Do you have difficult people in your life? As a Christian, for years I thought I was supposed to be nice to everyone and allow others to push me around. The difficult people in my life took full advantage and anxiety overwhelmed me.
It wasn’t until about five years ago that a mentor began showing me the Bible doesn’t tell us to let people take advantage. Today I’ll share 7 prayers for dealing with difficult people and how that can change your life.
How Do You Pray for a Difficult Person
Difficult people come in all shapes and sizes with all types of issues that impact just how difficult they can act. What it boils down to is that difficult people hurt us in some way. A dear pastor years ago said, “Hurting people hurt people.” That one statement (which he repeated often) began to shift how I thought about those people.
Now, when I encounter a difficult person, I try to get to the heart of what is hurting them so much that they are hurting me. I can create prayers for dealing with difficult people once I know where they are hurting. This is my checklist.
- Are they saved?
- Have they lost someone?
- Is there unforgiveness in their heart?
- Have they been passed over for something important?
- What was their childhood like?
- Are there obvious areas of sin in their lives?
Once I have done some discreet digging, I am better equipped to pray for them.
Bible Verses About Dealing With Difficult People
Maybe you are still curious why we must pray as a tool for dealing with difficult people. To better understand why prayer must be at the heart of our strategy we need to know what the Bible says about dealing with difficult people.
Bless Difficult People
Bible verses about dealing with difficult people are hard to live out. First, they affirm that it is normal to be forced to live with difficult people. Scripture also gives us a very challenging path toward living with these people.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Never repay evil for evil to anyone. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people.” Romans 12:14,17-18 NASB
Don’t Judge Difficult People
The path is challenging.
- Bless the difficult people.
- Don’t return the hurt when difficult people hurt you.
- Live at peace with all people, including difficult people.
That’s just one passage of Scripture about dealing with difficult people. Next, we see that we are not to judge others!
“Judge not, that you be not judged.“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:1 & 12 ESV
And with that, I hope you see why we must create prayers for dealing with difficult people. It is only with the help of God that we can live this way.
Choose Your Friends Wisely
The verses above were used extensively when I was young to teach me to be nice to everyone and let them walk all over me. If they stood alone that would have been true, but there are many Bible verses about creating boundaries and making wise choices.
“Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” Proverbs 22:24-25 ESV
Difficult people are often angry. Life has been harder than they expected and they take that out on others with anger, even passive-aggressive anger. There are no Biblical grounds saying you must be friends with them.
Choose your friends wisely. Be kind, show love, but don’t share your heart and soul with people who have broken your trust and hurt you. Boundaries are Biblical. Limit the time you are around difficult people and do more listening than talking to reduce the amount of ammunition they have against you.
Speak the Truth in Love To Difficult People
When you do have to spend time with difficult people, you do not have to be a doormat. Speak the truth about the hard things rather than pacifying them. But remember to speak the truth through the eyes of love. If you are hurting, pray and work through the hurt so you can speak from love, not pain or revenge.
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” Ephesians 4:15 ESV
Setting goldy boundaries around difficult people can help keep your heart safe. It can also help the difficult person lose a bit of the power they thought they had over you. In some cases, this will force them to look at the why behind their losing you.
By speaking the truth in love, you force them to hear that their hurtful behavior has consequences. Maybe that will spark change, but even if it doesn’t, you loved them well and have no part in their continued difficult behavior.
Prayers for Dealing With a Difficult Person
Setting boundaries around difficult people is not easy. Living within those boundaries is even more challenging. God gives us a very hard path to follow with people who are hard to love.
- Bless the difficult people.
- Don’t return the hurt when difficult people hurt you.
- Live at peace with all people, including difficult people.
- Don’t judge people.
- Guard your friendships.
- Speak the truth in love.
I am convinced that no one could live this way without God’s help. It is just too hard to do when difficult people begin hurting us. We must create prayers for dealing with difficult people, specifically to pray for God’s strength to live and love His way.
