We all know someone who is hurting, who is suffering or is grieving, don’t we? We promise to pray for them, but at times, we do not know how and what to pray for them. Sometimes all we pray for them is that God would minimize their pain and suffering. But there’s more we can pray for these dear ones, as we clearly see from scriptures.
Reading through Paul’s letters in the Bible, there are three things that you can’t miss. These three things have been rightly been referred to as Paul’s Triad: Faith, Hope, and Love! Paul, writing to believers in Christ in Colossae tells them:
We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel. (Colossians 1:3-5)
Here in these verses, Paul notes these three key virtues. Paul saw three things in the Colossians that genuinely made him thankful to God. You see these come up again and again in Paul’s writings (1 Thessalonians 1:3; 5:8; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:4; Romans 5:2,5; 2 Corinthians 10:15; Colossians 1:23; Galatians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:14).
In the past few days, I have been thinking about each of these three things, and have come to appreciate how we can use each one of them to pray for those who are hurting, suffering and grieving loss.
- Pray for their Faith in Christ Jesus
Suffering is hard. But as a familiar hymn notes, when we feel our faith will fail, Christ will hold us fast. Pray that the faith of those suffering won’t fail. Pray for their faith. Pray that the Lord will sustain them through the dark nights of the soul. Pray for your suffering friend that he or she will keep his or her faith in the Lord Jesus.
The scriptures remind us again and again that as Christians, we are called to walk by faith and not by sight. Pray this will be true of those going through hard and difficult times. Pray for them that during this time, they will hold on to the trustworthiness of God. Pray that God will keep their faith in Christ Jesus.
- Pray for their Hope laid up in Heaven for them
One thing suffering can do is to erode one’s hope for the future. Suffering leaves us worried about what the future holds. If you have a friend who is suffering, pray that he/she will keep the hope of his/her salvation and that nothing will stop him/her from longing for that future. Pray that they won’t lose heart. Pray for each one of them to long for that inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for them.
Dear Christian, pray your suffering friends will count it all joy even in the midst of the trials of various kinds they are experiencing. Pray that God would help them to fix their eyes on Jesus, who endured so much because of the very joy that was set before him. Pray that their hope will be certain, that they will have an assurance of their future salvation when Christ returns. Pray that they will know that God is for them and not against them. Pray that this hope will help them bear present hardship and trials patiently.
- Pray for their Love for all the Saints
One of the things Paul had heard about believers in Christ in Colossae was the love they had for all the saints. These christians love for one another was so great that it was reported all over the world. Here is the kind of love you can pray for your hurting and suffering friends. Yes, pray that God will keep them loving the gospel, that He will keep them loving the Lord with all their heart, their soul and their mind.
Please also pray for the hurting christians to keep loving one another. Pray for hurting couples to love one another. Pray for hurting parents to love their children. Pray for suffering children to love their parents. Pray that all will keep on loving their family members. In addition, pray that they will keep on loving their neighbors and loving their church family. Pray they will love those who show up to support them in their suffering, and they will also love those who don’t show up for one reason or another. Pray that your suffering and hurting friends will love everyone, just as Christ has loved them.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. — 1 Corinthians 13:13
Here are three important things to pray for your hurting friends: For their Faith, Hope and Love. Here are three things you can pray for all those going through hard and difficult times, as these things will sustain the Christian through all manner of sorrows and suffering, and through the torments of despair. Like a three-legged stool, these three things (Faith, hope and Love) are jointly needed for balance. Pray each of these things for your hurting and suffering friend today!