“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18
As a Christian with a chronic illness, I am grateful when people pray for me. I know that I need it! This life is hard, and I cannot do it on my own. I need strength and grace from the Lord, and dealing with dysautonomia reminds me of that every day. If you have a friend with chronic illness, praying for her regularly is something you can do.
When someone is sick, it is common to pray for successful treatment and healing. God certainly can heal someone with a chronic illness, and those who know Jesus can come boldly to the throne of grace and ask for healing. But even though God is able to heal, that doesn’t mean He will heal here and now. It may be that His plan is to use the chronic illness to accomplish greater purposes that we cannot yet understand or see. So while you pray for healing for your friend, I encourage you to pray for more than just relief from physical suffering.
What can we pray for beyond physical healing? We can pray that our friend will grow closer to the Lord. We can pray that she will suffer well and be a faithful and godly testimony in the midst of suffering. If she doesn’t know Jesus as her Savior, we can pray for her salvation.
Let’s look in the Bible to find some more direction for our prayers:
- Pray that she will thirst for God and that she will hope in Him (Psalm 42:1, 5).
- Pray that she will trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6).
- Pray that she will be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
- Pray that she will be filled with joy and peace and that she will abound in hope (Romans 15:13).
- Pray that God will comfort her (2 Corinthians 1:4).
- Pray that she will not lose heart and that she will look to the things that are unseen (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
- Pray that God's grace would be sufficient for her and that His strength would be made perfect in her weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
- Pray that she will be characterized by the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
- Pray that she will not grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9).
- Pray that she will have “the peace of God, that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
- Pray that she will learn to be content in the circumstances in which God has placed her (Philippians 4:11-13).
- Pray that God will provide for all of her needs (Philippians 4:19).
- Pray that she will hold unswervingly to the hope she has professed (Hebrews 10:23).
- Pray that she will commit herself to God and continue to do good (1 Peter 4:19).
If you want more ideas for how to pray for your friend, these are good passages to look up and use as guides for your prayers:
You can also ask your friend what prayer requests she has. She will probably greatly appreciate knowing that you care enough to pray about specific requests for her.
If you have a friend with a chronic illness, what are you praying for on her behalf? If you have a chronic illness, what specific requests do you have?
Photo for image of praying hands from Sang yun Lee. Adapted by Rachel Lundy.
This post is part of the Chronic Illness and Friendship series.