Prayer for Dealing with Difficult Lost People
Why does God tell us to live with difficult people this way? God loves difficult people. Praise the Lord that He does because I was once a very difficult person. Maybe you were as well.
God wants us to show HIS love to the difficult person as a tool for evangelism. That is why the difficult person’s salvation is always where I begin praying. Let me show you a sample of my prayers for dealing with difficult people. (Fill in the XX with the person’s name and choose the correct pronoun to personalize the prayer.)
Father God, XX is far from You. I believe he/she is either lost or very far backslidden. You placed him/her into my life and I want to love him/her with Your love. Give me eyes to see XX the way You see him/her.
In Scripture, you say that You love the whole world so much You sent Jesus to die for our salvation and XX is among those in this world. So, I ask for his/her salvation.
Give me boldness to share Your plan of salvation. Bring godly men and women into his/her path each day to share the Gospel and show Your love. Remove the hardness in XX’s heart that keeps him/her from hearing, receiving, and walking in Your love.
You also say that when we ask anything in Your name and in your will we will receive it. I believe it is Your will that every person is saved and so I am asking with faith believing for XX’s salvation today.
Thank you in advance for working miraculously to bring him/her into Your family. Thank you for putting him/her in my life. Use me in any way You choose. Amen
Prayer for Dealing with Difficult Parents
To be fair, most of us as children believed we had the most difficult parents, but for some of us, even into adulthood, the difficulties continued. Living with difficult parents puts a real strain on your mental health.
Sadly, boundaries are also important in difficult parental relationships. Prayer is the one way to work through things that I have found most effective. You may still need to begin with prayers for the lost but then transition to prayers for parents.
Precious Jesus, You tell us to honor our mother and father. It is hard to honor my parents when they manipulate, criticize, nag, override my parenting, live in a way that hurts themselves and others and so much more.
Help me to forgive my dad/mom today. I feel hurt and abandoned and I don’t want that hurt to turn me into a difficult person. Every time the hurt comes back to mind remind me to forgive and let You work through anything that needs to be done there.
When my mom/dad hurts me again, remind me to forgive but give me loving, respectful words to explain how the thing hurt me. Help my mom/dad to hear and see and change. If he/she can not change, help me to love but set godly boundaries and hold true to them.
Jesus, this hurts so much. Heal the hurt and help me do this in a way that honors You. Amen.
Prayer for Dealing with A Difficult Child
At some point, all parents will, eventually, struggle with a difficult child. This is a normal part of a child coming into their own identities. But sometimes, a child may really push the limits.
As a parent now, I better understand why my parents seemed so difficult in my youth. It can be hard to always show love and kindness to children in certain seasons.
But we know the best thing to do is to pray for our children to help them in all areas of their lives.
Praying for a difficult child will unleash the power of God over them and help get them to turn away from their sinful ways.
Abba Father, Raising this difficult child is more than I ever imagined. I am tired and hurting and fearful of the future. In all of these challenges, I am also reminded how difficult I must be for You at times.
Please forgive me for not listening, going my own way, talking back, and deliberately disobeying Your perfect will for my life. Thank You for always loving me anyway and for being a prayer away with open arms to receive me back. Help me follow Your example with XX in this season.
Lord, You have given me authority over my children and I pray in that authority. Today I speak life and light into XX’s life. Nothing that steals life will have authority over him/her. Let XX never get away with sin, but reveal it so there is always a consequence. Let nothing come into this home that is ungodly, reveal it to us so it can be handled quickly.
I speak against pornography, gambling, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sexual sin, rebellion, disrespect, bitterness, unforgiveness, self-harm, witchcraft, and any other thing that may be trying to steak my child away.
Set a guard over his/her minds and hearts that anything secret would come to light. Give us wisdom and discernment about how to set clear boundaries and consequences to teach him/her now how to resist temptation and choose righteousness.
Thank You that You love XX more than I do, that You have a plan for XX. Help me stay focused on You and through these challenges. Amen.
