…And You’re Not Ready to Forgive and Forget
When a man I loved left me, I couldn’t hate him — when you truly love someone you wish him the best. But I felt terribly shocked and wounded. His occasional calls gave me false hopes and only prolonged my grief. Desperate for a way to cope with the burden of my pain, I remembered Luke 6:28: “bless those that curse you; pray for those that mistreat you.”
“Praying for him” did not mean begging God to turn back the clock and make everything all right. That didn’t help me heal. It meant finding a way to pray that God would bless and keep this man, and light his way. Praying for him took my focus off of myself and balanced things out. I needed it, and he needed it.
Then I looked for advice on how to pray even while the very thought of this person still cut me and I was not yet ready to forgive or forget. It was left to me to humbly offer these suggestions.
- While praying for the one who hurt you, avoid picturing him. Put away the photos. Don’t relive memories good or bad. These inspire grief, not prayer. Picture not his face or self but the God in him, the divine spark given to us all. I saw this as a chunk of gold or a wink of light. This helped me see that this man still had goodness in him and needed my prayers.
- Don’t pray for this person to change, or for their conversion. These things are in God’s hands and/or in the hands of the individual. Prayer is powerful but it does not make the phone ring.
- Pray for your own understanding. Praying for my loved one broke up my constant pleading and bargaining with God and let God get a word in edgewise. He informed me: “This person is in the dark, and must find his own way out. You cannot help him.” This was painful to hear, but now I knew better what to pray for.
- Be busy while you pray. Lying awake at night or kneeling alone in a chapel will only summon up memories, anger, and sobs that may be natural but keep your wound from healing. Sweep the sidewalk, take a walk with a camera, practice free-throws with the children. Just get active, and then pray, when you think of it, “God, please bless him (or her),” or “Help me understand.”
- Keep these prayers short and simple. “God, please protect her,” “God, please help him quit drinking,” “Dear God, let him find peace” — those are sufficient.
- Get “above” it. Imagine you are viewing the earth from above, as if it were a dollhouse with the roof cut away. There you are, and, miles away, there he (or she) is, perhaps watching TV, working, sleeping, dating someone else. From this distance you both look a lot like the rest of humanity. This perspective encourages an open heart and compassion so you can stand to ask for blessings on the person whose behavior tempts you to hate.
- Pray with just one other person. Grief and resentment are natural but keep you spiritually isolated. Ask one person to pray with you. (Prayer circles do not seem to work for this; you get sympathy, but later when you are alone, the pain returns in full force.) It doesn’t matter if you pray with a family member or a stranger for blessings on the lost one; it just helps.
- Don’t “expect a miracle.” Your expectations — especially when you are grieving or resentful — might not line up with God’s will or what is best for you or another. To expect something is to be passive, a taker. Pray for a miracle, but don’t “expect” it.
You know it as the prayer Jesus taught His disciples in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4. Christians have prayed that short prayer for two millennia. It is prayed in public worship services around the globe and in the most private settings, too. Many people—even those who haven’t attended a church service for years—know it by heart.
“If we can get Guideposts inspirational stories into the hands of people who may not have a devotional life, they can share the true-life stories of how God works in the world. The joy of Guideposts is their free, donated magazines to my hospital. –Rob C., Director of Pastoral Care.
Some believe that Jesus intended the prayer to be recited, just as he gave it (after all, he did say, “When you pray, say…”), while others approach the prayer as a pattern or model for Christian prayer (in my books, The Red Letter Life and The Red Letter Prayer Life, I try to show how The Lord’s Prayer shows us many powerful and practical ways to pray).
Most people who sincerely pray The Lord’s Prayer (or the “Our Father,” as some call it) do so primarily for themselves or their family. They pray for “our daily bread” and for God to “deliver us from evil.” When a church prays it together (often reciting it aloud), it is a powerful prayer for the whole body of believers.
READ MORE: PRAY LIKE A CHILD
But The Lord’s Prayer can also be prayed for others. It is a potent way to intercede for someone else, even if you don’t know much about that person’s (or persons’) circumstances.
Praying The Lord’s Prayer for someone else might sound something like this:
Our Father in heaven,
make your name holy in and through Susan;
bring your kingdom in and through her;
accomplish your will in and through her,
as promptly and fully as it is done in heaven.
Give her the bread she needs today.
Forgive her sins,
and give her grace to forgive all who have sinned against her.
And lead her—not into temptation,
but deliver her from evil,
for the kingdom and power and glory are yours,
Praying The Lord’s Prayer for someone else covers all the bases. It hits all the right notes. It helps the person praying to be a genuine help to the person being prayed for. Try it. Make it a habit. And let the Lord’s own words guide your prayers not only for yourself but also for others in need.
God will Heal the Sick. Pain and suffering are, unfortunately, a reality of life. At some point in our lives we will hurt, or someone around us will hurt. There will be a life changing accident or soul crushing diagnosis that will shake us to our souls. It can be worse to see a loved one (family member or friend) in pain. Many a mother has said, “I would take on my child’s pain if I could!” Seeing a loved one in pain can leave us feeling helpless, hopeless, and angry. We ask God, “Why did You let this happen, Lord?” and feel that “There’s nothing I can do!” There is something we can do – we can always pray! But does really everybody know how to pray for healing for someone else?
