How can I prepare to pray with someone in need?
The secret to praying with someone is to remember that it is not about you. First, it is about God. God needs to remain at the center of every prayer. Jesus modeled that for us in a garden long ago when he whispered, "Not my will but yours be done." Second, it is about the one who sits beside you. It is that person's concerns, or joys, or pain that need to be on your heart. Listen closely, with both your ears and your soul, before you try to put another's feelings into your prayers. Third, and finally, be yourself. Don't try to pray in "stained glass" language—use words that are genuine and honest.
It is often appropriate to hold a hand or touch a shoulder or arm as you pray with someone. Prayer reminds us that we are all children of the One who never sleeps, and all of us are in need of the One who never fails us. Those who pray well with others are always humble. Don't presume to tell either God or the one for whom you are praying what they should do or feel. There is no greater privilege than to be asked to pray for another. Be thankful, and God promises to be faithful.