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.
Scriptures Against Depression – Scriptures Against Worry – New Testament Scriptures on Faith & Believing – Do God’s Promises Cover What You Want?
Psalm 34:18 – The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. New Living Translation
Psalms 31:9 – O’ Lord have mercy on me in my anguish. My eyes are red from weeping; my health is broken from sorrow.
Psalms 147:3 – He heals the broken heartened, binding up their wounds.
Matthew 5:4 – Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
John 14:27 – I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give is not fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
John 14:18 – No, I will not abandon you or leave you as orphans in the storm-I will come to you.
Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.
Psalms 30:5b – Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.
John 16:33 – I have told you these things so that you will have peace of heart and mind, Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows, but cheer up, for I have overcome the world,
Proverbs 3:6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 – Brothers we don’t want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep: or to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope.
2Thessalonians 2:16, 17 – May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting comfort and hope which we don’t deserve, comfort your hearts with all comfort, and help you in every good thing you say and do.
Isaiah 49:13b – For the Lord hath comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted.
Jeremiah 31:13 – I will turn their mourning into gladness. I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
2 Corinthians1:3-4 – What a wonderful God we have-He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.
Ecclesiastes3:1-4 – To every thing there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal, a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance
Psalm 25:16-18 – Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged. bring me out of my distresses. Look upon my afflictions and my trouble, and forgive my sins.
Psalm 23:4 – Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil .for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.
John 14:1-3 – Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. in My Father’s house are many mansions
Exodus3:7 – Then the Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying and am concerned about their sufferings.
1Samuel 1:15-17 – Hannah had a sorrowful spirit and poured out her soul unto the Lord……and God answered her petition.
2 Samuel 18:32-33 and 2 Samuel 19 – King David mourned over the death of his son Absalom and cried out to God.
Psalms 22:24 – For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one, He has not hidden His face from him but has listened to his cry for help.
John 11:33-35 – When Jesus saw her weeping ….He groaned in spirit and was troubled. “Where have you lain him?” Jesus asked .They said unto Him, “Come and see.” Jesus wept.
Also, it is encouraging to read about what Heaven may be like in the 1898 classic Intra Muros – “My Dream of Heaven”
Book Overview – Read the Book Here
This book has stood the test of time and has a wide mainstream following. Many churches give it out as a comfort to grieving family members. Billy Graham wrote an introduction to one of the editions.
In recent weeks, several friends have experienced a profound loss of one kind or another. In the midst of a celebration of light, their worlds hold a great portion of darkness. The contrast can make this a difficult season. This post is a prayer for those who grieve, especially during this season, and for the friends and loved ones who long to comfort them.
Through this dark valley I would ease your way,
reassure you of the goodness of life,
even of your life.
But I have not traveled this path you tread,
nor learned the reach of these shadows.
All I can do is walk with you,
both of us stumbling,
certain only that we will be sustained
by powers beyond our imagining—
by life and love, light and hope.
May the Spirit of Life lend its strength,
enfold and uplift us with warm embrace.
May the Spirit of Love tend wounded hearts,
that healing and tenderness may abide.
May the Spirit of Light show us the way—
one step at a time is enough.
And may the Spirit of Hope sow its seeds,
to open in the mysterious dark
and emerge as new life
in the spring that will surely come.
Susan Christerson Brown
Before reading the rest of this article, please read the page “What your bereaved friends want you to know (but may not say)”. This article will help you understand more about the needs of bereaved parents before you begin to pray for us.
It is also helpful for you to ask your grieving friend how they would like you to pray. Each situation is different; our loved ones are unique; their deaths were unique; our needs are unique.
Praying Scripture for Your Family and Friends introduced the idea of using Scripture in our prayers. In an article titled Praying as Paul Prayed, I touched on the topic of praying for our teens and adult children using the writing of Paul the Apostle. This month is about praying specifically for those who are grieving.
This is about PRAYING for your friends and family who are bereaved – specifically for those who have lost a child. Though the examples are include prayers for grieving parents, these Scriptures may be used to pray for anyone experiencing grief whether the loss of a child, a parent, or a close friend.
These are not platitudes for you to quote to your hurting friend. If you must say something, a simple “I am so sorry for your pain. I am praying for you” says enough. Or you could send a note with a Scripture written at the bottom and “This is my prayer for you today”.
Please do not preach these passages to us. Please don’t preach to us at all. Most of us who are grieving are hurting so much in those first few days and weeks of grief – and trying hard to just survive – that a well-meaning friend quoting Scripture to us may not be helpful. We need you to listen and to pray.
We do need to know Truth. With regards to helping us know Truth, as a loving friend, often times your part is to lift us up in prayer. Intercede for us using the truths found in the Word of God. Pray that God will comfort us and show us His Truth through the Holy Spirit in His timing.
The reality is that we who are grieving are most likely praying as best we can, and we are seeking truth as we ask for healing from God is in the midst of our pain. The Holy Spirit is called the Comforter in the New Testament. Jesus also said that the Holy Spirit will teach us all we need to know. Please let God work in our lives. Give us time to hear from Him. Give us space to hear what He wants to say without adding noise and clutter. But please, oh please, PRAY FOR US!!
Bereaved parents need prayer.
When we are grieving the loss of a child, we need our friends to lift us up to the Father and intercede on our behalf. It seems that others instinctively know we need prayer – they all tell us they are praying for us. But are they really? Are you really praying? Do you know how to pray for the bereaved parents in your church or in your community? I didn’t, not before I became a bereaved mom.
