How to Pray for Someone Who is Afraid

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There are many real things to fear; so, what is the best way to help a friend who's afraid? Find tips and a free printable here to help.

I’m not a huge fan of the kind of sayings people put on church signs.

You know. Things like…

Don’t tell God how big your fear is, tell your fear how big your God is.

F.E.A.R. – False Evidence Appearing Real

Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.

Although there may be some truth in quotes like these they sound trite to…

the parent who received a hard diagnosis about their child.
the spouse who is suddenly widowed.
the child whose parents are divorcing.
the employee whose boss just gave them a pink slip.
the family who can’t pay their bills.

Although there are countless verses that tell us not to be afraid . . . there are lots of things in life that are understandably frightening.

One of my favorite quotes is: “It’s not the unknown I’m afraid of, it’s the known unknown.”

That’s truth. You and are legitimately afraid of evil in this sinful world.

It makes me wonder if we couldn’t be doing a better job of reaching out to people who are afraid. And there are more of them than you think.

I often write about God delivering me from fear, but I have to tell you . . . not one of the above quotes would have helped me during my fear-filled years.

My first memory is one of fear.

I still picture my two-year-old self standing next to my grandmother watching out the window as paramedics loaded my mother into an ambulance. Until then, my little world was my parents and my grandparents and aunt who lived upstairs. But with everyone working and going to school – I had to stay with my great-grandparents until my mom was well again.

I learned that day . . . life can change in an instant. And I was afraid.

Afraid of the dark. Afraid to spend the night away from home. Afraid something bad would happen to my parents. Afraid of being alone.

Once fear is a close companion it doesn’t leave because someone says . . . don’t be afraid or you need bigger faith. Frightened people know that and believe me, they’d give up fear if they could.

There are many real things to fear; so, what is the best way to help a friend who's afraid? Find tips and a free printable here to help.

What to do instead.

  1. Listen and Care – Don’t tell them not to be afraid. In fact, sometimes the best thing to say is, “I’m sorry you’re going through this. Would you like to talk about it.” Then listen with a heart that cares.
  2. Pray – Offer to pray for them. Better yet, offer to pray with them. Jesus understands fear. Spend some time with Him in Gethsemane. (Matthew 26) When He was afraid He went to His Father.

   So, pray with and for your fear-filled friend to the One who is able to give them peace.

I didn’t believe God could be greater than my fear until He was all I had through:

  • the loss of love.
  • Rev’s long illness.
  • his life threatening surgery.
  • my mother’s traumatic fall and death weeks later.
  • our first grandson’s birth at 24 weeks

The last three things all happened within five months. Our friends started calling us a “high-maintenance prayer family.”

And I learned something through those hard experiences.

God really was and is greater than my fear. 

He was my source of strength. My peace that was beyond understanding. My hope that in every circumstance He was with me.

God made and makes His presence known in my life. 

But not through some quip on a church sign or picture on Pinterest.

God did it. He gave me strength and peace as people prayed. As I prayed.

Who is afraid? Who needs your prayer today? 

Pray for them. Scripture over them.

Here are some Scripture verses you can pray for them…

Jesus, help ___________ to know You are always with them even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20

Help __________ to know that You, Lord God, will go with them. You will not leave them or forsake them. Deuteronomy 31:6

Father, be my friend’s hiding place; protect them in this time of trouble and surround them with songs of victory. Guide them along the best path for life. Advise them and watch over them. Psalm 32:7–8

Give _________ Your peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. Peace that will guard their heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Father, You are the perfect love that casts out fear. Thank you. 1 John 4:18

Father, be _________’s refuge and strength. Be their ever-present help in this time of trouble. Psalm 46:1

So, pray these for yourself. Pray them for your friends. Pray that God will make His presence known and give the peace only is able to give.

Here’s free printable of these prayers so you’ll have them whenever you need them.

CMB Verse Cards
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15 thoughts on “How to Pray for Someone Who is Afraid

  1. Hi Deb, fear does seem to be something that many of us struggle with from time to time. Thank you for sharing suggestions on how to pray for and with others who are in a place where fear is a rather large companion. Like you, I had fear in my earliest memories–fear of abandonment–is the most significant one.

    Praying when I feel afraid is helpful.


  2. Love this post about how to pray for those who are afraid, Deb!
    And, the prayer cards are a wonderful addition.
    I’m sharing this one all around today.
    Hope you have a blessed day~

  3. Thank you for the printable. That will be very helpful. You are so right. Many of us struggle with fear and being told not to be afraid rarely helps. It’s a heart change that we can pray for. God is the one who takes away fear.

  4. Another beautiful post, Deb! I love the prayer cards and printed them out already! Praying scripture is so powerful. It is such a good way to teach children to pray as well. I’m going to put these cards in their lunch boxes and tell them to insert the name of someone or even themselves. Love it!

  5. Such wise and helpful advice for praying for those who are afraid. We all have fears we face from time to time, but I thank the Lord that He never lets us go through them alone.
    Blessings, Deb!

  6. Excellent way to incorporate the words of God into prayers. There’s nothing we can say that will be greater that what He has already said! Thanks!

  7. Deb this is so so timely for me as I get up after a night in the ER with someone I love very much. He’s okay-ish. He lives with multiple chronic illnesses that there are no known treatments for. We face the unknown together everyday. So much of what you said here soothes my soul. Saving and sharing- I’ll be reading those verses over and over! Thank you! #Thought Provoking Thursday

  8. Your words ring true because you’ve been there. Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned in the hard times. The faithfulness of God is certainly worth celebrating.

  9. Hi Deb!
    This continues to be such a wonderfully loving and grace-filled series on prayer! Bless you for that. Too seldom do those who need our prayers receive that. They more often hear a cliche or “I’ll pray for you” while they continue on without really listening to what is happening with the person. Well done, my friend, well done!!

  10. I am also not a fan of trite sayings on church signs, Deb. Thanks for sharing a practical approach to helping those facing fear. The verses (and printable) are very helpful!

  11. I just prayed through these verses for a friend who had surgery this week. Thanks for making it so easy to do, Deb! “God really was and is greater than my fear.” I have to remind myself of this often…

  12. Deb, thank you for sharing this. Many (me included) never really think about what others are fearful of and how we can help them. I needed this encouragement to be a better friend to those around me. Thanks for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

  13. People always mean well, but I agree those things don’t do anything. I understand why friends didn’t know what to say to me when my Mom died, and then Grandma 8 months later. it was awkward and they knew words couldn’t help. Prayer really is the best way to help someone!

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