Praying Scripture for Difficult People

Hi friends! This month is part three of our praying Scripture series! I have been sitting with the idea of compiling Scriptures and prayers to pray for the difficult people in our lives for well over a month now. We all have people who rub us the wrong way, whose Enneagram number doesn’t jive with ours, who don’t seem to like us much, or who are seemingly impossible to get along with, right? Now, certainly we are never those people to others. (I’m completely joking. I am 100% that person to several people, I have no doubt.)

As I was compiling Scriptures, many of the ones that came to me had more to do with my own heart toward people and much, much less to do with the other people themselves. This is probably no accident because frankly, we cannot change anyone else; we can really only control how we relate and react to them. One way to react to those not-so-easy folks in our life is to respond in prayer. Like anything, it takes doing this repeatedly, and eventually it becomes a sort of muscle memory. You will find yourself instinctively praying before replying to an email or answering their phone call. Over time, I dare say that our hearts will soften toward the challenging people in our lives, and we will find it easier to love them toward Jesus.

One quick note before we begin. These prayers are geared toward those people in our lives who can be frustrating, annoying, and difficult at times. They are not meant to be a prayer prescription for people who have caused us trauma and deep emotional scars. While you certainly could pray these verses over those people as well, I would also urge you to seek out a trusted friend or therapist who can walk with you in healing as you walk with God.

Ok, ready, set, go! Below are six Scriptures and prayers that I hope will encourage you as you pray for the tough people in your life. Let’s seek to be a blessing through prayer.  

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. -Romans 10:1-4 (ESV) – (For those who do not have a relationship with Jesus)

Jesus, I am feeling ________ around {insert name} right now. I confess that I am frustrated, hurt, and even angry. Lord I ask that you would help me to remember the bigger picture though – that this person needs You as much as I do. I pray that you would lead them to Your saving grace, that you would cause my heart to overflow with the same desire that Paul had for the Israelites, and that the salvation of this person would be the overwhelming cry of my heart. Lord open their eyes to see Your grace.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  -Ephesians 3:17b-19 (NIV)

Lord, I pray for {insert name} to be rooted and established in your love. I pray that they may have power, together with all of your people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Jesus. I pray that they would know this love that surpasses knowledge, and be filled to the measure of all of the fullness of God. I pray the same for myself, that in being filled with Your love, I may be able to better love {insert name}.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34a (NIV) Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”     -Acts 7:60 (NIV)

Lord, you know what this person has done and You alone know their hearts. Even if they know what they are doing on some level, would any of us ever sin if we really grasped how it grieves Your heart? In that spirit, I pray as You, Jesus, and Stephen did. Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing. Please do not hold this sin against them. Please strengthen me as I seek to forgive as you forgave me.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Jesus, Matthew 5:43-48 (NIV)

Lord, I confess that it is just so much easier to love those who I “click” with and who are easy for me to be around. My initial response to someone who is unkind or challenging is to __________________ (lash out, be passive aggressive, gossip, etc etc). Please forgive me. Jesus You have loved me at my absolute worst. Please help me to love {insert name}. Show me how I can serve them, how I can pray for them, and how I can make their day even just a little bit better. I pray that you would bless them and that you would use me to do so as well.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Jesus, Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? -Psalm 130:3 (NIV)

Lord, I am saved by grace alone through your unmerited forgiveness. If you kept a record of sins, who could stand? In the same way, help me to release the list of wrongs done to me and forgive {insert name}. I pray also that, if they do not already know Your saving grace and forgiveness, that they would begin to, even this day.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.          -I Timothy 1:15-16 (ESV)

Lord, I say along with Paul that I am the worst of sinners. I thank you for the mercy shown to me. Thank You for displaying your immense patience in saving me. Jesus help me never to forget that just like everyone else, and specifically like {insert name}, I am imperfect too. Help me walk in that knowledge so as to not be overly frustrated or reactive when others wrong me. Lord help me to display Your patience and grace and may others see You through me.

Bonus! Free Printable for Journaling Your Scripture Prayers!

6 thoughts on “Praying Scripture for Difficult People”

  1. I am sitting in my house, waiting for my husband to come home so I can be there for him. He has had a hard day with a really difficult person that is in his life that won’t change. I was praying to God that I didn’t know what to do, how to support him, what to say. I ran out of words to pray, but something urged me to get on Pinterest. Odd I know. The first thing that popped up was your pin for this. I am saving it after praying it myself and am going to pray this with him tonight. Thank you thank you thank you.

    Your Story Matters.


    1. Jessie! I am so sorry that your husband is going through that! I’m so glad this was encouraging for you! I was recently praying for someone in my life that I just felt a weird distance with and it was super awkward. Literally this weekend the relationship took a 180. It was so strange but such a picture of God on display! He can change circumstances but He can also change is in them and give us His peace and strength! Praying for you guys and your situation right now!


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