Addiction is, sadly, one of the things many people struggle with. There are many kinds of addiction. An addiction could be related to sex, gambling, substances, and many more. For this article, we will talk about praying for those addicted to drugs. Praying for non-Christians struggling with drug addiction is different from praying for Christians struggling with drug addiction. Most often, the struggle of Christians with a history of drug addiction is a different kind of struggle compared to that of non-Christians.
Non-Christians turn to drugs for a variety of reasons. One common reason is that it makes them feel good, satisfied, comforted, and complete. Whatever their problems or background in life, they turn to drugs because they get a false sense of joy, completeness, and comfort. It is also because the devil deceives them. In other words, they get from drugs what they should only get from God. That is why praying for non-Christians struggling with drug addiction is different.
On the other hand, Christians struggling with drug addiction struggle not because they still desire to take drugs but more because the person is still in the process of completely overcoming addiction. If a drug addict hears of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit works in his or her heart, that drug addict repents and commits to follow Christ, so he or she becomes a new creation. The person is liberated from the bondage of sin, and he or she has a new heart already. If before he or she did not care if they sin before God, now he or she strives to live a holy life because the Holy Spirit turned their heart of stone to a heart of flesh. While there are cases where the progress or change to overcome addiction is fast, there are also cases where it takes time for a newly born Christian with a history of addiction to recover fully. That is not necessarily a bad thing. It is not about overnight perfection but the direction of our lives. One slowly overcomes addiction until they don’t feel any addiction to drugs anymore but look toward a life of holiness. Sometimes, medical help is also needed, since drug addiction affects the physical brain.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
2 Corinthians 7:1
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
What does God say about addiction?
For non-Christians addicted to drugs, we have to clarify that they are not any more of a sinner than those who lie or hurt their neighbors. Everyone has sinned and has fallen short of the glory of God; therefore, everyone needs our Savior, which is Jesus Christ. For drug addicts, however, their sin is more like idolatry. They seek from drugs what they should seek from God alone. This is no different from a person who always aims to be liked by other people, depending on their identity and affirmation of what others think of them. The Bible tells us that we should not have any other gods but only God, the One true living God. The Bible also tells us that satisfaction can only be found in Christ alone and not in drugs. Jesus tells us that He is the living water with Whom we shall never thirst. We shall never thirst because in Christ we have the fullness of joy, we are fully satisfied in Him, and we are secured and complete in Him. It is also important to point out that in Christ, people addicted to drugs are set free from the slavery of sin. If once addiction was some irresistible force that they could not help but succumb to, in Christ they are liberated from this bondage and have the freedom to say no to sin. In Christ alone, they can find freedom and forgiveness for their sins.
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
1 Corinthians 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Those who are Christians and are overcoming addiction sometimes may feel frustrated about why it takes time for them to overcome it completely. However, they have hope because God is at work in them, and a time will come when God shall bring His work to completion. We have confidence that we have the Holy Spirit in Christ, who sanctifies us to make us more and more like Jesus and empowers us to live a holy life. Indeed, it may be hard, but they can live a holy life, not through their strength but through Christ Who strengthens them. It is in times of weakness that they know God’s grace is sufficient and makes them strong. The time will come when drug addiction will be nothing to them. Also, they have parts to play; they should read the Scriptures, apply them and meditate on them, always set a time for prayer, and be connected with fellow believers. These are some of the means of grace that God has ordained. No matter how hard recovery is, they are to persevere and endure with God’s grace.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
1 Thessalonians 5:23
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us
What does the Bible say about helping someone with an addiction?
Christ’s mandate has always been to preach the Gospel to the lost as Christians. Some of those lost people are drug addicts. We need to preach the Gospel to them because it is only through Christ that they can find forgiveness for their sins and the satisfaction that fulfills them. No amount of therapy can utterly free one from addiction. Even if it helps, it will never be able to free them from the bondage of sin. That is why they need the Gospel, and we Christians must preach it to them and pray to them as we disciple them.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
If you have a fellow brother and sister in Christ who has a past with drug addiction and is overcoming it, always remember them in prayers and be with them as they progress in completely overcoming their trial. The Bible commands us to love others; if we love them, we will put it into action by always being there for them, encouraging them, carrying their burdens as if they were ours, and praying for them.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
1 John 4:7
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God
What is a good prayer for addiction?
If you are praying for a non-Christian, you can pray a Gospel-oriented prayer. Your main goal is to bring the person to Christ. You pray the things we mentioned above about Christ, Who is the only One that can satisfy the person and free the person from sin so the person can receive eternal life—the living water with which he or she shall never thirst and from which they will find the peace that completes his or her well-being and gives them joy. Praying for the person must be accompanied by the preaching of the Gospel.
Here is an example of a prayer for non-Christians suffering from drug addiction:
Holy Spirit, You are the One Who works in our hearts and convicts us of sin. I pray for name of the person, that You would turn his/her heart of stone to a heart of flesh so that he/she may repent and believe in the person and work of Christ. Open his/her spiritual eyes so that he/she may see his/her need for Christ and why Christ is the only person that he/she needs. Christ is He in Whom we are satisfied, complete, and joyful. I pray that he/she will experience the freedom that Christ offers. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
For Christians who are working in progress by the Holy Spirit in completely overcoming addiction, you can pray a prayer that is encouraging in nature. This prayer should remind them that God will bring His work in them into completion and that in them is the Holy Spirit, Who is also at work and empowers them to live a holy life. You can also remind them in prayer that they are free from the slavery of sin; that a temptation they encounter does not have any power over them and that they can say “no” to it.
Here is a prayer that you can pray for Christians who are overcoming drug addiction:
Holy Spirit, You are the One Who works in us and empowers us to live a holy and righteous life. I pray for name of the person, that You will continue to empower him/her to persevere as he/she overcomes drug addiction completely. Remind him/her that You shall bring Your work in him/her to completion. I pray that he/she shall completely overcome drug addiction and that Your fruit and sanctifying work in his/her life shall become more evident. Thank You because his/her drug addiction will be a testimony of how Christ frees people from sin and how You sanctify them and make them more and more like Christ. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
The keyword for all of this is “grace.” It takes God’s grace for a non-Christian addict to repent and believe the person and liberating work of Christ. It also takes grace for a Christian to grow in holiness and sanctification. That is why, in the end, we can never boast of anything because everything is of grace and is God’s work in our lives.