We read in Mtt 26: 37-41 (NRSVCE), of an emotional appeal from Jesus to pray for him:

He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Now that the hour is long over, one tends to think that Jesus no longer requires our prayers for him. There can be two arguments against this notion. First, Jesus prayed to the Father for himself and asked his disciples to pray for him. Secondly, God the Father can foresee the prayers his children are yet to make, and grant the benefits of the prayers so said, to the beneficiary in advance. That said, the prayers we make today for Jesus could have been taken into account by the Father when Jesus was passing through the passion. Moreover, it still pains Jesus to know that his sufferings have gone in vain for many a soul, the foresight of which would have definitely aggravated his sufferings. So, would it be right if someone prays on these lines:

God the Father, consider the sufferings your Son took upon himself for the salvation of each human being on earth . Consider also the souls which got lost in spite of the promise of salvation gained through the passion and death of Jesus. Father, I pray that Jesus, your son has the joy of welcoming to eternal life, each and every soul entrusted to him through your divine mercy.

My question therefore is: Does the Catholic Church teach that we need to pray for Jesus?

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    In Mat.26 Jesus told 3 of the disciples to wait and watch with him while HE prayed. He was grieved that they fell asleep, commanding them to watch and pray that THEY did not enter into temptation. Nowhere does he ask them to pray for him! Then you claim "his sufferings have gone in vain for many a soul". I'm shocked any Catholic would say that, in view of Jesus' prayer in Jn.17:1-24 which includes all future believers. He intercedes for us, not the other way around! read Heb.7:24-27, please.
    – Anne
    Dec 15, 2021 at 11:36
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    He says "pray with me" (not "pray for me") that "you" (not "Me") may not enter into temptation.
    – Geremia
    Dec 17, 2021 at 18:33
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    @mike yeah, that's something Catholics believe, I've never heard it spelled out as such in the Catechism, but there's a general understanding that no prayer is ever wasted. Which is a comforting fact, based on two things most Christians agree on. That God is A) outside of time and B) knows what we really need regardless of what we pray for.
    – Peter Turner
    Dec 20, 2021 at 14:19
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    There has to be limitations though, right? Can you pray to have made a different decision 5 years ago? Dec 20, 2021 at 14:30
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    @mike Good question, there's a QA site for that :)
    – Peter Turner
    Dec 20, 2021 at 16:19

2 Answers 2


an emotional appeal from Jesus to pray for him:

Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial

As can be seen, the text says something entirely different.

  • Thanks, Lucian. But, read through Vs 42-45: Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? > Obviously, Jesus needed the company and prayers of disciples. Wouldn't you pray for the Master if you were Peter ? Dec 15, 2021 at 10:54
  • @KadalikattJosephSibichan: As far as I can tell, the Gospel seems to teach its audience that, just as Jesus Himself prayed to God when He was persecuted, so should Christians do the same when similar persecutions come their way. In the case of the apostles, their laziness has been circumvented by Christ's intervention on their behalf, when he later asks His persecutors to leave His disciples alone, and take only Him (John 18:8). Without said intervention, they would also have been tortured or imprisoned.
    – user46876
    Dec 15, 2021 at 16:17
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    There is no denying that Jesus was tempted even at Gethsemane to step back from his mission . His words " The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak " is indicative of that . His agony partly came out of that temptation. One cannot imagine that Jesus wanted the disciples to stay awake just to ward off Judas and the soldiers! In fact some versions have the words Keep Vigil which mean to keep oneself awake in order to pray, just as we say Xmas and Easter Vigil. The disciples who had been foretold of the passion , would necessarily pray for their Master, but for their heavy eyelids. Dec 16, 2021 at 6:14

No, the Catholic Church does not teach that Jesus needs our prayers. The real question is why would the Savior of the world need us to pray for him? He is fully God and fully man and is perfect, being raised from the dead. This question is like suggesting that the saints in heaven need our prayers. They don't. We need their prayers and we need Jesus' blessings.

  • Thanks, DCn.Andy. My point of argument is : when Jesus was able to acquire in advance, salvation for the people who are living in 2021 , could not our prayers of today , be taken into account by God the Father when Jesus was praying for strength to go through the passion ? Dec 30, 2021 at 8:03
  • Kadalikatt, I don't follow the logic of your argument. Since Jesus redemptive work was in history before our time, it would logically follow that his redemptive work would include all ages afterward. Since his redemptive work was done before us, we cannot have any effect on Jesus passion since it already happened. That's the logic I see that answers your question. But it also applied to all that went before.
    – Dcn. Andy
    Jan 14, 2022 at 14:23

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