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.
Prayers for Grief and Loss
When facing the loss of loved ones, prayer is sometimes the only thing that holds any type of comfort. Sometimes we ourselves lose someone close to us, and at other times we just need to pray for the someone else’s loss. Emotions like anger, disappointment, and sadness can easily move us away from God. It is easy for those dealing with grief to fall into so much anger they walk away from the Lord. Blaming God for bad things can go well beyond emotions associated with loss into a permanent distancing from our faith.
While grief may always remain with us to some degree, prayers can help us move past the deep sense of anger and sadness into acceptance and living. Prayer always helps us grow with God, and when we are grieving or watching others grieve, prayers for grief and loss can be immensely helpful. Sometimes it is the only thing we can do for someone. Here are some prayers you can use:
A Prayer for Personal Loss
Lord, thank you for being my rock and my strength. I don’t know why this happened. I know you have a plan for each of us. But right now I’m hurting, and that hurt runs deep. Lord, I know that you are a comfort for me, and I pray that you continue to be by my side through this time. It feels right now like this hurt will never go away. It feels right now like I’ll never come out of this pain. Everyone keeps saying that time will ease what I’m going through. I feel angry. I feel hurt. I feel alone. I don’t know if time will help me, but I know you will. I cannot imagine going through this without you holding me up.
Sometimes, Lord, it’s just hard to look at tomorrow, and I just don’t know how I will get through the day without my loved one in my life. Lord, I just ask for you to be here for me. I pray for you to give me strength to take another step. I need you to help me cope with the loneliness and to move forward in my life. Please, Lord, help make each day a little easier. Continue to provide me with hope for tomorrow. I know I will never stop missing my loved one, but I hope that you are holding them closely. Thank you, Lord for always being here for me. In Your Name, Amen.
A Prayer for the Loss of Others
Lord, I come to you know for my friend. I come to you to ask that you provide them strength and comfort in this time of deep need. Their hurt and grief run so deep. I feel so much pain for them, but I can only imagine how hard this time must be for them. I pray that you help them maintain their faith in you during this difficult time.
I know you can be our greatest shoulder, but I also ask that you remain their biggest provider. It is a time when daily life can be so burdensome. Please provide patience from others as they work through their grief. Surround them with understanding so that they can work through all the emotions this loss brought up. In this time when so many things get lost – bills need to be paid, homework needs to be done, etc. – allow those around them to help keep regular life on track.
And Lord, allow me to be a comfort to my friend. Help me be what they need during this time. Provide me with the comforting words, the kindness in my heart, the patience to allow the grief to take it’s course. Let me be part of your light and comfort during this time.
I pray these things in your holy name. Amen.
Last week, someone asked me for a prayer for loss. Then today at work, I learned that the friend of a friend had died the night before, after a short period of illness, at only 37 years old, leaving behind grief-stricken loved ones.
So I felt compelled to offer this prayer, written by Joyce Rupp. May it find its way to anyone who needs it.
From Prayers to Sophia by Joyce Rupp
Prayer 19: Grief and Loss
Companion of the Sorrowing, bind your love strongly, fiercely
to the memories of my loved one that are stored within me.
May they never wear out when death grows distant.
I want to forever honor and cherish the goodness of my loved one’s life.
Guardian of the Grieving, lift up my sad heart.
Let me find laughter in the midst of my loss.
Let me find hope in the midst of my sadness.
Let me find comfort in the midst of my emptiness.
Let me find meaning in the midst of my confusion.
Let me find you, ever-vigilant Beloved, as my shelter and solace.
Sustain my aching heart.