One of the beautiful realities of our union with one another in Christ is when we pray for one another. It’s a very practical—and powerful!— way in which we live out that union. We pray to the same Father on behalf of our siblings in Christ. I love praying for my brothers and sisters in Christ and knowing that they also pray for me.
When friends ask me to pray, I stop what I am doing and pray for her. Sometimes, I text or email hurting friends and tell them the specific ways I am praying for them. I may share a passage of Scripture I’ve prayed on their behalf or a particular gospel reality I pray brings comfort to their hearts. There have even been times when I’ve sent a hurting friend a prayer I’ve written and prayed on their behalf.
In my recent book, Sufficient Hope, I wrote a number of gospel centered prayers. These prayers were intended to focus the reader’s heart on the truths the gospel as they cry out in prayer to our Good Father. In a similar vein to those prayers, here is a gospel prayer I wrote for our hurting friends.
A Prayer for a Hurting Friend
Dear Father in Heaven,
I come before you with my heart aching. My dear friend, more than that—my sister in Christ—is hurting. Because of our union with you and through you, the pain she feels is my pain. I do as you’ve commanded through the Apostle Paul: I weep with those who weep.
I can’t help but feel helpless and useless as I watch my friend suffer. I long to wave a wand and somehow make her troubles disappear. I wish I could push a button and rewind time back to the beginning before our first parents fell into sin, which opened the floodgate to sin, sorrow, and suffering in every human heart.
When I see the effects of the fall tear into the life of my dear friend in this way, my heart grieves and laments. I weep over what has happened in this broken and fallen world. I want to wear sackcloth and sit in dust and ashes. I cry out to you with the questions all sufferers have: Why, Lord? How long? And how shall we endure?
Yet even as I weep, I remember who you are. You are not a distant God. You are not a clock maker or “the old man upstairs.” You don’t sit back and watch, merely observing the turmoil of this life. You are all knowing. You know every tear ever we shed. You not only know all the sufferings of this world, you did something about it. Before time began, you covenanted with the holy Triune Godhead to send your Son to this world. He took on human flesh and lived a perfect life on our behalf. He experienced temptation, rejection, and fear. He lived in poverty, knew hunger, felt heartache, and tasted sorrow. Yet he never sinned. He then took the punishment we deserved at the cross where all our sins were laid on him. Because he suffered for us, and instead of us, we are freed from sin and shame forever.
I cry out to you, to the God who knows all things, the God who loves and cares for his people. I cry out to you on behalf of my dear friend. I ask that you comfort her with the truths of the gospel, of who Christ is and what he has done. I pray she would know who she is in Christ. I pray she would know of your great love for her that started before time began when you set your love on her. I pray she would be comforted by Christ’s sufferings on her behalf and know that through those sufferings, she is united to Christ. I pray that this season of suffering would not weaken her faith but strengthen it. I pray she would come to know you in a deeper, more intimate way. I pray she would rely and depend on you, rest in you, and be strengthened by her union with you.
Please meet her in this suffering with all that she needs. I pray especially for ______(healing, provision, justice, comfort, etc.). Carry and sustain her.
Help me to be the friend she needs. Help me not to say things that would add more sorrow. Help me to listen and serve. Help me to speak gospel truth. Help me to encourage and walk alongside her in this journey.
We are bound together through the blood of your Son, Christ Jesus. I pray in and through his name, Amen.