Wednesday, November 16, 2016

10 Ways to Pray for a Hurting Friend

When you receive that frantic call, your heart sinks. It’s the call from a friend at her wits end. She needs your help and encouragement. You know that she needs your prayers. But you feel that your prayer life is underdeveloped and that it can’t combat a trial as big as this. When you don’t know what to say to God on your friend’s behalf, you suddenly feel uncomfortable praying. 

A common solution is to reach out to a pastor, Bible study leader, or church friend for help.  And that’s a good solution. But you are the one who knows your friend’s heart. You are the one who knows her needs and shares her pain. In all honesty, you are the one who is best qualified to pray for her whether you feel strong in your prayer life or not. So yes, ask others for prayer support, not to take over for your role as prayer warrior, but to come alongside you as you pray, and don’t neglect to join in the spiritual battle yourself.

When to Pray

We offer profound encouragement to those in need when we pray with them during their trials. Consider how the words, “I’ll pray for you,” offer kindness and relief. Now compare that statement to this question: “Can I pray for you right now?” This ushers in immediate comfort and the Lord’s peace. Hearing the heartfelt prayers of one who intercedes for our trials can introduce healing and encouragement to the most troubling situations.

The Bible instructs us to pray for one another. It also tells us that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. This is compelling motivation for living right before God, because when are confronted with an urgent need to pray, we want powerful and effective prayers.

How to Pray

I’m writing this post for the times when you simply have no idea how or what to pray. It’s not uncommon for us to hear real-life stories that take our breath away or leave us utterly speechless. Instead of standing silent, we can use God’s Word as our script. Here are 10 powerful Bible verses to pray for a hurting friend, along with instruction on how to pray them.

1.     Psalm 9:9-10 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of truoble. Those who know Your name trust in You because You have not abandoned those who seek You, LORD.  (Pray it like this: “Father, be (my friend’s) refuge in this time of trouble. Help her trust in and seek you. We know that you will not abandon her.”)

2.     Psalm 22:24 For He has not despised or detested the torment of the afflicted. He did not hide His face from him but listened when He cried to Him for help.  (Pray it like this: “Please move against (my friend’s) torment. Do not be indifferent, Lord hear her cries for help.”)

3.     Isaiah 26:3 You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You. (Pray it like this: “Lord, help (my friend) fix her mind on you. Hold her in Your perfect peace as she trusts You.”)

4.     Isaiah 43:1 This is what the LORD says… “Do not fear for I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name; you are Mine.”  (Pray it like this: “Lord, protect (my friend) from fear. Reveal to her that You have called her by her name and that she is Yours.”)

5.     Lamentations 3:19:22-23 Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! (Pray it like this: “Father God, your love is faithful and your mercies never end. Show (my friend) your great faithfulness! Open her eyes to see You in her life and to see Your new mercies every day.”)

6.     Luke 1:45 She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled. (Pray it like this: “Father, bless (my friend) to believe that your promises and all that you have spoken will be fulfilled. Help her rest in Your truth.”)

7.     John 14:1 Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. (Pray it like this: “Lord, calm (my friend’s) heart and keep it from being troubled. Help her believe in You and in the power of the name of Jesus.”)

8.     2 Corinthians 1:3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. (Pray it like this: “You are the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. Lavish your mercy and comfort on (my friend) so she will see your glory.”)

9.     Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. (Pray it like this: “Lord, help (my friend) approach You and Your throne of grace with boldness – by the blood of Christ – so that she may receive mercy and find grace for help at the proper time.”)

10.  Jude 20:21 But you, dear friend, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, expecting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. (Pray it like this: “Father, help (my friend) build her faith through this trial, turn to you in prayer in the Holy Spirit, and be held in love with confident expectation of Your mercy.”)

Why We Pray God’s Word

When we pray the Word of God, we know that we are praying His will as He has revealed in Scripture. Psalm 119 (the longest chapter of the Bible which is about delighting in the Word) teaches us that God gives us life and strengthens us in our grief by His Word. It’s a mighty tool and exceedingly useful when we pray. The Bible is filled with commanding, encouraging verses that are sure to bring comfort, peace, and assurance of God’s will to your hurting friend. Pray them boldly and with confidence.

As you watch with expectation for God to move, know that His ways are higher than ours. As God moves into the situation, He may bring results that look a lot different from what we expect. Remember that God always aims for His glory and our good – and He never misses His aim.

Your Turn:

What encouraging verses did I leave off the list? Which do you commonly pray in times of need?

How have you witnessed the effectiveness of praying God’s Word?

Continue the conversation by leaving a comment below or connecting on Facebook or Twitter

Be Strengthened Today by His Word,
Psalm 119:28



  1. Love it Cathy. I've had a few experience were friends are struggling and I could only pray for them. I like how you give examples of how to pray the Word

  2. Thanks, Ailie. Funny how we think that prayer is often the "only" thing we can do. In fact it's the most powerful help we can offer. :)