When we pray, we are surrendering our control over a situation and asking for God’s intervention. So, praying for a loved one can be challenging because we often want specific things for that person. God invites us to pray for those things. He wants us to take our worries about a family member or our desire for a friend to Him. But at the same time, He also wants to realize that He is ultimately in control of the situation. We want what is best for that person; He knows what is best.
As we take our ideas and thoughts and desires for this person to God, we need to orient ourselves to our place in this situation. We are not God. He invites us to pray in faith, and He empowers us to move mountains in prayer (Matt 17:20). But mustering up the right amount of faith puts the ball back in our court. Ultimately, He makes the decision.
One thing that helps when we want to pray for a loved one is to look for the deeper issues that God cares most about. Whether she gets the job or not, we know from His word that God will provide. (Matthew 6:33) What and how and when are not always what we ask for. Whether the cancer comes back or stays in remission, we know that God is the ultimate healer, and he will experience that whether now or in the life to come. (Revelation 21:4) And when that friend makes choices that are harming him, we know that God is the only one can fill the internal need, so we pray for God to intervene to bring that person back to a healthy place with Him. (Philippians 4:19)
Finding scripture verses to pray for your loved one can be comforting. When chosen well, they can be a way for us to be like the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8) and give us the importunity or boldness to ask God for specific things for our family and friends. We must be careful to understand the context of the verses we choose, so we don’t insist that God be our personal genie.
Somewhere between free will and God’s sovereignty, He lets us bring our people to Him and lets us ask for Him to work and move and change things. And it is an amazing thing to be included in His work in someone’s life. It is worth every second you spend surrendering that person to God instead of worrying or trying to fix it in your own strength.
So, ask God! Have faith that He wants what is best for your friend, your family member, or anyone you love. And keep asking boldly. Then trust God. He loves that person more than you do.