During a challenging time of illness, I discovered the power of love and compassion from friends who reached out to help in my time of need. In this blog post, I share practical suggestions for helping a friend in need, from simple gestures of checking in to offering a helping hand and heartfelt presence. You can make a difference in the lives of your loved ones when they need it most when you know how to help.


As a natural encourager, it’s always my desire to instill hope in the hearts of those who are hurting. Yet sometimes this is harder to do than others. A few years ago, during a prolonged bout of illness, I found that some seemed to instinctively knew how to help, while others did not. Some words and deeds helped; others actually hurt.

“There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24 NLT)

Jesus made Himself an example for us to follow

As I thought about the ministry of Jesus, it didn’t take long for me to realize that Jesus got dirty in doing good. In order to heal, He frequently got His hands dirty – both figuratively and literally. He spit in the dirt and made mud to heal a blind man’s eyes.

And it was the Pharisees who became angry that Jesus healed on the Sabbath. They didn’t want to be bothered. Truth be told, they didn’t want to have to get dirty.

Jesus, being part of the God-head, needed only to say “Be healed” and it would be done, but He often went ahead and did the dirty work for our sake. He made himself an example for us to follow. In fact, He did the ultimate dirty work by making himself the sacrifice for our sin, being beaten and crucified on a cross to pay the price for our sin, so that by His stripes we could be healed.

As the hours eeked into days, and the days stretched into weeks that I lay sick and infirm, unable to breathe without struggle, and unable to carry on with my usual routines and schedule, I was forced to not only think about how others had shown love and compassion to me, but how had I and how would I be like Jesus when others were in need?

Often, when we don’t know what to do, or what to say, we make the mistake of doing nothing at all. But it’s during those times that our presence or lack thereof is felt the most.

In The Hands and Feet of Jesus: Meaningful Ways to Help a Sick Friend, I shared ways that friends reached out to me during my time of need.

Practical suggestions for helping a friend in need

I want to offer some practical suggestions for ways to help a friend in need. There are many others. This is just a start. Perhaps it will stir other ideas within you.

  1. Ask your friend, “How can I most be of help to you today?”
  2. Pick up the phone and call to check in. Just leaving a cheerful voicemail letting her know you are thinking of her helps.
  3. Send a text message asking her how she is.
  4. Offer to call or come over to pray with her.
  5. Bring a meal to the home.
  6. Offer to take her children out after school to keep the house quiet.
  7. Bring a fun comedy movie and snacks over as a diversion.
  8. Send a handwritten note in a cheerful card.
  9. Take a load or two of her laundry back to your place to do, and return clean and neatly folded.
  10. Bring or send a bouquet of beautiful cheerful flowers.
  11. Leave her an uplifting message on social media for her to find that lets her know you remember her and what she likes.
  12. Schedule a coffee date, and if she can’t go out for the coffee, bring the coffee to her.
  13. Take her to the doctor.
  14. Write out and send her a box of encouraging scripture.
  15. Hold her hand or offer a heartfelt hug. The human touch offers tremendous healing properties.
  16. Walk her dog for her.
  17. Clean her house.
  18. Bring her your recent most favorite read.
  19. Supply her with her favorite chocolate.
  20. Sit quietly with her so she isn’t alone.


20 Practical Ways to Help a Friend in Need. During the hardest times in life we are given not only the responsibility but also the privilege of being the hands and feet of Jesus to minister to others in their need. Sometimes, we don't know how to help so we do nothing. Do you know what kind of help to offer? It's your presence that is felt the most. Here are 20 ways to offer practical help to a friend in need.


In the comments below I’d love to hear of other suggestions you may have for practical ways to come alongside and help a hurting or ill friend. What have you done to help a friend in need, or what have others done that helped you?

Because of Him, #HopePrevails!



During times of illness, the kindness and care of friends can bring healing and hope. Uncover practical suggestions in this blog post, inspired by Jesus's example, including bringing meals, offering to run errands, and sharing encouraging scriptures. Together, let's embody the hands and feet of Jesus and make a difference in the lives of our loved ones.


Every day can be a good day when you trust the promises of God.

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When life conspires to drag us down with all of its troubles, it can be hard to keep our spirits up. In times of severe illness and depression, I learned that when I stand on God’s promises, despite my circumstances, every day can be a good day.


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