Dealing with cancer can be one of the most time-consuming and exhausting issues in one’s lifetime. Medical advances have vastly improved over the years, making what used to be a terminal illness into a sickness one can live with and perhaps ultimately put into remission.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Prayers for Healing Cancer or Going Through Treatment
- Prayers for Someone Dying of Cancer
- Prayers for Someone in Remission from Cancer
Even with all these advances, treatments such as chemotherapy can be very burdensome for the person with cancer and their families. Side effects, expensive treatments, and the physical burdens can be a bit much for one person to manage —but that is where faith and spirituality can step in to offer a reprieve. If you or a loved one has received a diagnosis, you know how all-encompassing it can be.
Offering prayers and good energy can be one of many ways you can show your concern for someone going through a vast life-changing experience.
Gift tip: Send a comforting gift, like this warm fleece blanket or a cozy fleece sweatshirt to keep them warm during treatment or in the hospital.
Prayers for Healing Cancer or Going Through Treatment
Enduring treatment is a time for stubborn hope and resolve.
1. “Prayer for Cancer” from the Catholic Church
This prayer comes from the shrine of St. Jude, the patron saint of hope. He is also the namesake of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, a leading organization offering treatment for childhood cancers.
“God of healing mercy, in Jesus your Son you stretch out your hand in compassion, restoring the sinner, healing the sick, and lifting up those bowed down. Embrace us now in your loving care, particularly those afflicted with cancer, for whom this intention is offered. May the Spirit of Jesus bring us all health in soul and body, that with joy and thanksgiving we may praise you for your goodness...”
2. “Prayer for A Chemotherapy Patient” from Christianity
When you’re enduring chemotherapy, sometimes faith is all you have.
Lord, You have taught me that faith as small as a mustard seed can grow into an amazing tree.
Today I give you my little seed of faith. I place it firmly in the ground of your word. I water it with truth. The warmth of your love will make it grow. Today I ask by faith that you would bring healing from this cancer. I place my trust in you. May this seed sow healing into every area where the tumor has emerged...”
3. “Psalm 20” from Judaism
This prayer asks for God’s healing over your cancer. It’s a request for God to hear and accept you favorably.
“For the Conductor, a psalm by David. May the Lord answer you on the day of distress; may the Name of the God of Jacob fortify you. May He send your help from the Sanctuary, and support you from Zion. May He remember all your offerings, and always accept favorably your sacrifices. May He grant you your heart's desire, and fulfill your every counsel.”
4. “Prayer for Healing” from the Sioux Tribe
This is a prayer to the sky, the earth, and the spirits for healing. Native Americans will recite this prayer in times of duress, where some extra strength is needed.
“O our Father, the Sky, hear us and make us strong. O our Mother the Earth, hear us
and give us support. O Spirit of the South, may we tread your path of life. O Spirit of the West,
may we always be ready for the long journey. O Spirit of the North, purify us with your cleansing winds.”
5. “Prayer for Healing” from Judaism
Praying for others who are ill is a good deed. Praying for yourself is equally important. This prayer asks for the healing of your body, but also your spirit.
“May the one who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, bless and heal those who are ill [names]. May the Blessed Holy One be filled with compassion for their health to be restored and their strength to be revived. May God swiftly send them a complete renewal of body and spirit …”
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Prayers for Someone Dying of Cancer
Preparing to die can be one of the most difficult tasks to undertake, requiring significant emotional strength and mental fortitude. Whether a person is full of hope or peace, here are some prayers to help ease the difficulty of dying.
6. “Navajo Prayer for Healing” from the Navajo Tribe
This prayer asks for your body, spirit, and power to be restored at dawn.
“In the house made of dawn. In the story made of dawn. On the trail of dawn. O, Talking God.
His feet, my feet, restore. His limbs, my limbs, restore. His body, my body, restore. His mind, my mind, restore. His voice, my voice, restore. His plumes, my plumes, restore.”
7. “A Buddhist Prayer for Peace” from Buddhism
Sometimes, death serves as freedom from illness. At other times, healing provides freedom. No matter which it is for you, this prayer asks for peace.
