Prayer For A Friend With Illness Can Be Beneficial
Regardless of what we believe, sometimes it is nice to just have someone care enough to offer to pray for us.
A prayer for a friend who is going through a rough storm like a chronic illness or new diagnosis can be helpful. We recognize here at Invisible Illness Awareness Week, not everyone believes in God and not everyone would like prayer. However, despite many of my online friends who do not believe in God, not one has ever said, “Uh, no, it’s is not okay to pray for me.” Instead, people usually respond by saying something like, “Prayer sure can’t hurt!” or “I will take whatever prayers you can send up on my behalf.”
For those who live with chronic illness, people often say, “I will pray for you.” Now, this is kind. We appreciate that. But let’s take it a little bit further. For example, what percentage of people who say they will pray, do you think really do? Sometimes among Christians we can accidentally start using “I’ll pray for ya” as a way to say, “hang in there,” and then. . . we forget to actually pray about it (gasp!). But am I right? It happens.
On a scientific note, there are many studies in the last twenty years about the impact of prayer on one’s health. And even when the person is prayed for by someone they don’t even know, nor do they believe it will work, it still had beneficial results.
According to an MSNBC article, “Can Prayer Heal the Sick?” http://healthyliving.msn.com/health-wellness/can-prayer-heal-the-sick-1 …
A recent survey of more than 1,100 U.S. physicians found that 85 percent believed religion and spirituality (including prayer) had a positive influence on health and recovery. But, only 6 percent of these doctors believed it had any effect on the “hard” medical endpoints, such as speed of recovery or death. About three-fourths of these doctors thought religion and spirituality helped people cope and maintain a positive outlook.
What do people want to pray for? Well, our healing of course! Now, healings are fabulous. I would love to wake up tomorrow and have no pain and 20 years of rheumatoid arthritis damage and deformities simply gone! And I believe in a God who can and has done that for some people. However, I have accepted that God may be more interested in the me I am becoming through this trial, then making me so comfortable I run off and do my own thing. If I have to live with this illness the rest of my life, I am prepared to do so.
So, remember when you offer prayer for a friend, ask them specifically what they need or would like prayer for. You can certainly pray for healing, but what else is on your friend’s mind too? The kids? Surgeons? Decisions? An insurance ruling? A trip that may need cancelled? A job that is on the line? When you offer prayer for a friend, and ask what your friend would like you to pray about, you may discover a whole other list of concerns they have not felt comfortable sharing with anyone else.
And it makes your friend feel like you really care about her. You aren’t interested in your agenda or what you want to pray for, or how big of party you can throw when she is healed. But rather you are focusing in on her and what is on her mind–her worries, joys, challenges, frustrations (or his!)
Although your intent may be to just offer a quick prayer for a friend for her general well-being or pain, asking, “What can I pray for you that no one else is praying for?” may open up her heart and allow you to become one of her dearest friends who she is truly vulnerable with.
TWEET THIS: Things TO SAY to an ill person #9 What can I pray 4 you about that no one else is praying 4? #iiwk12
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Sometimes we see our friends suffering so much and just don’t know what to do or what to say. This is a beautiful song that many people have shared with their friends to tell them to keep hanging in there one more day. They are not meant to walk this road alone. “I Will Carry You” by Michael W Smith.
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