Prayer for someone ill

Have you ever told someone sincerely, “I’ll pray for you!” and then wondered, “Oh no. What have I done?” You have the best intention of praying for them, but you feel like you don’t know how.

I’ve been there, too! Until this past semester, in fact.

Up until then, if I wanted to pray for someone, the best I could do was pray, “God bless so-and-so,” “I pray for so-and-so,” “I lift up so-and-so,” and that was it. I had no idea how else to pray for someone! Granted, I would sometimes “offer up” things for people; I’d offer up a rosary or I’d offer up a sacrifice, but intentionally and deeply praying for someone was something I didn’t know how to do.

Then I was given a simple tool that revolutionized my prayer for others. This past summer Joseph Williams (a FOCUS missionary who leads retreats throughout the year) shared a reflection he called, “Expanding your prayer vocabulary.” It’s basically a three-step process, and this is how it works:

1) Identify a need (i.e. my dad who is sick). Write down your basic need on a piece of paper. (Writing it down seriously helps, whether you’re just starting or you’ve been doing this for a while.)

2) Brainstorm specific related needs (i.e. healing, patience, faith, and trust). Your dad’s sick, and you want to pray for him, but “God bless dad,” won’t cut it. What does he truly need? He needs healing. He needs patience. He needs faith. He needs trust, during this difficult time. Write all this down.

3) Pray for each of these needs as simply or as in-depth as desired. In praying for trust, for example, you can pray, “Lord, I pray for trust for my dad,” or you can take that further and add, “Teach him to pray: Jesus, I trust in you. Give him the grace to trust you, my God. Let him know that you watch over him and that you protect him always.” It’s your choice how deep you’d like to go.

Pro-Tip: Before you even begin to pray specifically for someone, you can first 1) turn to God, 2) ask for his help, and 3) praise him. And after you pray, you can spend a moment and 1) listen to God, 2) thank him, and 3) praise him again.

Also, be sure to follow up later with those for whom you pray asking them how that test went or how was their interview. They’ll know you thought of them and prayed for them.

If you try this out, I guarantee you that three things will happen when you pray for others:

1) God will change your heart.
2) God will change their lives.
3) God will change your relationship with them.

May God bless you and your prayer for others!

By Brad Andres

Praying with the dying can be an intimidating thing. The time nearing death can be a very stressful and scary time for families and friends of the ill.

Let’s go over some of the basics of praying for someone who is nearing death. We’ve also included some sample prayers for the dying below to help guide you through this process.

If you do not know the individual, then spend some time getting to know them as a person. Ask them about their family, about their life. Find out what they are proud of, ask if they have any regrets. Discover what they believe the afterlife is going to be like.

prayer for someone ill

(Read Bible Verses about Death, and Bible Verses about Heaven)

Once a rapport is established, albeit however small, then you can move onto the praying part. People need to know you care about them before you pray for them, and taking the time to ask about their life is one way to do that.

Therefore, following establishing a relationship, here are a few things to remember which will help guide you when saying prayers for the ill.

1. Do they know Jesus?

prayer for someone ill

This is the most important question which you need to answer before praying with someone as they are about to pass onto the next life. If they do not know Jesus, you need to introduce them to each other as soon as possible.

In all actuality, if they do not know Jesus, then there is not much point in progressing further. Yes, you will still pray with them, for God’s comfort, peace, and rest, but if they are not going to inherit the free gift of eternal life, then what is the point? The point of praying those things is that maybe something will click, possibly the Lord could grab ahold of their hearts before death, and they may encounter Jesus before their passing. And besides, it is just courteous to bless someone in their dark hours of life.

Prayer To Know Jesus Before Dying

Lord Jesus,

Come into my life.

I believe you died and rose from the grave.

I believe you live eternally in heaven.

Cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

Forgive me of all my sins.

Move into my heart.

I make you my Lord and Savior.

Thank you for your sacrifice.

I accept your gift of eternal salvation.


2. Pray for God’s peace.

Death can be frightening for some, and for others, death can be completely natural. Some who know Christ will face death fearlessly, while some others will be terrified. The same goes for those who are not in a relationship with Christ; some will be unafraid and some will be frightened.

As stated earlier, it will be good practice to pray for God’s comfort and peace regardless of that person’s level of relationship with Jesus.

A Comforting Prayer for the Dying


Help discover your peace.

Let them receive your comfort.

Help them to be at rest knowing that you care for them,

and that you love them.

Calm their soul as they move into the afterlife.

May they spend eternity with you;

may they live forever in your presence.


