At some point, the phrase “thoughts and prayers” has become a typical response to people who tell stories of suffering. There’s nothing wrong with this response. After all, it is hard to know what to say when someone is sick or received terrible news from the doctor.
But how many people are following through with their promise? How many pray for the person who is suffering?
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Prayers for a Friend’s Healing
- Prayers for a Family Member’s Healing
- Prayers for an Acquaintance or Coworker’s Healing
You might have an active prayer life and keep a running list of people and situations you are praying for. Or you may have good intentions and plan to pray for those who are suffering, but not know how to do it. Perhaps you feel awkward praying because it has never been a part of your daily routine.
Let us help. Here are some prayers you can recite for a person who is healing from a sickness or operation.
Some faith communities tend to rely on formal prayers that are written and published by the organization’s leadership. Others view prayer as a daily talk with God. This list includes prayers that have been published in books and online. You may feel comfortable with a less formal approach. Regardless of your practice, consider these prayers a starting point.
Prayers for a Friend’s Healing
Does your friend need prayers? Perhaps you are looking for a prayer for someone with cancer. Maybe you have a friend with a substance abuse problem. It could be that doctors can’t figure out what is causing your friend’s symptoms.
Here are some published prayers that you may choose to recite on your friend’s behalf.
1. “For Healing” from the Catholic Church
“Lord, You invite all who are burdened to come to You. Allow your healing hand to heal me. Touch my soul with Your compassion for others. Touch my heart with Your courage and infinite love for all. Touch my mind with Your wisdom, that my mouth may always proclaim Your praise. Teach me to reach out to You in my need, and help me to lead others to You by my example. Most loving Heart of Jesus, bring me health in body and spirit that I may serve You with all my strength. Touch gently this life which You have created, now and forever. Amen.”
It is said that Jesus healed with the touch of his hand. And that he could heal without touching too. This prayer refers to the healing touch that is mentioned throughout the Bible.
2. “Prayer for a Sick Person” from the Lutheran Church
“O Father of mercies and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need: We humbly beseech thee to behold, visit and relieve thy sick servant (name). For whom our prayers are desired. Look upon him with the eyes of thy mercy; comfort him with a sense of thy goodness; preserve him from the temptations of the enemy; and give him patience under his affliction. In thy good time, restore him to health, and enable him to lead the residue of his life in thy fear, and to thy glory; and grant that finally he may dwell with thee in life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
This prayer asks God for healing from sickness. It also asks that God gives the person you are praying for patience while waiting to be healed.
3. “Mi Sheberach” from the Book of Jewish Prayers
“May the One who blessed our ancestors — Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah —bless and heal the one who is ill: ________________ son/daughter of ________________ . May the Holy Blessed One overflow with compassion upon him/her, to restore him/her, to heal him/her, to strengthen him/her, to enliven him/her. The One will send him/her, speedily, a complete healing — healing of the soul and healing of the body — along with all the ill, among the people of Israel and all humankind, soon, speedily, without delay, and let us all say: Amen!”
This prayer is recited at Synagogue services each week. Many times ill people in the faith community will be listed during the recitation of this prayer.
4. “Prayer for Healing” from Islam
“Get rid of the hardship and heal, O Lord of the People, you are the Healer, and there is no healing of disease like Yours. Let it be healing that is not betrayed by sickness.”
This prayer was written by the Prophet Muhammad. It is appropriate to say for anyone who is suffering from physical or mental illness.
Read our guide on Islamic condolences for more.
Prayers for a Family Member’s Healing
Hardly anything is more difficult than watching someone you love suffer. Here are prayers to recite for one of your family members when they are struggling.
If you are a caregiver, you may also pray to God for patience and strength to help you as you assist a person in need.
5. “Prayer for the Sick Near Death” from the Catholic Church
“Almighty and Everlasting God, preserver of souls, who dost correct those whom Thou dost love, and for their betterment dost tenderly chastise those whom Thou dost receive, we call upon Thee, O Lord, to grant Thy healing, that the soul of Thy servant, at the hour of its departure from the body, may by the hands of Thy holy Angels be presented without spot unto Thee. Amen.”
Do you have a family member who is extremely sick? Are they perhaps near death? Here is a prayer that asks for healing. At the same time, it asks that the angels receive the person’s soul if the soul does leave the body.
6. “Prayer for Recovery from Sickness” from the Lutheran Church
“O God, the strength of the weak and the comfort of sufferers: Mercifully accept our prayers, and grant to your servant N. the help of your power, that his sickness may be turned into health and our sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
If you have a family member who is suffering from a horrible disease, you probably feel deep sorrow. This prayer asks that the sorrow you feel be turned into joy.
7. “23rd Psalm”
“The Lord is my shepherd. I shall lack nothing. He lays me down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He revives my soul; He directs me in paths of righteousness for the sake of His Name. Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff-they will comfort me. You will prepare a table for me before my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup is full. Only goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord for many long years.”
People often forget to use Psalms as prayers. The 23rd Psalm is one of the most famous. It can be recited for people in both the Christian and Jewish communities.
Prayers for an Acquaintance or Coworker’s Healing
It is common to become close to the people we work with. Here are some prayers you may feel like offering up for an acquaintance or a coworker who is suffering from an illness.
8. “Prayer to Heal a Friend” from the Catholic Church
“Think, O God, of our friend who is ill, whom we now commend to Your compassionate regard. Comfort him upon his sickbed, and ease his suffering. We beg for deliverance, and submit that no healing is too hard for the Lord, if it be His will. We therefore pray that You bless our friend with Your loving care, renew his strength, and heal what ails him in Your loving name. Thank You, Lord.”
9. “Prayer for Recovery from Sickness” from the Lutheran Church
“O God of heavenly powers, by the might of your command you drive away from our bodies all sickness and all infirmity: Be present in your goodness with your servant (name), that his weakness may be banished and his strength restored; and that, his health being renewed, he may bless your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
This prayer asks explicitly that the sick person’s strength be restored.
10. “Prayer for the Body” from the Book of Jewish Prayers
“Blessed are You, our Eternal God, Creator of the Universe, who has made our bodies in wisdom, creating openings, arteries, glands and organs marvelous in structure, intricate in design. Should but one of them, by being blocked or opened, fail to function, it would be difficult to stand before You. Wondrous Fashioner and Sustainer of life, Source of our health and our strength, we give you thanks and praise.”
According to this prayer, God used divine wisdom to create our bodies, but at times our bodies fail to function. Here is a prayer asking God to heal your acquaintance or coworker.
Finding the Right Prayer
It is uncomfortable knowing what to say when someone is sick. It may also be uncomfortable for you to think about the end of your life. Even though you may not want to think about it, it is eventually coming.
The next time you promise to pray for someone who is suffering, try to follow through with your promise. Hopefully, this list of prayers will assist you in finding the right words to say.
- “More Catholic Prayers.” CatholiCity.com. www.catholicity.com/prayer/book.html.
- “Muslim Prayers.” Xavier.edu. www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/muslim-prayers.
- “The Online Book of Common Prayer.” www.bcponline.org/.
- “The Standard Prayer Book.” www.sacred-texts.com/jud/spb/index.htm.