Perhaps social media has increased our awareness, but chances are you or someone you know is enduring a season of grief right now: the death of a loved one, friend, neighbor or coworker.
Loss always produces grief. There is no escaping it. If you try to deny it or postpone it, it will only gather force and become more debilitating the longer you try to suppress it. That is one reason prayer is an indispensable resource for a grieving heart. While intelligible prayer may seem impossible in the early days of a deep loss, one or more of the following prayers may become helpful as the shock begins to subside:
1) Pour out your grief.
“Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief” (Psalm 31:9, NIV). My heart is broken, my mind exhausted. I cry out to you and hardly know what to ask. All I can do is tell you how I feel and ask you to “keep track of all my sorrows. . . . all my tears in your bottle. . . . each one in your book” as I pour them out to you (Psalm 56:8, NLT). Amen.
Ask the OurPrayer team to pray for you!
2) Ask for comfort.
Jesus, You said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4, NIV). I am mourning; send me Your comfort now. Wrap around Your arms around me and hold me tight. Send angels of mercy to me. Shower Your comfort on me through those around me, and keep far from me those whose words and actions are no comfort. Amen.
3) Ask for healing.
O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, hurry to help me. Please take the consuming anguish I feel right now; take it from me and hold me in Your arms. Heal my broken heart and bind up my wounds (see Psalm 147:3). Amen.
4) Ask for peace.
Jesus, You told Your followers, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well. . . . Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:1, 27, NIV). I need Your peace. I need “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” to guard my heart and mind (Philippians 4:7, NIV). I need peaceful sleep. I ask for peaceful thoughts and emotions to rule my days and nights. Amen.
Read More: The Garden That Healed Our Grief
5) Ask for hope.
Lord, the Bible says You are “close to the brokenhearted and those whose spirits are crushed” (Psalm 34:18, NLT). Draw close to me and rescue me. Help me not to grieve like those who haven’t discovered Your kindness and mercy, who have no hope (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13); lift me up and give me hope once more. Help me to believe that tomorrow will be better, and the next day will be easier, and that a day will come when I will feel a surge of energy and expectation for what You are doing and where You will take me. Amen.
As the prayers above suggest, you may find special comfort in reading and praying the Psalms during a season of grief. They can help you take the time to grieve well and to pray as much as you are able.
A Prayer for When Grief Makes Praying Hard
By Kimberly Carroll
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18
What happens when grief makes praying hard? When prayers of surrender feel the sting of fear? When worry whispers, “But what if God takes them too?” When prayers of praise are layered with anger and disappointment underneath? When prayers that once flowed with ease now feel sucked dry and empty of words? When God’s peace once kept your heart at ease but now He suddenly feels absent and unreachable? When the weight of it all feels crushing but people expect you to be OK because you know Jesus? These are all feelings and questions with which the grieving often wrestle.
For those fighting to hold onto their faith, this pressure to suppress the darker side of grief can trigger enormous guilt. I’m a Christian—I’m not supposed to be afraid. I’m not supposed to doubt God’s provision. I’m supposed to be stronger than this! Heartbroken from loss and ashamed of wrestling spiritually, grief can make even genuine believers feel alone and separated from God.
If this is you today, you have my deepest empathy. Please know you are not alone. Coping with loss is inexplicably hard! If you find praying difficult in the presence of grief, may these words encourage you to let go of your guilt, take off your mask, and just breathe in the love of God for a moment. You don’t have to be perfect here. You just have to be real.
Let’s pray together:
“Jesus, my pain is so deep. My anger is fierce, my fear is crippling. And then in the midst of all of these emotions, numbness sets in. I struggle to know how to pray or where to begin! So I’m going to remind myself of truth. I know you are here with me in my grief. I know you are mending the brokenness in ways I can’t always see. Lord, hold me in your arms, take this pain and help me bear it. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”
Editor’s Note: This devotional was taken in part from Kimberly Carroll’s How to Pray When Grief Makes Praying Hard. You can read that article in full here.