3. Pray for the Family

Just as death may be hard or easy for an individual, so can it be the same for any remaining family or friends. Sometimes when you have the opportunity to pray with the dying, you will be alone. Othertimes, family and friends will be present. Regardless, even if you pray this as you leave, it is still thoughtful to pray for those who will be mourning the person’s passing.

A Prayer for the Family of the Dying


Bring this family peace.

Provide them with your comfort.

Let them know you tenderly care for each and every one of them.

Lead them to be reunited with their loved one some day.

Sit with them in their mourning.

Let your presence provide rest.

Thank you, for the gift of life that brought to the world.

May he rest peacefully with you for eternity.


A final note to remember is that this time is an emotional and stressful time for all associated with the dying person. Therefore, you may be given a chance to pray, and you may not be given a chance to pray. Remember to respect all people’s wishes, and know that as you walk with God into the room, you are inviting His presence into the situation. If you pray these prayers on your way back home alone, it still carries power to allow God into the situation.

And we will finish with my prayer for you.

A Prayer for Those Going to Pray with the Dying


Give this person strength.

Grant this person confidence.

Allow them the opportunity to discover if the passing person knows you.

Give them wisdom to know when to speak and what to say.

Let them bring your presence into the room.

Let them carry your love into the situation.

Encourage them with a special gift or your presence.


If you’d like to submit a prayer request for someone who is ill, please do so below.

Brand Andres is a licensed minister and his passion is to help people understand the Bible and maximize

their God given potential for life.

Find him at, and follow him on Twitter and Google.

There’s a country music song with the lyrics- “I pray your brakes go out runnin’ down a hill. I pray a flowerpot falls from a window sill and knocks you in the head like I’d like to. I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls.  I pray you’re flyin’ high when your engine stalls. I pray all your dreams never come true. Just know wherever you are honey, I pray for you.”Pray for you

What are they praying for?

I wonder from time to time if that’s what people mean when they say, “Jeff, I’ll pray for you.”

Have you ever wondered what are they praying for? Are they praying for my health? Are they praying for my wealth?  Are they praying for my downfall?  Maybe they’re praying for my death?!?

Why are they praying?

The very act of prayer itself indicates a relationship.  Prayer first demonstrates a relationship between the person praying and God.   It’s a basic indicator of a relationship with God (1 Timothy 2:8).  It should be unceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  Prayer can take on many different forms (Ephesians 6:18). Your prayers should lead to action (1 Corinthians 14:14-15).

Prayer also demonstrates a relationship between the one praying and the one for whom they’re praying. James 5:13-14 demonstrates this relationship.  (Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.)   I am sure you don’t pray for someone you’ve never heard or never met before. All prayer indicates a relationship between two people.  The closer the relationship, the more you should be willing to pray for each other.

What is the point of prayer in the first place?

Why did God create prayer in the first place? Why is it necessary to pray? Why do all people all over the globe all throughout human history pray?  Here’s my answer to those questions.

We are trying to restore something that was broken.   Genesis 1:26 explains that we’re created in the image of God.  We were also created to have an intimate relationship with God.   This relationship was destroyed way back in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve committed the first sin (Genesis 3:8).   Ever since that day, all of us have had a broken relationship with God.

Prayer is designed to help restore our relationship with our Creator!   At its very essence, prayer is the head that knits our heart to the heart of God.    When we spend time in prayer God starts to move in our hearts. The more time that we spend in prayer the more our hearts start to beat like God’s heart beats.   When we spend time in prayer we start to see the world the way God sees the world. We start to love people the way God loves people.

I like to think of it this way… Prayer is a thermometer for your soul. If your soul is far from God, your prayers will be weak and infrequent.   When your soul is near the heart of God your prayers will be powerful and frequent.  What’s the temperature of your soul today?

Lo Aleinu. Let’s say someone’s friend’s teen-age daughter died from a terrible sickness. The parents have been distraught and “disabled” for year because of the emotional trauma. They isolate themselves at home for the most part, and they are unable to place a headstone on their daughter’s grave because it is too painful for them.

Can one say misheberach l’cholim for such a situation? I’m thinking, perhaps, yes, because the end of the prayer says refu’at hanefesh – a healing of the spirit / soul.

asked Dec 21 ’17 at 20:25

One is exempt (from punishment) by extinguishing a flame on Sabbath for the sake of an emotionally ill person (cf. Rambam’s commentary to Mishnah Shab. 2:5). Emotional instability/numbness also renders a Kohen unfit for service in the Temple (Bech. 7:5).

From the above I believe an emotionally “disabled” person can be considered a choleh for who Mi she’berach may be recited*, as for a physically ill person.

*Besides for there being no halachic issue (AFAIK) with reciting it for such a person.

answered Dec 21 ’17 at 21:17

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