Prayers offered for those who suffer are a bit like lighting a candle in the dark. Even the smallest flicker of light can push back the darkness to yield treasures of hope and joy. Unfortunately, we often don’t know how to pray for friends and loved ones – or even ourselves – when we face suffering, but the Word of God gives us abundant instruction and insight. Here are just a few examples.
Strength to Endure: “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether itis with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need” (Philippians 4:12-13 NLT).
Wisdom: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).
Discernment: “Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works” (Colossians 1:9 THE MESSAGE).
Support and Encouragement: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who has no one to help him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
A Trusting Heart: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Hope in God’s Love: “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t…nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39 NLT).
Greater Intimacy with God: “I keep asking that the…Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father; may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know him better” (Ephesians 1:17).
Lord, I want to come to you with open hands, but my heart keeps crying out for life the way I knew it. So I’m afraid I have come to you with my fists tightly clenched, holding in the emptiness. Help me to loosen my grip on what was, and bow before your goodness and your faithfulness. Help me to trust that the meaning in the yesterdays of my life will surely be surpassed by the meaning in my tomorrows because you are the source of all meaning. And with you, the best is always yet to be.