What To Pray When A Friend is Hurting

There is nothing quite like that helpless feeling you get when you watch someone you care about hurting–and you are separated by distance or by circumstance.

You can’t wipe their tears or hold their hand.

You feel their pain, and you hurt with them. You are grieving with them, but words just don’t seem to be enough–and sometimes they are too much–but you want them to know that you care. You want the to know that you are distanced from them physically, but you still feel the pain in your heart for them.  You are miles away–yet not.  Not spiritually, because you are seeking God on their behalf.

Sometimes the words will seem to flow like tears as your heart cries out on behalf of a friend or loved one–then other times it will seem like you don’t even know how to pray. What to pray. What to ask for. What they really need.

But God does.

He knows every detail.  He knows the past, the process and the problem.

The solution lies not in the circumstance, but in the Savior.

He came to save us from more than our sinful self.

He came to redeem and to rescue.

Even when He doesn’t remove us from difficult situations, His very presence will take us through them.  Just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked through the fire with His protection and presence,

He will walk with you.

It was no coincidence that I read Psalm 31 today.  It was written just for moments like this, and these words have become a prayer of petition for my friend, as I place their name in these words:

“Listen closely to me; rescue me (THEM) quickly. Be a rock of refuge for me (THEM), a mountain fortress to save me (THEM). For You are my(THEIR) rock and my (THEIR) fortress; You lead and guide me (THEM) because of Your name.” (v.3)


“I will rejoice and be glad in Your faithful love because You have seen my (THEIR) affliction. You have known the troubles of my (THEIR) life and have not handed me (THEM) over to the enemy. You have set my (THEIR) feet in a spacious place.” (v.7-8)  

YES!  He knows!  He sees!

How great is Your goodness that You have stored up for those who fear You and accomplished in the sight of everyone for those who take refuge in You. You hide them in the protection of Your presence; You conceal them in a shelter from the schemes of men, from quarrelsome tongues.” (v.20)

What words could I ever say that would be more meaningful than these?  Using these words as a prayer I begin to see the situation from God’s perspective:

Praying Scripture opens the door of my heart– and it reveals the heart of God.

He gave us these Words for a reason.  They are more than just knowledge–they are life.  We find more than just words written on a page, or history lesson to learn from.

We find Him.  His perspective.

These words reveal our humanity and His Deity.  He is God.  They remind us that He doesn’t just know our circumstance.  He doesn’t just see our circumstance–and because He is a loving, gracious, compassionate God, He will take our hand and lead us through that circumstance.


We know the end of the story.  Victory was won at the cross.  The difficulties of this world pale in comparison to the glory of eternity. There is a battle to be fought.  Our world may be spiraling, but it is our Savior that picks us up and places our feet on the rock–a sure foundation that will never be shaken.

But I trust in You, LordI say, ‘You are my God.’ The course of my life is in Your power.” (v. 14)

Don’t take my word for it, read the whole chapter.  Use the words of Psalm 31 to pray for your friend or family member that is struggling. Take these words to heart, and ask God to do these things He has written for us.  He knows. He sees. He hears. He provides.

HE has the power–and the victory belongs to Him,

“So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord.” (v. 24)


4 replies »

  1. Love this! Learning to look to God’s Word when I am at a loss, has helped me get through so many things. Praying His Word over people and praying they during their time of pain that they draw closer to Him, is something that we all can do.


  2. Thank you for sharing! I love how you said, “Praying Scripture opens the door of my heart– and it reveals the heart of God” and how you go on to explain that God’s Word is so much more than just a lesson, it is life. I find this to be so true in my life. Jesus is the Word that became flesh. When we read and pray Scripture, we are communing with God Himself, a person not a theory. (By the way, I have the same Bible verse, Isaiah 58:11, as the tagline for my blog! 🙂 I guess I’m not the only one who finds that verse so inspiring!)


  3. I just read “What to pray when a friend is hurting” and there is so much wisdom in the words God gave you to share with us! God wins – God is the solution – Praying scripture always opens our hearts to hear God’s whispers while we bask in His Almighty Presence! I will join my prayers with yours for your friends.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.