How to Pray for Someone Who Has Hurt You—A Lot

Updated on January 12, 2020
SylviaSky profile image

Sylvia Sky is a widely published author of books and articles about spiritual matters.

...And You're Not Ready to Forgive and Forget

When a man I loved left me, I couldn't hate him -- when you truly love someone you wish him the best. But I felt terribly shocked and wounded. His occasional calls gave me false hopes and only prolonged my grief. Desperate for a way to cope with the burden of my pain, I remembered Luke 6:28: "bless those that curse you; pray for those that mistreat you."

"Praying for him" did not mean begging God to turn back the clock and make everything all right. That didn't help me heal. It meant finding a way to pray that God would bless and keep this man, and light his way. Praying for him took my focus off of myself and balanced things out. I needed it, and he needed it.

Then I looked for advice on how to pray even while the very thought of this person still cut me and I was not yet ready to forgive or forget. It was left to me to humbly offer these suggestions:

How Prayers for Another Will Help You

Praying for my loved one broke up my constant pleading and bargaining with God and let God get a word in edgewise. He informed me: "This person is in the dark, and must find his own way out. You cannot help him." This was painful to hear, but now I knew better what to pray for.

Also, God felt closer. I will never forget that while I explained the breakup to a friend and tried to hide my tears, she told me, "You are one who loves much." Whatever else you believe about God, you and God have love in common.

Set Yourself Up for Healing

While praying for the one who hurt you, avoid picturing him. Put away the photos. Don't relive memories good or bad. These inspire grief, not prayer. Picture not his face or self but the God in him, the divine spark given to us all. I saw this as a chunk of gold or a wink of light. This helped me see that this man still had goodness in him and needed my prayers.

Be busy while you pray. Lying awake at night or kneeling alone in a chapel will only summon up memories, anger, and sobs that might be natural but keep your wound from healing. Sweep the sidewalk, take a walk with a camera, practice free-throws with the children. Just get active, and then pray, when you think of it, "God, please bless him (or her)," or "Help me understand."

Keep these prayers short and simple. "God, please protect her," "God, please help him quit drinking," "Dear God, let him find peace" -- those are sufficient.

Get "above" it. Imagine you are viewing the earth from above, as if it were a dollhouse with the roof cut away. There you are, and, miles away, there he (or she) is, perhaps watching TV, working, sleeping, dating someone else. From this distance you both look a lot like the rest of humanity. This perspective encourages an open heart and compassion so you can stand to ask for blessings on the person whose behavior tempts you to hate.

Pray with just one other person. Grief and resentment are natural but keep you spiritually isolated. Ask one person to pray with you. Prayer circles just do not seem to work for this; you get sympathy, but later when you are alone, the pain returns in full force. It doesn't matter if you pray with one family member or one stranger for blessings on the lost one; it just helps.

Yes, You Have a Future

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Don't Pray for These Right Now

Don't pray for this person to change, or for their conversion. These things are in God's hands and/or in the hands of the individual. Prayer is powerful but it does not make the phone ring.

You think prayer will make the phone ring? We often treat prayer as if it were a lever we pull to get divine favors. God is generous, but not an ATM machine. Sometimes prayers are granted and other times not. Rest assured that God hears all prayers. In your pain or loneliness, do your best -- although it's hard -- to thank God even for one tiny thing that you do have rather than what you have lost.

Pray for grace, not vengeance. Hoping that someone disappoints or hurts your loved one just as badly as he or she hurt you is very human, but wishing evil on others poisons your own spirit. Pray for grace, grace, and more grace.

Don't "expect a miracle." Your expectations -- especially when you are grieving or resentful -- might not line up with God's will or what is best for you or another. To expect something is to be passive, a taker. Pray for a miracle, but don't "expect" it.

© 2010 Sylvia Sky


Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    2 years ago

    Thank you, this article is helpful.

  • profile image

    Divya purohit 

    3 years ago

    yes very true what shilpa said because what about our sacrifices we made for that guy we got nothing but pain if god had to seprate us why he decided us to meet such aperson in life he enjoying doing all wrong woh thats justice than what to say

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    If some loved-one hurts you,you fight back asking reason for his/her being rude ... this is natural.

    when our loved-one keeps hurting us unjustly,we speak to the very person straightforwardly about his behavior...and that how much we care about him and about all the misunderstanding created so for...

    So after trying everything to 'pull' that person back,still he wants to leave us,let him/her leave and has his own ways in life...with a thought that you were not destined for each other.

    while praying to GOD to let him/her show the truth with a belief that HE will show him!!!..and that if the person deserves payback for grieving my heart and making my life miserable then let that person have taste of his own medicine.

    If we have all if this with a thought of JUSTICE ..then it will heal your soul.

    Definitely !!!...its my experience.

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    I cannot find a good deliverance church here in NY. I have had torment following me for 7 years in which people above me or below are harassing me with sever noises which has caused damage to my ears .It has caused homelessness for the past 3 years and it continues in the homeless shelters even though I have been moved around 10 times.I cant find work for 5 years even though I have a degree,My son is lonely and cannot connect to others and is failed his subjects in School at 22. I my self is lonely and cannot find good caring christian friendships nor a mate and I am 52 and tried volunteering ,.I read the word, ask the lord into my life, and still me and my son suffer, Help!

