For example, can a Buddhist prays for a Christian and let the person know like health and peace? If yes/no, where is it written in the Bible.
First, I commend the goodwill you demonstrate toward your Christian friend. You obviously want to give something that your friend can appreciate.
My answer below tries to orient you to make your prayer gift to be well suited to a Christian so it will be well received by a Christian, by considering who a Christian God is, who Jesus is, and what a Christian needs when others pray for them.
Orientation to Christian God and Prayer needs
The most important starting point to keep in mind is that in Christianity prayer is always directed to God who is a REAL, conscious being, separate from our own consciousness. He is not a projection, not another modality of our consciousness / psychology, but a real being out there.
Christians believe there is One Supreme Creator God who is in control and more powerful than
- all other gods (whether they exist or not),
- all angels and demons and all other kinds of spiritual beings
- all human beings (whether still living, or in between reincarnation, in heaven, in purgatory, etc.)
Christians believe this Supreme God knows all our thoughts, see Ps 139:2. So of course He can hear all prayers by non Christians, whether addressed to a lesser god, or to Himself under another name (for example, Moslems call this God by the name "Allah").
There are several Old Testament examples of people who worship a lesser god BUT who acknowledged the existence of the God of Israel and even knew His name (YHWH, denoted as small caps Lᴏʀᴅ in English translations of the Bible). Christians and Jews believe that sometimes this Supreme God stirred the hearts of those non-Israelites to pray, bless, or do good to the Israelites. For example:
God moved the heart of Cyrus, king of Persia, to grant exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem. See Ezra 1:2-3:
“This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: “The Lᴏʀᴅ, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Any of you who are his people may go to Jerusalem in Judah to rebuild this Temple of the Lᴏʀᴅ, the God of Israel, who lives in Jerusalem. And may your God be with you!"
Babylon King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged that Israel's God was more powerful than his god after his dream's interpretation by Daniel came true, in which Nebuchadnezzar was humbled and then restored by God, so he sent a message acknowledging Israel's God to all his subjects (at the time when this happened, around 600 BC, Babylon was the most powerful empire in the world). See Daniel 4:34-36:
“After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever: 'His rule is everlasting, and his kingdom is eternal. All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as he pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop him or say to him, ‘What do you mean by doing these things?’ When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before."
If the person you are praying for is a true Christian, this Christian will be under the protection of this supreme God and this Christian can be assured through faith that he/she is counted right now as one of His beloved sons/daughters who after death are eligible for eternal life in heaven if he/she perserves to the end. Therefore:
A more helpful prayer for your Christian friend will then to wish what a Christian will need in his/her earthly journey. If you pray for health or peace it will be much better if you understand what health or peace means to a Christian, which is different from what other religions understand them to be. To Christians, there is a notion of spiritual health which is freedom from temptation to sin, which is much more critical than physical health. Also the Christian notion of peace is a state of heart where there is no enmity between the individual and this Supreme God.
Even if your notion of peace or health are NOT yet Christian in concept, the goodwill expressed toward your Christian friend will not go unnoticed by this Supreme God and He can potentially reward you if we take this Abrahamic blessing (Gen 12:3a) as a hint:
I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt.
In a Christian understanding, Jesus is the incarnation of the aforementioned God of Israel himself, which means after Jesus's resurrection Christians no longer call him Teacher / Rabbi, but with titles appropriate for the Son of the living God such as Lord (King) and Saviour. A Christian can also call Jesus a Friend or a Brother, whom Christians should imitate so we can also have His character, especially in His relationship to God the Father and to fellow human beings. You can therefore pray so that Jesus will help your friend's heart to be more conformed with His.
In summary, here are 2 points to help make your prayer gift to be well received by your Christian friend:
address it properly: either to
- God the Father (the Supreme God above all gods, Creator of the universe) or to the
- Lord Jesus Christ (Lord over all human beings)
pray for what a Christian needs (by using Christian-specific concepts). Examples:
- Spiritual health: so God helps your friend fight temptation and to be more conformed to Jesus's character
- Peace: so your friend confess all sins to God to be reconciled
- Increase in love: so your friend improves spiritually by loving God and others more
- Persevere in hard times: so your friend would not lose faith and hope
Not everyone who followed Jesus acknowledged him as the Son of God , as we see at John 6:15 (KJV): "When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone." He still took pity on them and worked miracles for them.
We also see Jesus telling his disciples at Mtt 10: 42: 'And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
Reading the above two incidents together, one can surmise that Jesus would not be offended if a righteous person prays for a Christian, to a god he considers as the True God, on account of factors like his lack of knowledge of the Son of God. One can imagine a situation like this : Jose, though a baptized Christian, is a practicing atheist and falls seriously ill. He refused to pray for his own recovery, but his close friend Mohan who is a simple Hindu secretly prays for him in the temple. Now, Jesus is aware of both, the illness of Jose and the simple prayer of his Hindu friend. Will Jesus recuse himself from taking pity on Jose simply because his friend is praying to a Hindu god?
Let us not decide on how benevolent Jesus should be towards his children; believers and non-believers alike ! Let us leave all judgement to him (James 4:11-12) and follow his benevolence.
Can Christians accept prayers from other religions?
According to Scriptures, it seems possible, if one counts unbelievers as those of other religions such as Buddhists or Hindus!
It is often debated in the religious community whether or not Buddhism is categorized as a religion or as a philosophical teaching. The answer is, it is both. There are three major types of Buddhism practiced in the world, some of them having smaller branches with slight variations in their beliefs and teachings. These Buddhist styles are: Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, and Vajrayana Buddhism. Some of these forms have deities that are worshipped, and some do not. Some have scriptures, others don't believe in any physical form of the Buddhist teachings. Analyzing and comparing these three major types of Buddhism, it is hard to argue that it is in fact a religion and a philosophy.
