Stop saying you will pray for me

After spending 15 years in the Bible belt, I have heard my fair share of “Prayin for ya.”

Don’t get me wrong, my faith is the most important part of my life. That statement though, which I used to habitually say, is cringeworthy to me now.

We all know SAYING and DOING are too separate things, and I think we can agree that this saying is now over said but under utilized.

Let me give you some context real quick.

Our family focus word for 2020 is HEALING.

Part of healing is to come to terms with what you are healing from:

I suffered from a life-threatening chronic illness called Hyperemesis Gravardium for the majority of 2019. It was a constant battle to survive and to bring my baby earth-side.

It was in these moments/months that I quickly realized how much I hated the phrase “I’ll pray for you.”

The majority of us have forgotten how to just sit with someone in their grief. To not rush past it with phrases that make ourselves feel better, like “God is in control” and “It will get better!”

Before I proceed, literally EVERYTHING I am saying I have learned by mistake. This is all said with grace upon grace.

Why we should ditch “I’ll pray for you”

  • It shuts down the conversation. It doesn’t leave the opportunity for someone to continue expressing their grief.
  • It creates distance. I will pray for you from over here, for like maybe 30 seconds until I get distracted by an incoming text, and you stay over there. You’re welcome. That’s how I often used it anyway…
  • It can feel like your pain is being dismissed. It’s the same thing as someone saying “Well…God is in control” when your world is literally crumbling around you.
    Yes, that is true. But this SUCKS and I need you to help me.

What can we say instead?

First, it’s actually better to DO instead of SAY, but I am getting ahead of myself.

If you are currently in the place where prayers are the only thing you can offer, not that actual prayer isn’t enough, then repeat after me:

“Tell me how I can be praying for you, and can I please pray with you right now?”

If that’s too uncomfortable for you (totally get it) then text your prayers to them.

I can’t tell you how meaningful it was for me to have a friend who wrote out the most beautiful outpourings of her heart. To read her crying out to God on my behalf as I craddled my toilet from vomiting for the 17th time. It blessed me to my core.

Meet needs whenever you can

Prayer is incredibly powerful. What’s even more powerful is living out your prayers for others.

Instead of asking for someone to come along and help them…HELP THEM.
Instead of asking for God to encourage them, be His hands and feet and encourage them.

Drop meals off. Say you’re going to the grocery store and want to pick up whatever they need. Give them dates you’re free and offer to help with childcare.


When you DO life with someone going through a tough time, it helps them substantially during recovery.

The last thing people in recovery have energy for is to constantly explain themselves. They can’t pretend like nothing happened, but they can’t keep tapping into the pain either.

The people they turn to are the people that were there. The people that sat with them in their grief without any expectations attached.

So let’s all stop accidentally minimizing pain and partner in each other’s healing.

Are you with me?