When a friend or an acquaintance is going through a trial, probably the best thing you can do for them is to just show up and listen. Try not to give too much advice, unless the Lord specifically lays something on your heart. This is sometimes difficult to gauge because most of us are in love with the sound of our own voices. 🙂 I have found that the more time I spend in prayer, the more often God will give me exactly the right words at exactly the right moment. (On the other hand, I always mess things up if I try to figure out what I’m going to say ahead of time – I think because I try to force the conversation in a certain direction, rather than actually listening).
By learning to listen, you are giving your friends the much needed opportunity to work things out on their own. Either God will answer your prayers, and their troubles will dissolve, or He is allowing them to grow by seeing them through the crisis. If that turns out to be the case, they may need to talk things through and discover just what they are learning or how they are changing as a result of their current situation. We often merely need to chat for a while, asking questions, answering some of our own questions, and just basically meander through our own thoughts and feelings to reach a conclusion. I don’t know how many times I’ve had a “chat” with my sister, father, or husband in which they only said a couple of words; I did the rest of the talking, but by the time I ran out of things to say, I had pretty much figured out what I needed to do or learn. Anyway, your friends probably already know the answer, but they haven’t arrived at it consciously.