I had no idea how to pray for my friends who had buried their son. My prayer went something like this:
Father, Bless Patty & Gary. Heal their broken hearts. Give them strength. Amen.
While this is a valid prayer – and God knew my heart – I now know so much more how to pray for those grieving! I can pray more effectively because I have been through the death of a child. And I want to help you learn how to effectively pray for your friends who have experienced loss.
Please do not misunderstand me – I know that God heard my prayer. He knew my heart. He knew that I was doing the best I could with what I knew. There is no condemnation here at all. There is no condemnation if your prayers are just like mine were. It is just that now I am better equipped. I have learn more about praying Scripture for the bereaved – whether they grieve for a parents, a sibling, a friend or a child. We can pray the Word of God for our friends who are hurting and in need of healing!
So how do we begin?
Healing, Strength and Peace
Of course, you know your friend is hurting and needs healing and strength and peace. Parents who have buried their child or who’s baby was born straight into the arms of Heaven have broken hearts. They are wounded with a deep wound that, at first, seems like it will never heal. We need miraculous healing as only God can provide. We need restoration. We need peace.
So let’s start there! Let’s start with Scriptures that promise us restoration and strength and peace. Let’s look at how one can obtain these things. And then let’s compose a prayer using these truths.
Psalms 34:18 The Lord is near the brokenhearted and rescues those crushed in spirit.
Psalm 94:18-19 When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.
1 Peter 5:10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
Psalms 29:11 The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
Isaiah 26:3-4 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Alli is hurting so much right now. She is weak and tired. She is brokenhearted and missing her little boy. I pray that you would show her that Your grace is sufficient for her in her sorrow and that You are made strong in her weakness. You are the God of grace! You have called her to Your eternal glory in Christ Jesus. The grief of not having her son with her and the family is hitting her hard today. Make Your truth real to Alii today, Oh God! Restore her, make her strong and firm and steadfast! Lord, I know that she seeks to know You and she seeks to keep her mind steadfast; she trusts You. Give her Your perfect peace today. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen
If we have other children, we may have very real fears that something will happen to them, that they too will die or get sick or overdose or get in a car wreck or…or…or… We are sometimes afraid that we will have to bury another child. After a miscarriage, the fear of not having a baby becomes very real.
We don’t need to be told that we won’t lose another child. Or that our others kids won’t die. Or that our next pregnancy will be just fine. You don’t know that to be true. We know it may not be true. But you can pray for us that we would not walk in fear of things that may or may not happen. There are so many “fear not” passages in the Bible! I have listed just a few; here is a longer list of scriptures regarding fear.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
How could you pray these for your friend? I have written out a petition that I have prayed for myself many times in the past thirteen months. You could pray something similar for your friend.
Each time one of my children leaves the house, is late coming home, or heads out of town, fear grips my heart. I am afraid that I will lose another one. That I will have to bury another one of my children. Father, help me to rejoice in You. Help me to know that You are near. Help me to rejoice in the time I have with my children here on earth and to rejoice that I will spend eternity with them and with You. Strengthen me and hold me in Your righteous hand. I know Your Word tells me that You have not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind! Help me to live in that truth today and every day. I choose to not be anxious about the well-being of my children; I place them in Your hands. Thank you, Lord, for giving me peace. Thank you for being with me. Thank you for guarding my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. Amen
For some bereaved parents, anger at God is very real. It is hard to trust someone you are angry with. All of us must learn to walk in our new reality. And trusting that God is wise, compassionate, kind, loving, peaceful and good goes along way to help us heal. Trusting God in general will help us to go on living. We need help trusting God in our grief. Here a just a few passages you could use while praying for your friend’s trust in God to be renewed.
1 Peter 2:6 He who trusts in The Lord will not be disappointed.
Jer 17:7-8 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
Prov 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Isaiah 26:3-4 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. 4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.
Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,
Assurance of Truth
The enemy often tries to tell parents that their child did not really go to Heaven, that they did not really know God. Please take time to pray for your friends that they will not listen to the lies of the enemy but will hold fast to the Truth about Salvation, Eternity and Heaven. Pray that the knowledge that their child is in Heaven will be of comfort to your grieving friends. Pray that God will assure them that His Truth is real. And you may want to refer your friend to the post Do NOT List to the Father of Lies.
John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
2 Cor 5:6-8 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
Acts 2:21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Psalm 139:16 Every day of my life was recorded in Your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day passed.
John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
John 1:12-13 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Ephesians 1:13-14 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.
Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Rev 1:17-18 “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
There are so many passages about life in eternity with Christ! I will leave you with one last prayer….
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
1 Corinthians 15:51-57
Thank you that Andrew was a believer! Thank you for saving him through the blood of Your Son Jesus Christ. Help me to remember the good things about his life and the promises You gave him and us. I so look forward to that day when my faith will become sight and I will see You face-to-face! How great that day will be when the trumpet sounds and this mortal body will put on immortality. Help me to live a life that honors You until that day. While I wait for Your return, help me live well. And this is my prayer for all my friends who have experienced the death of a child: Help us to heal, to grow, to serve, and honor You while we wait for the Great Reunion in Heaven. Amen.
My challenge for you this month: Learn how to love those who are grieving. Read What your bereaved friends want you to know (but may not say). And pray for someone you know what has experienced loss this year. It may be a widow, a parent who lost a child, or a friends who lost a sibling. Pray for those who grieve.
If you have experienced the death of a child may I introduce you to While We’re Waiting? They are a faith-based ministry to bereaved parents. You can find them on Facebook and at www.whilewerewaiting.org