Category: Articles

Three Ways to Help a Weary Friend

April 30, 2024

As I walked out of the grocery store with a cart full of groceries, a freezing winter wind cut through my jacket. The late-afternoon sky was dark grey, and an icy snow was falling. As I approached the car, my exhaustion seemed overwhelming. I’d been struggling through the last trimester of a twin pregnancy while preparing for final exams in graduate school. I felt stretched to my limit.

In that cold and dismal moment, I wondered if I had the physical strength to transfer my groceries into the trunk of the car. As my mittened hands fumbled for the car keys, a young employee I’d seen collecting shopping carts in the parking lot appeared at my side. “May I help you, ma’am?” he asked. “Yes, please!”

While I warmed myself in the driver’s seat and the store employee loaded my groceries, I thanked the Lord for providing a helping hand when I needed it. I’d thought I was unseen in the parking lot, but I wasn’t. I’d thought I would have to manage the task alone, but I didn’t. I’d thought the cold and fatigue would be too much to bear, but they weren’t. In my weariness, someone else had been strong.

Who do you know who’s spiritually weary? Who, within your sphere of influence, would you describe as faint-hearted or discouraged under the burdens she bears? Is long-term suffering or recurring battles with sin weakening her resolve to trust the Lord? Does a weariness envelope her that’s clouding her hope in God? Like the young man who helped me in the parking lot, you’re uniquely situated to help your weary friend persevere in faith. Instead of carrying her groceries, you have the greater privilege of helping her carry her spiritual burdens in three specific ways: serving her in love, covering her with prayer, and fortifying her with truth.

#1: Serve with Love

After Elijah’s victory over the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel, he became discouraged and withdrew to the wilderness. Twice, as Elijah slept under a juniper tree, an angel awakened and urged him to eat and drink what the Lord had provided. With renewed strength, Elijah then continued on his way to serve the Lord (1 Kings 19:4-8).

Likewise, when your friend is spiritually weary, you can strengthen her by caring for her physical needs. Carefully consider how you might help relieve the current weight of her daily responsibilities. Even simple, mundane help can communicate meaningful encouragement. Can you provide a meal, run an errand, or complete a necessary task or chore? Your loving, practical service not only aids your friend, but also provides her with a tangible reminder that God sees her and cares for her every need.

Sometimes you may find that serving your friend becomes difficult as you help shoulder her burdens, so keep your focus on the larger purpose of your service—to honor the Lord. When you, too, feel weary, remember that the power of the living Christ is within you. Serve with sacrificial love “by the strength that God supplies, in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (I Peter 4:11).

#2: Cover with Prayer

Although your weary friend will be helped by your loving service, a greater way to help is by covering her with prayer. In her weakness, she needs to lay hold of the strengthening power of the Lord to persevere with faith and joy, and that is a work of the Spirit within her. Pray for your friend’s circumstances, but even more importantly pray earnestly for her spiritual vitality.
Like Paul, who prayed for the Colossian believers, pray that your friend will grow in her knowledge of God, live to please Christ, and be strengthened with divine power. Use Paul’s prayer as a model for your own. Ask the Lord to fill your weary friend

“with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.” (Col. 1:9-11)

In addition to praying for your friend, pray with her. Model for her a faith-filled dependence upon the Lord and encourage her to bring her concerns to him, her ultimate Helper.

#3: Fortify with Truth

God’s word is powerful to work in those who receive it by faith (1 Thess. 2:13). Your believing, weary friend feels exhausted under her cares, but there’s a spiritual reality at work in her that’s greater than her burdens: she’s a new creation in Christ who’s being prepared by God for an eternity with him, and he’s making her ready by renewing her with his word. In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Paul reminds us that

“though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

It’s “as we look” to the Lord and the promises of his word, that he not only strengthens us to persevere in this world but also prepares a future glory for us to enjoy in the next. With your heart fixed on this hope, fortify your weary friend with biblical truth.

From the Scriptures, remind her of God’s character, plans, and promises. Share and discuss Bible verses with her that emphasize the Lord’s strength in our weakness. Consider together how passages such as these are to be understood and applied to her life: Isaiah 40:27-31; 2 Corinthians 4:7-18; and 2 Corinthians 10:7-10. In addition, build up her faith with scriptural truths that God has used to strengthen your hope in your own times of weariness.

Direct your weary friend to the Lord through your service, by your prayers, and in his word. Let this be the constant theme of your encouragement: “God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in times of trouble” (Ps. 46:1). The Lord will strengthen her, and you, as you seek to love her well.


  • Cheryl Marshall
    Cheryl serves as the director of women’s ministries at Founders Baptist Church in Spring, Texas, and is a regular Bible teacher at women’s conferences. She’s a co-author (with Caroline Newheiser) of When Words Matter Most: Speaking Truth with Grace to Those You Love and a contributor to Steadfast: A Devotional for Women in Seasons of Change. Her articles have been featured at Crossway, Journeywomen Ministries, and Well-Watered Women Co. Cheryl and her husband have three adult children, a beautiful daughter-in-law, and a sweet grandson. You can connect with Cheryl online at or on Instagram at _cherylmarshall.
    View all posts Cheryl Marshall

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