This is the 33rd blog in a series exploring various aspects of “prayer.” The first blog is “Why Pray?” and the previous blog is Intercessory Prayer (III).
St. John of Kronstadt – d. 1908AD – offers us the following instruction on praying for others:
“When you see faults and passions in your neighbor, pray for him; pray for everybody, even for your enemy. If you see that your brother is proud and stubborn, and behaves proudly either to you or others, pray for him, that God may enlighten his mind and warm his heart with the fire of His grace, and say: ‘Lord, teach meekness and humility to Your servant, who has fallen into Satan’s pride, and drive from his heart the darkness and burden of the evil one’s pride.’ If you see a wrathful brother, pray thus: “Lord, make this servant of Yours good through Your grace.’ If a mercenary and greedy one, pray thus: “Lord, You Who are our incorruptible Treasury and inexhaustible riches, grant that this servant of Yours, created according to Your image, may recognize the deceitfulness of riches, and that, like all earthly things, they are vain, fleeting, delusive. For the days of men are like grass, or like the spider’s web, and You alone are our riches, peace, and joy.’
If you see an envious man, pray thus: ‘Lord, enlighten the mind and the heart of this Your servant, that he may recognize the great innumerable, and unsearchable gifts which he has received through Your boundless generosity; for in the blindness of his passion he has forgotten You and Your rich gifts, and although enriched with Your benefits, yet reckons himself poor, and looks enviously upon the blessing which You, O our unspeakable Benefactor, has bestowed upon each one of your servants, even against their own will, but in accordance with Your purpose. Take way, Most Gracious Master, the Devils’ veil from the eyes of the heart of Your servant; grant him contrition of heart, tears of repentance and gratitude, so that the enemy who has ensnared him alive in his toils may not rejoice over him and any not wrest him from your hands.’
If you see a drunken man, say in your heart: ‘Lord, look mercifully upon Your servant, allured by the flattery of the belly and carnal merriment; make him understand the sweetness of temperance and fasting, and of the fruit of the spirit arising therefrom.’ When you see a man passionately fond of eating, and finding all his happiness in this, say, ‘Lord, You are our sweetest Food, that never perishes, but leads us into life eternal! Purify Your servant from the filthiness of gluttony, so carnal and so far from Your spirit, and grant that he may know the sweetness of your life-giving , spiritual food, which is Your Flesh and Blood, and your holy, living, and acting word.’ In this or in a similar manner pray for all who sin, and do not dare to despise anyone for his sin, nor be vindictive, as through this you would only aggravate the wounds of those who sin; but rather correct them by means of such advice, threats, and punishments as may tend to stop or restrain the evil within the limits of moderation.” (MY LIFE IN CHRIST, p 64-65)