In both the New Testament and the Old Testament, there are a few examples of prayers spoken by unbelievers:
- “There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” (Luke 4:27) “Now Naaman, the general of the king of Aram, was a prominent man before his lord and respected, for through him had the Lord given victory to Aram; and the man was a great warrior, and he was a mezora. Now the Arameans went out in bands and captured from the land of Israel a young girl, who ministered to Naaman's wife.” — Melachim II, 2 Kings 5:1-2
- The thief on the cross who prayed, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).
- There is the prayer of the tax collector, who prayed simply, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13b).
- There are also the prayers of Cornelius, the Roman centurion and definitely of pagan beliefs who had come to believe in the God of Israel. God heard the prayers and sent the apostle Peter to Cornelius with the good news about Jesus in order that he might be saved (Acts, chapter 10).
- Jesus heals the boy of a demon of a father who genuinely was not a believer. “Immediately the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
- Jesus once said, “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37).
If Our Lord accepts the prayers or petitions of unbelievers or those of other religions, it follows that we who believe that Jesus is the Christ can do the same.
Not quite on topic here, but close enough to make an interesting observation. It seems more than an eye opener to see that Ciaiphas prophesied about Jesus’s death, even though he was an unbeliever. In fact Our Lord admitted to Pilate that he had the greater sin in handing him over to the Romans.
50You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” 51Caiaphas did not say this on his own. Instead, as high priest that year, he was prophesying that Jesus would die for the nation, 52and not only for the nation, but also for the scattered children of God, to gather them together into one. - John 11:50-52
For further information on this topic, the following articles may be of interest:
- Does God answer the prayers of those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ?
- Does God hear the prayer of an unbeliever?
- Catholicism and Buddhism: Compatible Beliefs? Pope John Paul II threw water on that fire in 1994’s Crossing the Threshold of Hope/with comments regarding Buddhism that received a good amount of press at the time. In his comments, our late pontiff really didn’t pull any punches, calling Buddhism “in large measure an ‘atheistic’ system’.” He pulled the carpet out from under comparisons to Catholicism by pointing out that the ultimate end of man for Christians is union with God, while for Buddhists it is Nirvana.
Christianity uses texts for worship originating in Judaism, for example, the Book of Psalms, Hebrew: תְּהִלִּים, Tehillim, "praises", the first book of the Ketuvim ("Writings"), the third section of the Hebrew Bible. New Testament references show that the earliest Christians used the Psalms in worship, and the Psalms have remained an important part of worship in most Christian Churches. The Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran and Anglican Churches have always made systematic use of the Psalms, with a cycle for the recitation of all or most of them over the course of one or more weeks. In the early centuries of the Church, it was expected that any candidate for bishop would be able to recite the entire Psalter from memory.
The doxology of Book II of the Psalms concludes with these words: “The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended” (Ps. 72:20). This indicates that the author of this verse (who was likely the compiler of this book of the Psalms) viewed the Psalms as prayers.
Question : Can Christians accept prayers from other religions?
- The prophet Isaiah (Yeshayahu, יְשַׁעְיָ֣הוּ) seems to warn against this in [Isaiah 8:19-21]:
[8:19] “ וְכִֽי־יֹֽאמְר֣וּ אֲלֵיכֶ֗ם דִּרְשׁ֚וּ אֶל־הָֽאֹבוֹת֙ וְאֶל־הַיִּדְּעֹנִ֔ים הַֽמְצַפְצְפִ֖ים וְהַמַּהְגִּ֑ים הֲלוֹא־עַם֙ אֶל־אֱלֹהָ֣יו יִדְרֹ֔שׁ בְּעַ֥ד הַֽחַיִּ֖ים אֶל־הַמֵּתִֽים “. ( And when they say to you, "Inquire of the necromancers and those who divine by Jidoa bone, who chirp and who mutter." "Does not this people inquire of its God? For the living, shall we inquire of the dead)
[8:20] “ לְתוֹרָ֖ה וְלִתְעוּדָ֑ה אִם־לֹ֚א יֹֽאמְרוּ֙ כַּדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֵין־ל֖וֹ שָֽׁחַר “. ( For the Torah and for the warning?" If they will not say the likes of the thing, that it has no light.)
[8:21] “ וְעָ֥בַר בָּ֖הּ נִקְשֶׁ֣ה וְרָעֵ֑ב וְהָיָ֨ה כִֽי־יִרְעַ֜ב וְהִתְקַצַּ֗ף וְקִלֵּ֧ל בְּמַלְכּ֛וֹ וּבֵֽאלֹהָ֖יו וּפָנָ֥ה לְמָֽעְלָה“. ( And the one who passes therein shall suffer hardships and hunger, and it shall come to pass, when he is hungry and wroth, that he shall curse his king and his god and face upwards.)
My answer is not going to give the reasons because they are too many, others have touched on some of them and they are not necessary to solve your problem. Just know they all stem from misunderstanding in one way or another but doesn't everything?
As a Buddhist, if you choose to pray for a Christian you must make it known that you are not praying to a god who exists as separate from their god. Buddhism is not a religion that worships Buddah as a god, but there are many people who think that it is.
Unfortunately, many of the members of every religion do not understand that "their" God is the same God, which should be evident because, as you mention, God's "commandments" are nearly identical in every source.
Having said that, here is your "answer":
Never allow a Christian to misunderstand you and think that you are praying to a God you think exists as both separate from and at the same time as "their" God.
Additionally, if you say your prayer out loud you should address it to "God" or to "Jesus" and end it with "amen" and there should be no misunderstanding.
Edit: I see that you asked for where in the bible it talks about this and it all stems from the commandment, one of the "Ten commandments" that says:
"You shall have no other god before me." [Exodus 20:3]