I’ll never forget how my sister described the feeling she experienced while she waited for her heart transplant. She had so many prayer warriors lifting her up that she said she “felt surrounded by a bubble of peace and grace.” In the midst of a time when it made no sense to feel calm, the prayers of others kept her grounded.
As we talked about this experience in light of my book, Prayers of Hope for Caregivers, she realized that she felt surrounded and protected by a prayer bubble, but so often caregivers find themselves outside that circle. Well-meaning friends and prayer groups focus so much energy praying for the sick, but they forget the person walking alongside them–the person pouring out every last bit of energy while trying to hold it all together.
Today I want to encourage you to remember that person beside the hospital bed–the mom going to appointment after appointment with a child with special needs. The spouse faithfully feeding and caring for the one who just suffered a stroke. The adult child who has opened up his home for an aging parent, giving up not only part of his house but sacrificing an independent schedule too.
They desperately need our prayers.
Sometimes praying for a caregiver’s needs can be overwhelming. Especially if you’ve never filled that role, you may feel inadequate to know how to pray.
The good news is that God knows each need. You can pray a simple prayer, stating, “God, You know the need. Would You make Yourself real to my caregiving friend?” Then trust that He is listening and moving.
But you may find that you still want to pray in a more tangible way—to lift up the caregiver in specifics rather than generalities.
Whether you know full details of the situation or not, there are six broad categories you can cover in prayer. These are often taught as the Six Dimensions of Wellness, but they can be a powerful roadmap for prayer as well.
1. Spiritual Needs
- Ask God to strengthen your friend’s spirit as he or she gives care.
- Pray that he or she would be drawn to seek answers in God’s Word, rather than drowning alone in exhaustion or despair, and pray for opportunities and resources to connect with God in the midst of a busy schedule.
- Lift up the caregiver’s prayer life, asking God to make His presence felt as your friend cries out to Him.
2. Social Needs
- Pray that your caregiving friend wouldn’t feel isolated or alone and that he or she would show grace to those who may unknowingly say or do hurtful things.
- Lift up your friend’s relationship with his or her care recipient, asking God to bring peace and unity.
- Ask for protection over his or her family and home life as it’s turned upside down during this time.
- Pray that even if friends and family seem to disappear, the caregiver will find comfort in the presence of Christ.
3. Emotional Needs
- Lift up the caregiver’s emotions, asking God to use them as a way to draw your friend closer to Him.
- Cover any anxieties or fears in prayer, asking that God would cover your caregiving friend with His peace.
- Pray that any depression wouldn’t overwhelm your friend, but that he or she would see a sliver of light in the midst of the darkness.
- Ask that any anger or impatience would be expressed in a healthy way, and that the caregiver would direct his or her frustrations toward the Savior in earnest prayer, rather than lashing out in harmful ways.
4. Occupational Needs
- If the caregiver is juggling another job, lift up his or her work, asking God to give wisdom to prioritize tasks and peace in the process.
- Pray for provision as financial needs will rise and budgets may be strained.
- Lift up any occupations taking place inside the home, especially stay-at-home parents. Pray that your caregiving friend would be filled with peace and strength, and that family members would show grace and understanding.
5. Intellectual Needs
- Cover the caregiver’s thought life in prayer, asking that he or she would continue to nurture it in healthy ways.
- Pray for your friend to have mental strength to learn whatever is needed to better understand the care recipient’s condition.
- Ask for wisdom and clarity as the caregiver navigates medical advice and instructions.
6. Physical Needs
- Pray for strength to get through the demands of today.
- Ask that God would help your caregiving friend get restful, restorative sleep.
- Lift up any urgent needs you’re aware of, and pray that your friend will rely on God through it all.
This is just a small sampling of the needs your friend may face in his or her caregiving journey. If you want to expand on these ideas, let the broader categories be a springboard to brainstorm other needs your friend might deal with.
As you pray, remember to ask God to show you how you can demonstrate His love to your caregiving friend. Whether it’s through practical help or a word of encouragement, let God’s compassion flow through you to those who are pouring out so much. He longs to use you if you’ll let Him.
 Bill Hetler, MD, The Six Dimensions of Wellness Model (National Wellness Institute), 1976