“May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind / Quickly be freed from their illness. / May those frightened cease to be afraid, / And may those bound be free. / May the powerless find power, / And may people think of befriending one another …”
8. “Divine Blessing” from Hinduism
This prayer extols God’s power and the knowledge He has given us. As a result, the speaker will sing God’s praises constantly, even though they are weak.
“You created this beautiful earth all around us. And in every plant and animal, every tree and bird, Your spirit dwells. You have revealed yourself to me, infusing my soul with the knowledge that You are the source of all blessings. And so I sing Your praises day and night. I who am
feeble, glorify You who are powerful. I who am nothing, devote myself to You who is everything.
9. “Suffer me not, O my lord” from the Bahá’í Faith
This prayer asks for a drink from the river of life in paradise. As you come to the end of your days, you can still receive knowledge of the Lord.
“Suffer me not, O my Lord, To be deprived of the knowledge of Thee in Thy days, And divest me not of the robe of Thy guidance. Give me to drink of the river that is life indeed, Whose waters have streamed forth from the paradise (Ridvan) In which the throne of Thy Name, The All-Merciful, was established, That my eyes may be opened, And my face is illumined …”
10. “In the Morning” from Christianity
This prayer resignedly puts all hope in God’s hands.
“O God of all hope, whatever happens during this day is in Your hands. Strengthen me in my weakness, give skill to those who minister to me, and grant me confidence and faith in Your healing power. Through Jesus Christ my Lord I pray. Amen.”
Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
Prayers for Someone in Remission from Cancer
Remission is a time for hope and fear to coexist. It’s great news, but you’re taking steps every day looking to escape the shadow of cancer.
11. “In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful” from Islam
This is a reminder to praise Allah for victories that come your way.
“When comes the help / Of Allah, and victory, / And thou dost see / The people enter Allah’s Religion In crowds, / Celebrate the praises / Of thy Lord, and we pray / For His forgiveness:
For He is oft-returning …”
12. “When Thankful” from Christianity
This is an acknowledgment of God’s blessings. It’s also a request, though, that they continue.
“O Lord, Your mercies are new to me every day! I give You thanks for the renewing of my health, for the relief from pain and worry. Continue Your healing within me, that I may return to the work You have given me to do for You. Through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.”
13. “The Invocation for the patient” from Islam
This prayer requests that your cancer, too, be “a cure that leaves no disease.”
“Whenever Allah’s messenger paid a visit to a patient or a patient was brought to him, he used to invoke Allah, saying, “Take away the disease, O the Lord of the People! Cure him as You are the One who cures. There is no cure but Yours, A cure that leaves no disease.”
14. “A Prayer from the Taize Community” from Taize
Taize is a sect of Christianity. This prayer requests that tears be turned into joy.
“Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Living God, You breathe in us, / On all that is inadequate and fragile, /
You make living water spring even from our hurts themselves. And through You, the valley of tears becomes a place of wellsprings. / So, in an inner life / With neither beginning nor end,
Your continual presence / Makes new freshness break through.”
15. “Healing Prayer” from Judaism
Does it sometimes feel like God is hiding in your time of trouble?
“God, hear my prayer, / And let my cry come to You / Do not hide from me in the days of my distress / Turn to me and speedily answer my prayer. / Eternal God, source of healing / Out of my distress I call upon You. / Help me sense Your presence / At this difficult time. / Grant me patience when the hours are heavy; / In hurt or disappointment give me courage. / Keep me trustful in Your love …”
When to Pray
During emotional times, even if you’re very religious, it’s hard to remember to pray. If you do want to use these prayers, you can pray alone or with loved ones.
For some, praying can offer a sense of catharsis during stressful times. Write the prayers down in a journal if you would like to remember them, which can also give you time to reflect. Praying with loved ones or alone is a way to not only encourage community but also give time for people to focus their mental energy on one thing: focusing on recovery and peace.
If you're looking for more, read our guides to what to say when someone dies of cancer, popular movies about cancer, and children's books that address cancer.
- “Day of Prayer for Cancer.” The National Shrine of St. Jude, n.d., shrineofstjude.org/the-shrine/day-of-prayer-for-cancer/
- “Healing Words of Wisdom.” Roswell Park, n.d., www.roswellpark.org/sites/default/files/node-files/page/nid940-prayerbook14467.pdf