Prayer for Dealing with A Difficult Spouse
While we are praying for difficult people in our lives let’s be honest that our spouse can be among them. There are times marriage goes through hard seasons. Prayer is a powerful tool to heal the hurts that follow.
Say this prayer to help you with a difficult spouse.
Jehovah Nissi, Our marriage is a sacred covenant made before You. I long to honor it as such but this is harder than I imagined. XX has done things to hurt me and I am struggling to respond in love. Help me forgive him/her.
Help me see him/her through Your eyes, as a child who You love and are working in. Remind me that there is an enemy of our marriage that is really behind all of this and we do not fight each other. Show me where XX is hurting or struggling that is prompting these issues so I can pray strategically over him/her.
Give me the strength to continue to do good while You work all these things out. Show me who to turn to for support and encouragement. Fight for us and protect us so we can come through this victoriously. Amen
Prayer for Dealing with a Difficult Co-Worker
Of all the people we encounter each day, difficult co-workers can be the most challenging. They have no connection with us that would prompt civility and so it is easier for them to be as ugly as they like.
Again, here you may need to begin with the prayer for the lost, but also, probe to see what may be at the heart of their pain. Things that make people act difficultly can include:
- Hurt from the past
Holy Spirit, XX is very difficult to work with. She/he makes my life at work harder than it has to be. Please give me wisdom and discernment to help make this situation better. Where I have said anything or done anything that may have hurt him/her show me.
XX is a person who You love, please help me see him/her through Your eyes. Make me a tool of reconciliation to help him/her with the hurt he/she is feeling if that is Your will. You put XX in my life for a reason, please don’t let me miss You for fear of discomfort.
While I long to do Your will, I also ask for protection from the hurt XX intends. Stand up over me and fight for me. Protect me and keep my eyes open for anything to avoid.
Give me the right words at the right time in this difficult relationship and help me not take the hurt home and become difficult there. Through all of this let me shine Your light so those around us see You in this situation. Amen.
Prayer for Dealing with a Difficult Neighbor
There have been difficult neighbors in every single place our family has lived. For years I limited how much we interacted with neighbors and simply prayed while walking through the neighborhood.
Then we had kids and they love to play outside. It’s tough to ignore your neighbors when you have kids. Now we pray for our difficult neighbors more specifically and more often.
Jehovah Shalom, You say to live at peace with all men as much as it depends on me. XX is making it very difficult to live at peace in our neighborhood. Help me show love and kindness even when he/she does not. Where I have offended him/her please reveal that and show me how to make amends.
Please give us favor with our neighbors as a way to share the Gospel. Show me how to speak boldly about You and Your love for him/her. Help our children to shine Your light. Soften him/her heart. Show us ways to compromise and live at peace. In all these things, be glorified through our speech and conduct Lord. Amen.
Prayers for Setting Boundaries
Do you struggle with setting boundaries with the difficult people in your life? Or maybe you try to set them, but they just don’t honor those boundaries?
Use this prayer to ask God to help you in setting appropriate boundaries and to learn to say no with a loving heart.
Creator God, Thank You for the loving protection you provide in my life. Thank You for saving, loving, and forgiving me as I have been difficult many times. I am struggling to love these difficult people well and still keep my mind right and anxiety in check.
Show me how to set loving boundaries around these relationships. Teach me how to say no better. Remind me to forgive often. Give me a bold love that can speak the truth rather than avoid confrontation. Help me set boundaries and then keep them set until things change.
Protect me from hardening my heart toward XX. Keep my eyes on You for peace and hope while You do the work in this situation. Remind me when and how to praise You through this storm. Amen.
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Pray for the Difficult People in Your Life
While it can be so much easier to just complain or write them off, we should, instead, pray for the difficult people in our lives.
We need to pray hard in order to love these people the way God desires so they see Him in us and turn to Him for salvation! It is critical, yet challenging because when we are hurt our nature says hurt back.
Through prayer, we can allow God to use us, work through us and change us more into His image.