Praying the Scriptures for someone who is ill

Prayer is a universal thing.  Nearly everyone prays because we are created in God’s image as worshippers and thereby programed to speak to God.  However, not all prayer is true pray as instructed by God in the Scriptures.  James says, that we can ask and miss the target because we are not praying properly with the right motive (James 4).  Jesus says, don’t pray like this, pray like this in Matthew 6.  We need to learn how to pray.

When we pray we ought to pray according to the prescribed pattern and teaching in Scripture.  It is fine to recite the pattern we call the LORD’s prayer but we are not to pray the words over and over as if it is a magic charm or rabbits foot.  Vain repetition accomplishes nothing.  We are instructed to meditate on Scripture but that is a related but different topic that we will not address here.

So it is important that we get prayer right but don’t become anxious over getting it right.  It is important that we are obedient in the pattern, encouragement and command to pray.  Prayer is not intended to be a burden we carry but a blessing and encouragement to make our journey light.

In prayer, God gives us three helps.  First is the Scripture and that will be our main focus here.  The next is that Jesus himself is our mediator and the final is the Spirit of God.   The Scripture guides us, Christ’s work covers us in grace and presents our prayers to the Father and when we do not know how to pray, the Spirit of God prays on our behalf when we are at a loss for words.  How much divine power does it take to get a believer from grace to glory?  It involves the continual, unending, relentless intercession of the Son and the Spirit. Prayer is something we are to be obediently and joyously involved but the power in prayer is all God’s and not our own.

So how do we pray for someone who is ill or going through a medical procedure or fighting cancer.  We pray the Scriptures for them. 1 Corinthians 2:10-16 say that the Word of God is the mind of God in written form.  We have the mind of Christ in the Scriptures!

Let’s use the pattern of the LORD’s prayer in Matthew 6.  Jesus taught us to pray in this way.  Jesus’ pattern is a broad pattern in which other patterns fit.  So it would be appropriate to pray through Psalm 23 or James 1, Hebrews 11, Romans 8 as they fit within the pattern of the LORD’s prayer.  We are limited by the LORD’s prayer in that it shows us what prayer is not.  And through the LORD’s prayer we have a pattern that it would take a million life-times to explore in which all other biblical prayers fit.  Just remember that all Scripture is profitable in this way as it focuses our mind on Jesus our Savior.

Matthew 6:9-13

9 Pray then like this:

 “Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name. 

10  Your kingdom come,

your will be done, 

on earth as it is in heaven.

11  Give us this day our daily bread, 

12  and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13  And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.


Let’s say for the sake of example we are praying for Janice who is fighting cancer.

Father, we are thankful that by your mercy and grace we can come to you in prayer.  You love us and you call us to commune with you as we do with a friend.  God we know that while you call us into this relationship and into this place of praise and petition that you are not like us. 

You are the One who created all things and by you all things exist and without you nothing that is could be.  Your power is ever present.  You know all the mysteries of the universe and today you know our hearts.  May our hearts in this moment and in the hours and days to come magnify you, make much of who you are so that we might rejoice in you and that others might see your glory.  

We believe that you have never made a mistake, you are without error unending.  In this hour of uncertainty and suffering we pray that Janice will see, that I will see that others will see and believe that even in suffering nothing that you have set out to accomplish, no purpose or plan or promise will ever fail.  Because of Jesus, we know that suffering and illness can never be an indictment on the efficacy of your power, purpose, will or plan.  Press upon us an imprint the cross of Jesus upon our lives today that we might be reminded that is was through the death of the Son of God on the cross that gives us hope.  It was through your power in resurrection of the righteous Savior that brings to us grace upon grace.  You passed through the ultimate valley of death so that in our suffering we would only feel it’s shadow and never its full weight. May the message of the cross and hope of Jesus be unhindered in our suffering rather expose through our suffering it’s power.

Father, we know that what we have our life, our family, our church, our possessions our daily provision is from you.  Thank you.  Thank you for this therapy that fights this disease.  The knowledge, the doctors, this building and its staff they all come from you. If I have anything, it is from your hand.  I pray now for Janice and those others that are here today. Give them patience and staff an understanding of their total and utter dependence on you for everything and a gratitude for life, each moment that is by your sheer grace. 

Father, I pray now for Janice.  I want her to get well and in her life and in mine I want to understand more of the depth of you care.  May we trust you to do what is best and be obedient until the day we meet Jesus our Savior.  Forgive her where she falls short.  Let her experience your great grace in her weakness and sin and make her even more gracious more merciful for your glory.

Janice is experiencing weakness of her body.  Protect her, Father, in her mind and soul.  May she not give in to sin.  Keep her mind on you.  Calm her anxiety by giving her a firm trust in your care and deliver her body, from illness and mind and spirit from sin.

We pray these things in Jesus name, Amen.

We want to hear God from God when we pray.  The way that we hear from God is through the Word of God alone, so pray the Scripture and pray as the Scriptures instruct.  Remember, that prayer is something Jesus taught with great patience to his disciples.  Even so, he will be patient and gracious with you.


You are loved,

Pastor Ray Brandon