When our loved ones fall ill, it’s devastating to watch. As supporters, there’s only so much you can do, and sometimes it seems like all you can do is hurry up and wait.
For Catholics, prayer is a fundamental part of faith. In trying times, turning to prayer is a way to offer your concern and soothe your mind. Asking God to keep your loved one in His heart may help them find the power to heal or make peace with their illness.
In the Catholic tradition, many prayers call on the intercessions of patron saints who attend to specific needs. Catholics call on St. Padre Pio, St. Peregrine, St. Nicholas, St. Agatha, St. Anthony, St. Dymphna, and St. Rafael in their time of need.
Below, you’ll find Catholic prayers to God and patron saints intended for children and the elderly. We’ve also compiled some relating to cancer, breast cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
1. “Prayer for Healing”
This inclusive short prayer will serve anyone facing an illness. It begins, “Almighty and merciful Father, by the power of your command, drive away from me all forms of sickness and disease (CHP 2020)”
2. “Prayer to Our Lady of Mercy”
“May all who venerate you feel now your help and protection. Be ready to help us when we pray and bring back to us the answers to our prayers. Make it your continual concern to pray for the people of God…”
3. “Prayer for the Sick”
Prayers for the sick have a general audience but can be inclusive of any loved one in your life. Whether they are suffering mentally or physically, you can request mercy from Jesus to end their pain and suffering through meditation and faith.
4. “Prayer of Reconciliation”
This prayer is also known as the Act of Contrition. It is an apology prayer. Through this prayer, Catholics ask for God’s forgiveness to be taken under his graces once again.
5. “Prayer for a Healing Through the Intercession of St. Padre Pio”
"Beloved St. Padre Pio, who shared in Christ’s suffering in a special way through the stigmata, you especially loved the sick and infirm. Through your intercession before the throne of God, may we be healed in body and soul, particularly in regards to [mention personal request].”
6. “Prayer for a Creative Miracle”
This is a scientific prayer. It asks that God heal you from the inside out, including “every cell, electrical and chemical impulse, tissue, joint, ligament, organ, gland, muscle, bone, and every molecule in my body to come under complete and perfect health, strength, alignment, balance, and harmony.”
7. “Prayer for Physicians and Nurses”
This is a prayer intended for the medical professionals who look after our ill.
“We thank thee for those who care for us. We thank thee for the gift of science and medicine (Babbitt 1949).”
8. “Prayer for a Sick Child Through the Intercession of St. Gerard”
St. Gerard Majella was the patron saint of pregnant women. For this reason, prayers to him include those for sick children. Praying to St. Gerard is intercessory and invokes the help of God for your child.
9. “Prayer for Cancer Through the Intercession of St. Peregrine”
St. Peregrine Laziosi of Italy is the patron saint for those suffering from cancer. When he was young, he was diagnosed with cancer. After much prayer the night before his intended surgery, he was healed by the Grace of God.
"St. Peregrine, I confidently turn to you for help in my present sickness. For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fiber of our being. Ask God to relieve me of this sickness, if it be His Holy Will.”
10. “The Miracle Prayer”
Catholics believe that by repeating this prayer by heart and with full intent, Jesus will heal them.
It begins, “Lord Jesus, I come before Thee, just as I am, I am sorry for my sins, I repent of my sins, please forgive me...”
11. “Prayer for a Sick Child Through the Intercession of St. Nicholas”
St. Nicholas, known for bringing joy to children, is also prayed to in the name of sick children.
“O good St. Nicholas, you who are the joy of the children, put in my heart the spirit of childhood, which the gospel speaks and teaches me to seed happiness around me…”
12. “Healing Prayer of Surrender”
Knowing what to say when someone is sick, can be difficult. Some Catholics prefer the Healing Prayer of Surrender for this reason
It prays that the Lord take complete control over every aspect of your life so that He may heal you from the inside out. The prayer hopes that with compassion, on the other side of this sickness is the path to salvation. (CHP 2020)
13. “Healing Prayer of Isaiah 53”
This prayer is about fully recognizing and accepting the sacrifice Jesus made. The prayer conveys that “[n]o sickness, pain, death, fear, or addiction shall ever be lord over [you] again. The penalty has been paid in full (CHP 2020).”
