God Moves through the Prayers of His People
It's definitely helpful to pray for your hurting friends. One step further would be this: Rather than just tell them you’re praying for them—which is, of course, a good thing—pray aloud for them in their presence. If your hurting friend has a prayer request, just stop what you’re doing right there, even at a restaurant or at a church service or on the phone with them, and pray for God’s healing and grace in their life. It’s incredibly encouraging for the hurting to hear others pray for them. Read scripture with them and pray back God’s promises for them. I’ve also had people in our church email me the contents of their prayers for me. I’m so encouraged when I open up my email from Erin or Julie or Sue—it’s a joy to know that people are praying for me.
It’s also helpful to remind your hurting friends that God does indeed move through the prayers of his people. Remind them of God’s power in prayer. This is how he’s sovereignly chosen to work through his people. He’s ordained the prayers of his people to be the conduit of his action in the world.
At a pastors conference a few years ago, it wasn’t the keynote talks that were so helpful to me but a pastor's wife named Becky. She found me in the lobby and explained to me how God healed her of a similar illness and she encouraged me not to give up praying. I remember walking back to my hotel room that night and I realized that I had actually stopped praying for healing. As the years passed by and after I had had surgery after surgery on my arms, I just gave up praying for healing. I just settled into my new reality of my painful existence. Becky’s story was just the jolt that I needed to remind me that God is all-powerful and could heal me. God moves through the prayers of his people.