Question Text : If you feel led to pray for someone, do you need their permission to so?
Answer Text : That prayer is a big mystery is indisputable. That God carries out His purposes in this world through answered prayers of His people is some thing the Scriptures teach again and again (cf. Dan.9:1-3; Lk.24:49; Acts.2:1). So if I feel led to pray for someone this means that God is at work within me (Phil,2:13). Since everyone does not have this kind of burden to pray for others, we must definitely cash in on this and do the needful immediately.
I wish to bring two examples from the Scriptures of people who were led to pray for others. In Gen. 18 the angel of the Lord appears to Abraham and tells him what was going to happen to Sodom and Gomorrah where Lot and family were staying. And this led Abraham to intercede for the cities of the plains. The cities were not spared, but Lot and family were spared; we are told in 19:29 that it was because the Lord remembered Abraham. Another example is found in 1Sam. 15. Here in vv.10-11 we are told that the Lord told Samuel of the behavior of Saul and his disobedience and this led Samuel to pray the whole night before the Lord and the result was that Samuel was shown David as the next one to be anointed as king instead of Saul (1sam.16:1).
On both these occasions the Lord gave a burden to pray for someone else and they prayed without the permission of the ones for whom they prayed. I think it is a general principle taught in the Scriptures about praying for others. We are asked to pray for all men(1Tim.2:1). Naturally it is impossible for us to get everyone’s permission to pray for them.
But if we were led to pray for someone close to us, we might get into contact with them and find out the actual situation in which they are found so that we could meaningfully intercede for their needs. When prayers are specific answers are specific as well. When general prayers are done, answers are usually in general categories. So if we need specific answers it is essential to pray in specific terms.
The author remembers an occasion when he was led to pray for a pioneer missionary in an alien field. From four o’clock early in the morning till 12 noon the burden was so heavy on his heart that he spent the whole time interceding for that missionary. But he did not know what exactly was the situation there. So he prayed that the Lord would be gracious to him and protect the missionary. There were very few words in that prayer. It was like sending SMS after SMS to heaven at an SOS level (cf.Mt.26:44).
When at noon the burden was relieved, a letter was sent to the missionary in the field asking him what exactly was happening there. His response was awesome. He began his reply this way, “That you wrote to me on the 2nd of Feb. is remarkable. It is a red letter day in our lives when the Lord saved us from our enemies…”. The one who prayed did not know that the missionary in the field was planned to be attacked on that day. But the Lord placed a burden to pray for the missionary. And the result was, before the enemies came together on that day, the ring leader among them had an accidental death on his way! Remember we are asked to pray that the Lord would deliver His people from the hands of evil men (2The.3:1-2).
So if any one has a burden to pray for someone else, it is essential to pray through till the burden is over. One need not wait till permission is received. Let us remember that the Lord does nothing spiritual in the world today except in answer to prayers of His saints. It is a very clear teaching of the Scriptures and is seldom recognized and understood even by many well-meaning believers today(MT.7:2; Js.4:2: Eze.36:37; Isa.64:3; Is.62:6,7). So if you are led to pray for someone, try and stop doing every thing else and get on your knees and pray till the burden is lifted!