Facing an illness can be a challenging time, whether you or a person you care about is sick. After receiving bad or worrisome health news, you may be experiencing sadness, worry or anxiety. But as Catholics, we have a hope that transcends our present circumstances. In this article, we will take a closer look at Catholic prayers for health and Bible verses about health problems to encourage and strengthen you during your health-related challenges.
Why Should Catholics Pray for Health and Healing?
There are many reasons to offer up Catholic prayers for healing. Here are four scenarios to pray for good health.
Cancer is a sensitive topic for many, regardless of whether they have personal experience facing it themselves or seeing a loved one face it. Cancer is a serious disease that often leads to drastic changes and unexpected developments. It can leave you feeling out of control. But in those moments, you can lean closer to God, who controls everything.
Catholic prayers for cancer healing can be a powerful first step toward deepening your faith in your Creator as you or a loved one faces cancer. With God we can handle anything, including a cancer diagnosis.
Undergoing surgery is a time when Catholics must put their unwavering faith in God. The days leading up to surgery often involve angst, and the days after surgery can include a difficult road to recovery. In both instances, faith in God’s power and protection will get you through.
Ask God to give you peace as you or a loved one prepares for surgery. Ask that God would guide the doctor’s hand. And say your Catholic prayers for healing after surgery for a quick recovery, putting your faith in Him every step of the way.
Healers and Caregivers
Doctors, caregivers and healers need your prayers regularly as they work to save lives around the world every day. They play a crucial role in the recovery of sick people in their times of need, from common ailments to life-threatening conditions.
When you pray to God for healing, He often answers through the work and skill of doctors, physicians and caregivers. Those individuals need your prayers so they can continue performing everyday miracles through their hard work, skill and determination.
Those Sick and Near Death
Anyone who is sick and near death needs our prayers most of all. These individuals are facing the end of their lives, which is a time that can include great deals of pain and anxiety.
Everyone has different experiences in their final moments. Some are surrounded by family. Others are alone. Whatever the case, these people need the peace and love of Christ that transcends even the most difficult circumstances. As David says in Psalms 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff comfort me.”
Bible Verses About Health and Healing
Sometimes, the best way to say a prayer for health and protection is to root your prayers in the Word of God. Here are some Bible verses about health and healing to read and memorize as you move forward:
3 John 1:2
“Beloved, I hope you are prospering in every respect and are in good health, just as your soul is prospering.” 3 John 1:2.
Even John the disciple of Jesus made claims of hope for the health of his loved ones. John knew that the believers he was writing to were prospering spiritually, which was a good thing. But John wanted more than spiritual health for those believers. He wanted them to experience physical health, too. You can share this quote with others as a way to send well-wishes for their spiritual and bodily health.
“Do not fear: I am with you;
do not be anxious: I am your God.
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10.
This promise of God to Israel over 2,000 years ago can encourage you today as you face your challenging health situation. The same God is with you in your current struggle, and His promise to help and uphold you is one you can rest in. With these promises in mind, you can put aside anxiety and fill yourself with the strength of God’s Word.
“Heal me, Lord, that I may be healed;
save me, that I may be saved,
for you are my praise.” Jeremiah 17:14.
When you ask God to heal you or a loved one, you should combine your request with praise to Him. Jeremiah gives us a good example of this mentality in this passage. Besides asking for healing, Jeremiah claims that his reason for making this request to God is because He is his praise. Let God be your praise as well, and make your requests known to Him.
“He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.’” Mark 5:34.
As Catholics, we believe Jesus has the power to heal the sick. We see this throughout His earthly ministry, and this passage is one such account. In this instance, Jesus heals a woman who has been suffering from a serious health condition for many years.
In the account, the woman believes that simply touching Jesus’ garment will restore her health. Jesus tells her that her faith in His power has saved her, and then He cures her malady. May this passage inspire you to keep your faith in God as the one who can ultimately work wonders in your health affliction.
“…and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up.” James 5:15.
Continuing the theme of faith found in the previous passage, James mentions that the prayer of faith will save the sick person. It’s important to remember that the Lord is the one who will ultimately raise up the one who is sick.
We must remember this truth while also submitting to God’s will. He has a plan for your life, and part of faith is accepting any outcome as part of God’s plan. As you seek God’s will, cling to your faith, praying that God would intervene in your health situation.
“You shall serve the Lord, your God; then He will bless your food and drink, and I will remove sickness from your midst…” Exodus 23:25.
Part of submission to God’s will is humbly serving Him and doing what He asks you to do in your life. This includes obeying His commands and following His will through the leading of the Holy Spirit, even during periods of illness. If you want to pray that God would heal your sickness, the first step is to align yourself with His commands so your faith in God and your relationship with Him will grow, whatever the outcome.
“Pleasing words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the taste and invigorating to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24.
