Hello there! If you’ve come here to learn how to pray for your chronically ill friend, I’m really excited that you’re taking this step to be a source of support for them. Here’s a short guide to praying for them. (This guide used to be available by download only, but it’s now in blog post form as well. Here’s the free PDF if you’d like to download it.)
Thank you so much for loving your friend well. They need you!
1) Pray for Physical Healing
Psalm 103:2-3 says, “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. (NIV)
Let’s remember that the Lord can and does provide physical healing. Pray that the treatment your friend is undergoing would work and that doctors would have wisdom for how to treat. Don’t be afraid to pray that God would intervene and provide healing and relief from the physical pain and other symptoms. Ask God to supernaturally work and take away the physical burdens of the illness.
2) Pray for Emotional Health
Chronic illness can take a major toll on a person’s emotional health. From the uncertainty of their physical health to the emotional battles they face from things like anxiety and depression (which can be from either symptoms or aftermath from the trauma of the physical illness), their feelings and emotions may be up and down.
Pray that your friend would take hold of God’s promises to be their refuge in times of worry, heartache, and anxiety (Psalm 55:22, Psalm 3:3, Matthew 11:28-29, Philippians 4:6-7).
Pray that they would be encouraged by God’s word and by their support system. Ask God to work in their heart to give them hope during a time that may seem hopeless.
3) Pray for Growing Faith
When a person is dealing with a chronic illness, it can be a time when they either turn toward or away from God. There will be points on their journey when they’ll have to choose if they will walk in faith or turn away from the God they believed was good. All the suffering can be hard to comprehend, so this is a time of spiritual battle and they need your prayers!
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, saying, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, NIV)
Pray that your friend would press into God and grow in their faith as they face trials. Ask God to renew their spirit even as their physical health is not good.
4) Pray for Their Support System
No only does your chronically ill friend have a lot of struggles, but the people closest to them are also going through their own set of emotional challenges. They may be serving as caretaker or having to step up and be there in times of need. You may actually be one of the strongest members of their support system and need prayer, too!
Pray for their family and friends. Pray for the physical, emotional, and mental 5health for those who care for your chronically ill friend. Pray that they will be encouraged so that they can then be loving and encouraging. Ask God to give them extra patience and strength to be supportive.
5) Pray for God To Use This Time
Being sick is not what your friend would have chosen. While they sort out treatment plans to find what works for symptom relief, they may grow discouraged. You can pray that God would show Himself in big ways to them and to those they interact with. Life while ill is not wasted life. God will use it all for His Glory and for their good if they trust in Him (Romans 8:28).