When your friend is going through a tough time or battling depression, it is hard to see them struggle. There have been times when I have felt so helpless trying to encourage a friend going through a tough time. Friends help friends through difficult times. We all long for a great friend to be there and listen when we need it. But how do we return the favor? How do we encourage a friend going through a hard time?
Finding practical ways to encourage a friend can be a hard thing to think of, in the moment. So, I compiled 15 Free Encouraging Bible Verses for download.
Before becoming a mother, I was a counselor and a caseworker for the state of South Dakota. When God provided a way for me to stay, at home with my daughter when she was born, I was pretty amazed. I hadn’t ever thought of myself as a stay at home mom and never planned to be. After a few months, I wondered what else God had in store for me.
I loved being at home with my daughter but I longed for interaction with adults and wanted to serve others. The counselor in me was usually texting friends to see how things were going in their lives.
Over time, I realized God had placed me at home, so that I could encourage other women who were working. Whether working moms or single friends, I had more time to send an encouraging word to my friends than I had when I was working full time.
So, I thought I would share some of the ways to encourage a friend going through a difficult time. Whether your friend is going through a breakup, divorce, job loss or searching for meaning, these 6 ways will help them to find peace in their situation!
1. Listen without Judgment
When asking a friend what helped her most, during a tough time, she said it was when friends would listen, without casting judgment.
As a Christian, I know I, personally, cast judgment far too often when I should be giving grace, as Jesus does for us.
When you aren’t in the situation, it is easy to say, “Well, they should have done this instead.” We easily forget all of the mistakes that we make regularly!
We have a lot of power in our words. When a friend is going through a difficult time, they remember things that we say for years to come. Whether our words be encouraging or judgmental.
So, giving a loving, listening ear is step one.
2. Encouraging words for a friend
Sending a friend an encouraging Bible verse to start their day off, with the love of Jesus, is a wonderful and unexpected way for them to know you’re thinking about them and that Jesus is near.
Seems like when we’re going through something rough, we feel so lonely and the thought of being alone can be overwhelming. So, sharing an encouraging text, Bible verse or devotional is an excellent way to make them feel included and not forgotten.
3. Ways to Encourage a Friend: Share Wisdom
We all want to give great advice when our friend is in need. We want to share the best words of support, but how?
Sometimes, it is really awkward knowing what to say when someone is crying or really upset. Even as a counselor, I struggled with wanting to just cheer a friend up or make her laugh. When instead I should have just listened and let her vent.
The best way to give good advice is to look in the Bible. Maybe your friend isn’t a believer, so this idea sounds ridiculous. But to be honest, if you want to give a friend good advice, you have to go to the best Counselor there is. If you are struggling to understand your Bible, find my 4 easy steps to understanding your Bible better here.
God knows what is next for your friend and knows the reason behind that hardship. This struggle has a purpose. It is an opportunity to grow closer to God and lean on Him.
Sometimes, we have to pray for God’s guidance in sharing the Truth with them. Because sometimes, they see Jesus through our friendship. Giving them gentle words of encouragement can strengthen their faith but also your friendship.
Recently, I posted 14 Bible verses that help someone going through a loss or grieving. There are all sorts of verses that your friend might find helpful. If you are wondering where to start, you can check those 14 verses for grief.
4. WAys to Encourage a friend: Pray
Showing your friend that you care should extend beyond when they come over to tell you what hardship they’re going through.
Ask how you can be praying for them.
When you don’t know what to say, pray.
While a couple of friends of mine were experiencing really difficult times, I decided to write a prayer to pray over them. A prayer that they could pray for themselves but also that I could pray for them. I sent them the prayer in a text, so they could see my love for them and Jesus in their situation.
Prayer is very powerful…
After a friend of mine went through an incredibly tough phase in her marriage, I asked her if she saw God in her struggle. I expected her to have a bitter response.
I expected her to be angry with God because I wasn’t sure where she was in her relationship with God. But she shared with me that she knew He was the only way she was able to do it all, every day, for her kids and that He had provided her with strength and their daily provisions!
She gave God the glory!
One of the toughest times, in my life, I remember walking to class in college and thinking to myself that I could feel Jesus walking right along beside me.
Whether they’re a believer or not, remind them that God is right there beside them, too.
5. Invite them
In asking another friend of mine what helped most when she was going through a difficult period, one thing she enjoyed was being invited along. Invite your friend to church with you, over to your house for girl chat, to go shopping, etc.
Invite them along to Bible study. If they are uncomfortable with joining a Bible study, ask them to be your accountability partner for reading your Bible and discussing the verses or chapters you read every day.
Spending time together is a thoughtful way of taking their mind off their worries and a way to encourage a friend.
6. Introduce them
Another tip for encouraging a friend, biblically, is to introduce your friend to more of your Christian friends.
I have one particular Christian friend that, rain or shine, is on fire for God. She is spunky and a bright light to anyone who meets her. She is perfect for cheering people up who need some joy from Jesus!
Verses of encouragement Printable
There are all sorts of verses of encouragement in the Bible. Here are just a few:
Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
2 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.
Psalm 16:8 I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Philippians 4:6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.
download free printable – 15 verses of encouragement
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You can find even more verses for encouragement here.
Ways to encourage a friend
In conclusion, you don’t have to be a counselor to find ways to encourage a friend, or a therapist to give great advice to a friend in need. God provides all the wisdom you will ever need for a friend!
Lastly, you can share great words of encouragement, verses, devotionals or just an invite to your friend who is feeling down. I pray that God uses you as a light to your friend in need this week!
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