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Six Prayers for Estranged Family Members

Aubrey Sampson

Pastor, Author, Podcast Cohost
Updated Mar 07, 2024
Six Prayers for Estranged Family Members

While boundaries with toxic family members are healthy and good, one way we can continue to love our estranged family members while remaining separated from them is through prayer.

Brought to you by Christianity.com

Whether it’s due to a tragic event or years of pent-up hurt and unforgiveness, many of us have family members who are estranged from one another. That sibling who hasn’t spoken to you in years. That parent you haven’t wanted to reach out to. That uncle you need to avoid for your own health. 

This can be a wrestle, emotionally and spiritually. It hurts when family members stop speaking to one another. We all want the happy family dreams we see on our screens. We all want unity and family memories, family celebrations, etc. But so often, reality does not quite measure up to the fantasy. 

This is even more complicated when your family members begin to feel like enemies when they are out to slander you or cut you off relationally. This brings up so much heartache and pain. 

While boundaries with those toxic family members are healthy and good, one way we can continue to love our estranged family members while remaining separated from them is through prayer.

But let’s be honest – when family-drama emotions are heightened, or anger is ignited when it all feels deeply unfair and hurtful – you might not know how to pray. This is when we can turn to the scriptures to find wisdom. 

Psalm 41, in fact, a song by King David, was written about a season when David’s enemies were rising against him. He cries out to God for comfort in his distress and speaks honestly and openly about the pain of being attacked by a close community.  Though he was not necessarily writing about estranged family members, it’s a very relatable passage of scripture. 

Here are six ways to pray for your estranged family members from Psalm 41

  1. God, bless my family member and their loved ones. Deliver them when they are in trouble. God, protect and preserve them; count them among the blessed. 

“Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the Lord delivers them in their times of trouble. The Lord protects and preserves them—they are counted among the blessed in the land...”- Psalm 41: 1, 2

2. Lord, sustain them when they are sick, restore them when they are ill. 
“The Lord sustains them on their sickbeds and restores them from their bed of illness. – Psalm 41: 3 

3. Jesus, have mercy on us both and stop any false accusations or slander that is destroying our relationship. 
“I said, “Have mercy on me, Lord; heal me, for I have sinned against you.  My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die and his name perish?” When one of them comes to see me, he speaks falsely while his heart gathers slander;
then he goes out and spreads it around. – Psalm 41: 4-6

4. God, I am deeply sad and angry that they have turned against me. Heal my heart and theirs. Bring our relationship to full restoration if that is your will. 
“Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turnedagainst me. But may you have mercy on me, Lord; raise me up, that I may repay them. – Psalm 41: 9,10

5. In the meantime, the Spirit of God transforms them (and me) into people of integrity. Uphold and set us all in your presence forever, even though we are not currently in each other’s presence. 
“Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever.”- Psalm 41: 12

6. I praise you, oh God, your love is everlasting, even when human love fails.
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.” – Psalm 41: 13

What you’ll be surprised to discover, as you pray this Psalm over your estranged family member(s), is this – though the relationship might not change or be reconciled, your heart will soften and be transformed. 

God will meet you in the frustration of it all and invite you into a newer, deeper family relationship with him. 


Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Pheelings Media

Aubrey SampsonAubrey Sampson is a pastor, author, speaker, and cohost of the podcast, Nothing is Wasted. She is the author of Big Feeling Days, The Louder Song, Overcomer, and her newest release, Known. Find and follow her @aubsamp on Instagram. Go to aubreysampson.com for more. 

This article originally appeared on Christianity.com. For more faith-building resources, visit Christianity.com. Christianity.com