A kind word can go a long way toward helping someone feel better, whatever their health situation. As you pray Catholic prayers for healing others, seek to do more than just pray. Offer help as you are able, including both physical and emotional help. Share words of encouragement with the sick whenever you get the chance. These words can give them an encouraging boost, which can be exactly what they needed to keep fighting another day toward recovery.
“Come, let us return to the Lord,
For it is He who has torn, but He will heal us;
He has struck down, but He will bind our wounds.” Hosea 6:1.
God is all-powerful and can strike down as well as heal. As we see in Job 1:21, the Lord is the one who gives and takes away. But in either instance, His name is worthy of praise, honor and blessing. When you are healthy, praise God. When you are suffering an illness, praise Him still. Then you can experience the truth of the Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13 — “I have the strength for everything through Him Who empowers me.”
“For indeed, neither herb nor application cured them, but your all-healing word, O Lord!” Wisdom 16:12.
Modern medical advancements have helped heal people in seemingly miraculous ways. God often uses the means of the day to heal people, even when all hope seems lost by the estimates of doctors and physicians. But as Catholics, God calls us to put our faith in Him first, above even the scientific or medical statements of the day.
God can do anything, even things that leave doctors baffled. These are miracles of God. Keep your eyes on the Word of God. Store His words in your heart to remember during the most difficult times. And in any circumstance, remember that God is ultimately the One who can bring healing and peace to you in your time of illness.
Saints to Pray to for Health and Healing
Many saints of the faith have set amazing examples and offered incredible teachings for people facing health situations. Here are five saints whose lives can inspire you as you remember them in your Catholic prayers for healing the sick.
St. Peregrine Laziosi
St. Peregrine Laziosi’s lifetime was marked by more than his preaching and his holiness — he had a strong commitment to caring for the sick and poor. Tradition holds that he was able to miraculously multiply grain and wine when shortages struck his area of Italy. Many people would also come to him for his sound advice and wisdom.
Later in his life, he developed cancer in his leg. His doctor told him he was unable to save the leg, and that he would need to amputate it. St. Peregrine spent the night before his surgery in deep prayer and received a vision of Jesus Christ coming down from the cross and touching his leg. The next day, the doctor found no sign of cancer in his leg, and St. Peregrine went on to live many more healthy years.
Catholics venerate St. Peregrine Laziosi as the patron saint of people suffering from AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening conditions. If you are suffering from a serious health concern, remember St. Peregrine Laziosi in your prayers.
St. Raphael the Archangel
The name Raphael derives from the Hebrew root meaning, “to heal” or “God has healed.” As one of only a few angels mentioned by name in the Bible, Raphael is one whom Catholics pray to for intercession on their behalf when their desperate health situation needs divine intervention.
The book of Tobit is one of the earliest mentions of St. Raphael the Archangel. The book’s narrative recounts him walking on earth in human form, acting as a physician and worker of miracles. One of the final miracles is his healing of Tobit’s blindness using a mere fish.
Then there is the story of the Pool of Bethesda in John 5. Catholic tradition holds that St. Raphael was the angel who would stir the waters, healing the first person who would enter the water after it was stirred.
Today, Catholics revere St. Raphael the Archangel as the patron saint of the blind, nurses, medical practitioners and physicians. Remember St. Raphael in your prayers when you are in need of divine healing from God.
St. Lidwina fell while ice skating as a child and suffered an injury that left her bedridden for the rest of her life. More than this, she suffered pain regularly. Despite these hardships, she maintained a positive attitude while engaging in constant prayer. Today, Catholics venerate her as the patron saint of chronic pain.
Her courage in the face of difficult times and devotion to her relationship with God continues to inspire Catholics. With her example, you can be brave in the midst of pain and offer the outcome up to the Lord. We remember Jesus, who suffered for the whole human race on the cross while submitting to the will of the Father. Remember St. Lidwina when you feel burdened from illness or injury.
Little is known about St. Jude, whom Catholics today honor as the patron saint of lost causes. From Scripture, we do know he was one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. Catholics who remember St. Jude in their prayers for the hopeless claim that his intercession is powerful, leading to outcomes that only God could provide.
You can remember St. Jude in your prayers when all hope is lost. St. Jude walked with Jesus, and his life and testimony can remind you to follow Jesus as well — the ultimate example of caring for those who need it most.
Send Your Prayer Intentions to Catholic World Mission
At Catholic World Mission, we rely on the generosity of our donors to make a difference in communities in need worldwide. Donations help us send medical supplies around the world, impacting people who are sick and in need of medical intervention. We humbly ask that you donate to our cause today to help those who need it most.
We would also love to pray for you. Send us your prayer intentions online and we will offer up a prayer for better health on your behalf.
Deacon Rick Medina is the Executive Director of Catholic World Mission and oversees the management of all of Catholic World Mission's projects in over 35 countries. He was ordained a deacon of the archdiocese of Atlanta in 2013. He currently serves at All Saints Catholic Church in Dunwoody, Georgia, and is active in several ministries, including RCIA, baptism preparation, Life Teen, Altar Server group, Grief Share, and Adult Faith Formation.