which are the ultimate forms of praying together.

Group prayer strengthens our connection as the Body of Christ. It unites us in supporting and interceding for each other, much like the saints do for us. Practically, it provides emotional and spiritual support, helping us stay committed to our prayer life through the encouragement and accountability of others.

I have participated in several formal prayer groups, including a Rosary Group and a Praise and Worship Group. We met weekly to share our intentions, pray together, and sing worship songs. These experiences were fruitful, helping me feel connected and supported in my prayer life. Lifting each other up and our individual intentions together eased the burden of carrying my intentions to the Lord alone.

10. Go on a Pilgrimage 

Going on a pilgrimage can be a deeply enriching experience. It offers rest, renewal, and, ultimately, time with God in some of the most beautiful places in the world. God gives us beauty to encounter Him. Many seek out pilgrimages for physical, emotional, or spiritual healing or as a way to do penance and seek personal conversion.

Pilgrimages allow you to walk in the footsteps of Saints, experience firsthand the universality of the Church, and immerse yourself in the many stories of those who have gone before us, witnessing so well to the love and mercy of God. Pilgrimages can also foster fellowship and community, which is particularly important because we need others in our lives; God made us for relationships. They are especially enjoyable when you have others to share the sights, smells, tastes, and God’s revelations.

Pilgrimages provide a special time and space to pray for others. You can bring the person and their intentions to different holy sites along the way, surrendering them before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, at side altars, and the tombs of the Saints. A friend shared that she was preparing to walk the “Camino” and was asking for people’s prayer intentions. She created a Google form for people to submit intentions (even anonymously if desired). It’s a great way to stay organized and show people you truly want to remember them before the Lord on your journey.

Pilgrimages can be key if you’re in a spiritual rut or need renewal. They allow you to hear God, receive clarity, reset, and be offline without screen time. You don’t have to travel far—pilgrimages can be local, statewide, or international. Popular pilgrimage sites abroad include the Holy Land, Rome, Fatima, Lourdes, and Santiago de Compostela. Each offers a unique story but always points us to Jesus Christ. For more on the importance of making a pilgrimage, read “Why Both a Pilgrimage and Vacation Are Important.”

Sincere and Heartfelt Intercession

Incorporating these ten ways into your prayer life ensures your sincere commitment to praying for others. Prayer is a powerful gift we extend, and when offered with a genuine heart, it brings immense grace and blessing to those we lift up.

Remember, deepening your prayer practices benefits those you pray for and transforms your own spiritual journey.

Ultimately, committing ourselves to following through with our “I will pray for you’s!” aligns us more closely with God’s will and opens our hearts to His grace.

As we faithfully pray for others, we become instruments of His love and witnesses to the power of prayer in all its forms.


I'm a farm girl from Ohio with an intense love for Christ and His Church. Because I know your relationship with God is holy ground, one of the greatest privileges of this ministry (and my life) is to speak Christ's own words, "Be not afraid," into your beautiful feminine heart. Thank you for being here. 

Before you dive in more deeply... Hello! I'm Amanda Zurface! 

I'm a Certified Spiritual Director, and I have such a deep awareness of your goodness and worth that it both aches and lights me up (it's OK; it's a good ache). 

Forget the junk mail, I’ll send you life-giving encouragement, and resources for ongoing growth, all rooted in the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Consider every email as a page in your very own spiritual direction manual.

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