  • profile image

    vonda g nelson 

    7 years ago

    lol @who knows? hoping a female would still talk to him......

  • SylviaSky profile imageAUTHOR

    Sylvia Sky 

    7 years ago from USA

    Dear Vonda G., it is the Bible that says "Bless those who curse you," "Turn the other cheek," "Forgive seventy times seven," and other difficult wisdom. In desperate times when I can find no solution I turn to the Bible although its advice is often counter to what we would normally call our best interests. What the guy wanted when he phoned? Who knows? Hoping a female would still talk to him?

  • EuroNinila profile image

    Fotinoula Gypsyy 

    7 years ago from NYC BABY

    This was a very useful for this period of time in my life. It doesn't involve a man, it's family members and I can't hate them because I love them but I will pray for them because they need some kind of higher power in their lives! Thanks for sharing!

  • profile image

    vonda g nelson 

    7 years ago

    Maybe I shouldn't be commenting on this hub, but I will. I can't even fathom much less understand how you would pray for someone who would curse you, bring harm to and despitely use you. Do you think it was the desperation that made you search for a way out as you mentioned in the beginning of this hub. btw: What could he possibly want that made him call you?!?!?!

  • Deborah Brooks profile image

    Deborah Brooks Langford 

    7 years ago from Brownsville,TX

    wow what a great hub.. Prayer it the best thing to do.. Let God handle your battles.. I say.. I will share this wonderful Hub on Facebook on prayer page

    God Bless you


  • profile image


    7 years ago

    When ever there is a breakup, people have this annoying habit of saying, "God knows best. He knows this guy or gal is not good for you and hence you are not together".

    As time passed by I started to feel more and more like it's what we say to ourselves and make ourselves believe so as to pacify ourselves.

    A girl who loves a guy intensely and immensely when separated from him...if God has separated her from him because God knew she is still single and lost all trust in everyone and everything and has decided to remain single all her life. What kind of role is god playing now?!

    If God really knew what was best for her and so forcibly pulled the guy away from her, how come God hasn't with equal force put someone else back in her life even though she is resisting, to make her happy?

    When God can pull someone away from one's life using so much force because HE knows it's not good for the person, how come people talk about freewill and say if you need someone in your life you have to put yourself out there?

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    thanks for this message..

    it really help me

    i dont care what negative do people say..

    but yes only GOD knows what will gonna happen..

    but still i believe that something good is going to happen after this bad feelings i have..

    i already asked apology but still he is very hard to please..

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Dear Sylvia,

    Its not easy to forgive and forget, as you grow older and realize that the hurt is terrible for no fault of yours it becomes worse. May be a little bit of hatred and grudge is a good thing to be kept locked away so that you realize what the person who hates and has hurt you has done to you and you wont let anyone try and do that to you again. If you forget and forgive easily it wont help you to survive in this big bad world.

  • SylviaSky profile imageAUTHOR

    Sylvia Sky 

    8 years ago from USA

    Joe1977, I understand you completely. Glad to have helped you.

  • joe1977 profile image


    8 years ago from Candler, North Carolina

    Thank you Sylvia, it was good to read again the truth my heart already knew. I've been hanging on to so much resentment for a long time now and it's made me sooo spiritually sick and then mentally/physically sick all the while my heart has just been growing cold. Every time I'd realize it and think about working on letting go, I'd just tell myself I need to hang on to this because I don't want to weaken my guard. It's always been too easy to let her back in when I knew very well that it could end disastrously again and I'd have to relive the pain all over again. Of course those are two different issues though. I'm glad I found you and your enlightenment, I feel like I can start letting go now. Thanks.

  • Enlydia Listener profile image

    Enlydia Listener 

    8 years ago from trailer in the country

    These are some very good suggestions...they have pyschological and spiritual significance.

  • sunkentreasure profile image


    8 years ago from RUIMSIG, SOUTH AFRICA


    There is no greater joy

    than loving God in prayer

    There are no riches more rewarding

    than the eternal treasures you'll receive

    Prayer brings powerful help into your life

    Prayer changes circumstances

    What a wonderful privilege we have

    to give our heart to our Father in prayer.

    © Bernard Levine

  • SylviaSky profile imageAUTHOR

    Sylvia Sky 

    8 years ago from USA

    God is not an ATM machine. God decides what He will do when He hears your prayer. Your praying and begging Him will not make the phone ring unless He wants it to. Faith is belief in the wisdom and power of God whether or not He gives us what we pray for.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    I agree with camilleterri! Prayer is powerful...Sylvia Sky you lack FAITH!

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    When I was young, it came so easy to forgive and pray for those who hurt me. I must admit it gets harder and I get tired of doing it over and over again. This is a beautiful and useful hub.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    This is the worst advise I've ever heard! Wow I thought your suppose to expect miricles from God. You are suppose to picture thoughs you pray for. Prayer is powerful enough to make a phone ring and more! There is no point on you praying for the person if you don't forgive.

  • SylviaSky profile imageAUTHOR

    Sylvia Sky 

    9 years ago from USA

    That is true!

  • Jean Bakula profile image

    Jean Bakula 

    9 years ago from New Jersey


    What a beautiful sentiment, especially at this time of year! It can seem almost impossible to forgive and forget when people we love hurt us. But trying to find that divine spark in them and ourselves to want the best for them is really a turning point. "To err is human, to forgive divine." Yes?


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