14. “Prayer for Inner Healing”
If you have bad memories, anguish, anxiety, or guilt, the “Prayer for Inner Healing” will address those concerns. It also focuses on forgiving the causes of your pain.
15. “Prayer for Breast Cancer Through the Intercession of St. Agatha”
“Agatha, woman of valor, we have been moved by your own suffering to ask for your intercession on behalf of those who suffer from breast cancer.
From where you stand in the health of life eternal—all wounds healed, and all tears wiped away–pray for [mention requests], and for all of us.”
16. “Prayer for a Peaceful Rest”
Sometimes what we need most to heal—or to even think about healing—is some good, restful sleep. This prayer asks Jesus to help you sleep, rid the demons from your thoughts, and keep the Angels in watch over you while you sleep.
17. “Prayer for a Miracle Through the Intercession of St. Anthony”
St. Anthony of Padua is believed to make things happen. Although he is the patron saint of lost items, St. Anthony is often invoked in prayer for restoring health, to help those in distress or sorrow, and more.
18. “Prayer for Alzheimer’s Through the Intercession of St. Dymphna”
“Gentle St. Dymphna, patron of those with illnesses affecting the mind, be my intercessor to Jesus, the Divine Physician. In the face of loss of memory and control, increase my confidence in God’s providence. In the midst of confusion and isolation, remind me of God’s enduring peace and presence.”
19. “Healing Prayer of Surrender”
This is not just a prayer for the surrender of your heart, mind, body, and soul. This is a prayer to Jesus which surrenders finances, occupation, resources, and all the things you do and do not know. By doing so, it allows Jesus into every aspect of your being.
20. “Prayer for Healing through the Intercession of St. Rafael”
“…Because you are the "medicine of God," I humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of my soul and the ills that afflict my body. I especially ask of you the favor [name your favor] and the great grace of purity to prepare me to be the temple of the Holy Spirit."
21. “Prayers of the Faithful on Divine Mercy Sunday”
On the second Sunday of Easter, Catholics pray for those of goodwill and victims of injustice.
The prayer begins, “We pray for the sick, the suffering, and the dying. That they may receive healing and encounter the mystery of their dignity as God's children. We pray to the Lord.”
22. “Chaplet of the Divine Mercy”
This rosary prayer is about the sacrifice Jesus made for the sins of man. It says, “For the sake of His powerful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” Catholics believe it works best when recited meditatively.
23. “Divine Mercy 3 O’Clock Prayer”
“O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelope the whole world and empty yourself out upon us. O Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus, as a fountain of Mercy for us, we trust in You.”
24. “Hail Holy Queen—Salve Regina”
This prayer asks the Blessed Virgin Mary for her assistance—for her help, which is essential to recovery. Praying to the “Mother of Mercy” has long been practiced to find the graces needed to heal the sick.
25. “Pleading for Mercy and Forgiveness of Sin”
If you are a pilgrim who yearns to be healed on all levels, Psalm 51 will help with your reconciliation. Here, the sinner is asking that God wash away their sins, take away their guilt and be merciful.
Praying for Those Who are Sick
Whether you are praying for someone you know or someone you love, prayer for the sick has been a powerful force among Catholics. The prayers are not just invocations for help, but also pathways to the love of God.
- Babbitt, Edmond Holt. The Pastor’s Manual for Hospital and Sickroom. 14th Edition. ©1949 by Pierce & Smith
- Catholic Healing Prayers (CHP) © 2020 by Valentine Publishing House. Retrieved from: www.catholichealingprayers.com
- “The 3 O'Clock Prayer & Chaplet of the Divine Mercy.” Centre for Divine Mercy. centrefordivinemercy.org/3-oclock-prayer-chaplet
- “Catholic Prayers.” My Catholic Life! mycatholic.life/catholic-prayers/
- Catholic.net catholic.net
- “Prayers for Healing.” Waterloo Catholics Faith Formation. waterloocatholics.org/prayers-for-healing
- “Daily Readings with Catholic Online.” Catholic Online. www.catholic.org
- “St. Padre Pio Healing Decade Rosary & Card.” The Catholic Company. www.catholiccompany.com/st-padre-pio-healing-decade-rosary-prayer-card-i126341/
- Our Catholic Prayers. www.ourcatholicprayers.com
- “Prayer for Sick Child to St. Gerard.” Saint Therese. www.sainttherse.com/prayer-for-sick-child-to-st-gerard/