There are few words to describe the feeling when the doctor tells you that your loved one is terminally ill. Though the news brings a sense of devastation, it also signals the start of a time when you may want to devote yourself to helping your dying loved one.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Prayers for a Terminally Ill Parent or Grandparent
- Prayers for a Terminally Ill Sibling
- Prayers for a Terminally Ill Spouse or Partner
- Prayers for a Terminally Ill Friend
In this time, prayers for the terminally ill can help you stay firm and encourage your loved one, as well. Faith not only keeps you both focused on what matters, but helps when discussing difficult topics like death and dying, and can provide guidance for deathbed etiquette.
Prayers for a Terminally Ill Parent or Grandparent
Our parents and grandparents may have helped to raise us and were always there for us whenever we faced hardships. When they get sick or are on their deathbeds, it’s our turn to be there for them. Praying can help ease their pain and lend some spiritual support.
1. “Prayer to Comfort the Dying” from Christianity
“God, help my mom discover your peace. Let her receive your comfort. Help her to be at rest knowing that you care for her and that you love her. Amen.”
It’s scary to face death. This prayer will help your loved one focus on rest, peace, and the love of God.
2. “Prayer for Protection” from Buddhism
“Oh Compassionate Ones, protect my father who is defenceless. Be to him like a mother and father.”
This prayer pleads for the force that created this universe to protect the person who is terminally ill and protect them as parents would.
3. “Prayer for Peace” From Catholicism
“O God, Who has commanded us to honor our father and mother, have compassion in Thy mercy, on the souls of my father and mother; forgive them their sins, and grant that I may see them in the joy of eternal brightness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
This prayer helps focus your mom or dad on God’s forgiveness of their and the life that is coming beyond the grave.
4. “Forgive Me and My Parents” from Islam
“Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents, and (all) the believers on the Day when the reckoning will be established.” - Quran 14:41
In Islam, it’s believed that the dead will rise one day and everyone will be judged. Pray this for the sick so their sins will be forgiven before they pass away.
5. “Prayer for Mercy” from Islam
“My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small.” - Quran 17:24
Your parents took the important job of taking care of you and raising you since you were little. This prayer asks God to have mercy on them because of how good they were to you.
Prayers for a Terminally Ill Sibling
Siblings share more than blood. You may share a lifetime of inside jokes, memories, laughter, and conversation. When your sibling is ill, you may want to step up and be supportive of them through prayer. If you’re far away and can’t visit often, consider writing prayers in a card and sending it along with a gift for terminal cancer patients.
6. “Prayer for Life” from Christianity
“I am the resurrection and the life: whoever believes in me, even though he should die, will come to life; and whoever is alive and believes in me will never die.” - John 11:25
This verse pertains to when Jesus brought Lazarus, a friend, and believer, back to life after his death. Praying and reciting this verse can bring hope through the reminder that there is life after death.
7. “The Healer” from Islam
"Remove the harm, O Lord of humankind and heal him, for You are the Healer and there is no healing except Your healing, with a healing which does not leave any disease behind." - Hazrat Ayesha
Saying this simple prayer for healing can bring comfort no matter what stage of illness someone faces.
8. “Prayer for Peace of Mind” from Christianity
“A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” - Job 14:5
The book of Job provides this encouraging verse, serving as a reminder that everyone has a specific time on Earth.
9. “The One Who is Blessed” from Judaism
“May the Holy Blessed One overflow with compassion upon him... One will send him, speedily, a complete healing — healing of the soul and healing of the body ... Amen.”
This is an excerpt from a sacred jewish prayer. Use any part of this to pray for healing in both body and soul.
10. “Never Forget” from Hinduism
“And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body remembering Me alone at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.” - Bhagavad Gita 8:5
Encourage your sibling to focus on what they believe regarding life after death.
Prayers for a Terminally Ill Spouse or Partner
Your spouse or partner is not only your romantic partner, but a best friend, and source of comfort. There is no doubt that it can be hard to go on when they get sick. In such times, prayer can help both the patients and their families to forge through with faith.
11. “God is with Us” from Christianity
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” – Isaiah 41:10
Those of the Christian faith believe that God is always with them. This belief can help provide strength to you and your spouse who is terminally ill.
12. “God as the Physician” from Greek Orthodox
“Send down upon him Your great mercy, and if it be Your Will, give to him health and complete recovery; for You are the Physician of our souls and bodies...Amen.”
This prayer for the terminally ill paints God as a doctor who can cure anyone’s body and soul.
13. “Faith” from Catholicism
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” - Acts 7:59
When a person is close to death, it can be relieving to put faith in a higher being that will be there. Sharing this prayer may offer some ease to someone’s distress when terminally ill.
14. “Death” from Islam
“Every soul is certain to taste death: we test you through the bad and the good and to us you will all return.” - Quran 21:35
Though death is certain, the hope in this verse and prayer is that you will meet again by God’s side.
15. “Prayer for Cure” from Judaism
“And in Your hand is the soul of every living thing and the spirit of all mortal men. And in Your hand is the power to make great, to strengthen and to cure every person, even one who is crushed, crushed to the very depths of his soul.”
Through illness, focus on the encouragement that God you can take care of you and your partner.
Prayers for a Terminally Ill Friend
Friends are precious because they accept us even though they’re not our family. Continue to share in your friendship through visits, talks, prayers, or long-distance support by writing a card for a terminally ill friend.
16. “Ask Who is Lofty” from Islam
“I ask Allah who is the Lofty and the Lord of the Mighty Throne that He cures you."
Send up this prayer to offer hope and consolation to your friend by focusing their thoughts on the belief in a God who can heal.
17. “Prayer for Good Health” from Christianity
“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” – 3 John 1:2
This prayer states that both the physical body and soul need to be healed for one to get better. Praying is a good way to keep spirits up through discouraging times.
18. “We Belong to Him” from Catholicism
“Whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.” - Romans 14:8
Use this verse and prayer as a reminder that no matter what happens, God holds their life in his hands.
19. “By Thy Will” from Judaism
“I acknowledge before You, Adonai, my God and God of my ancestors, That my healing and my death are in Your hands. May it be Your will to grant me complete healing. If it is Your will that I am to die of this illness…”
This Jewish prayer emphasizes the belief that only God can heal or cure someone and God is ultimately the master of one’s fate.
20. “Prayer for Painless Death” from Catholicism
“God, thank you for being with us right now. We confess that we don’t understand why things happen the way they do. We don’t understand why illness comes into our lives, but we do know that you walk every path of life with us. Amen.”
Sometimes giving up control of one’s life and to trust that a higher being can guide us can be a true source of comfort. Share this prayer with your friend to help them gain the strength to face life and death courageously.
Prayers are a Blessing
For people of faith, praying can provide peace of mind and help in dealing with the pain when a loved one is terminally ill or dying. Scripture and prayer can also equip you to say goodbye to someone who's dying and help them say goodbye with courage, dignity, and peace.
If you're looking fo more ways to support a sick loved one, read our guides on how to write an "open when you're sick" letter and the best care packages for a sick loved one.