Here’s how to pray for healing for someone else
Few tips for how to pray for healing for someone else:
- Listen! You need to understand the requirement.
- Bring your loved one’s prayer requests to God. God hears our prayers!
- Ask others to stand in prayer with you. Corporate prayer is powerful!
- Ask church leaders to come and lay hands on her and pray.
- Be an encourager!
1. Listen with compassion
When someone is going through a hard time it can make a world of difference when loving friends asks, “How can I pray for you?” without judgement. Understanding what another person is saying requires paying close attention to what they are expressing. This is an important key in discerning how to pray for healing for someone else.
Here are a few examples:
A friend who is not feeling well has a lot of things on her mind. If she is nervous about an appointment, tell her, “I will pray that you will have peace during your appointment and that your doctor(s) will have insight into how to treat your illness. I am praying for your healing!”
A coworker is struggling with a new medication. He is frustrated because he just wants to pain to stop! You can tell him: “I understand that you are frustrated about your different medications. I will pray that your body will respond to medication and that you will heal. I’ll also pray that your doctor(s) will help you find the right combinations to deal with your pain”.
A gentle reminder – do not use prayer requests as an excuse to share your friend’s personal business. Respect her privacy! Don’t share anything unless she has given you permission to do so! Prayer requests are not to be treated as gossip!
2. Bring your prayer requests to God
When I think about how God allows us to enter into His throne room and bring our requests to Him. This is not something we should take lightly especially in learning how to pray for healing for someone else. God hears our prayers!
The Bible is full of promises about God’s faithfulness. Bring your loved one’s prayer requests to God during your quiet time. Include Bible verses about healing in your prayers like Jeremiah 17:14, Isaiah 40:29, and Psalms 30:2.
Using the same example as your friend who is nervous about an appointment, here is how you can pray for her:
“Dear Lord, I want to bring my friend to you right now. I know that she is not feeling well and worry is taking a lot of her emotional energy. I pray that You will give her special peace in the midst of her crisis; draw close to her. Give her confidence that healing will come. I pray that that You will give her doctor special insight and wisdom during this upcoming appointment. Show them how to treat her to relieve the pain and bring healing. I remember the portion of Isaiah 53:3 that says, ‘…by his wounds we are healed’. I believe you, God will heal the sick! Thank-you in advance for what You will do! Amen”.
Take a minute to send a text message to your friend and say, “I just said a prayer for you!”
3. Ask others to stand in prayer with you
The Christian Church is a community that we rely on for support and community. When it comes to praying, corporate (or prayer within a group of Christians) is powerful. Remember Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them”.
Here’s how you can implement corporate prayer:
- If your loved ones gives you permission, share her prayer request with a trusted group of Christians from your church of Bible study.
- Ask your Bible study to agree with you in prayer for healing.
- Ask your friends if they have any words of knowledge to share or if they have similar stories of healing.
- When you loved one experiences an answer to prayer, share it with your Bible study.
- Give praise to God.
4. Laying on of hands and Anointing of the Sick Sacrament
In the book of James (5:14-15), Christians from the early church were instructed to call the elders to pray for and anoint the sick. They would come together in agreement for healing.
If your loved one feels comfortable with it, ask church leaders to come and lay hands on her and pray. You can gather at a church or in a home. Many Christians use anointing oil when they pray. A special reminder – anointing oil is symbolic of dedication to and trust in God; the oil does not have any power in and of itself. Talk with your pastor about the process of laying on of hands.
Catholic Church has Anointing of the Sick Sacrament, which is intended to strengthen those who are being tried by illness. This sacrament is administered by a priest, who lays hands on the sick and pray over him, then anoints patient’s forehead and hands with blessed oil. The first grace of this Sacrament is one of strengthening, peace, and courage to overcome the difficulties that go with the condition of serious illness. By Anointing of the sick Sacrament, all Church is invited to pray for their brother in Christ, not leaving him alone to fight with illness and pain. Intercession of God and Church would be a great help for him.
5. Be an encourager
Imagine what you need when you’re not feeling well. Someone to sit quietly with you and keep you company? Someone who is cheerful and reassuring? Thinking through this can help develop empathy for others who are suffering.
Spending time with a friend who is suffering because of health can be very discouraging. It is easy to fall into the trap of focusing on all the negatives. While it’s important to be realistic about any situation, you can support your friend by focusing on being an encourager. Be prepared with some Scriptures to share, some positive news, or a song that touched you.
Even if your loved one isn’t feeling well, your words will be heard and your thought will be appreciated.
Pain is an unavoidable part of life, but it is an opportunity for us to experience God’s presence and faithfulness in a real way. He is there to listen to our prayers and heal us. We learn how to pray for healing for someone else through the Scriptures, asking other Christians to pray with us, and by being encouragers. God will heal the sick!
Also read: INTERCESSORY PRAYER – we pray for others