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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
A Prayer for Comfort When You’re Grieving
By Christina Fox
“Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice” (Psalm 55:17).
The book of Psalms contains poems that were used in the Israelite’s worship. There were many different types of Psalms, some were sung in thanksgiving for something God had done. Others were sung to remember things from the past. Some Psalms were sung in praise to God for who he is. And then there were the Laments, the darkest of all the Psalms. These songs were sung to express the sorrows and fears of life in this fallen world.
The Psalms of Lament are filled with questions. These are not the silly questions we might ask Siri or the how-to questions we might enter in a search engine, but they are the questions of a broken heart. They are the questions of one who is weighed down by the sorrows of this world, by the fears, griefs, and heartaches that we all experience.
On this side of the cross, we know that Jesus fulfilled the Psalms, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44). Jesus is the answer to every heart’s cry. He came to rescue and redeem us from our greatest fear and our deepest sorrow—eternal death and separation from God because of our sin. By his perfect life and sacrificial death, he made a way for us to come into God’s presence wrapped in his righteousness. Because of Christ, we can “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Here is a prayer, taken from the lamenting Psalms, that you can pray if you need God’s comfort:
I come before you today with a heavy heart. Sadness overwhelms me. I feel surrounded by a dense fog that I fear will never lift. Like David, “my tears have been my food day and night” (Psalm 42:3).
For however long this season of sorrow lasts, I pray that you would show me more of your love and grace. Help me not to run from whatever you want to do in my heart. Help me to trust that you are at work and to rest in your faithfulness. I want to say along with David, “I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul” (Psalm 31:7).
Father, grant me gospel joy; help me to rejoice in Christ even as I grieve. Envelope me with the peace and comfort only you can provide. As the days move into months, may this burden lessen. As the months move to years, use me to encourage and bless someone else who must walk a similar path. Help me to point them to you as the God of all comfort.
I know that you are always with me and that your love never ceases. Help me to find refuge in you and nowhere else.
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Editor’s Note: The following is an abridged version of How to Pray the Psalms for Comfort during Grief by Christina Fox. To read the full article, follow this link.