Prayers for grieving

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:

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prayers for grieving

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.

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.

Father, I pray for (name one or more) and others in my circle of family and friends who are grieving… They’re hurting for many reasons, and I ask You to help them through this season of loss. I reach out to You, the Father of compassion and the Source of every comfort, asking You to touch them with Your unfailing love and kindness. Be their God who comforts them as they’re going through their struggles, and bring them through the tough things ahead. Come alongside them in their pain, and strengthen them so they’ll one day be able to help others who face the same struggles. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4; Psalm 33:22; 1 Samuel 20:14a)

You’re close to people whose hearts are breaking, those who are discouraged and have given up hope. May You who see their troubles and grief respond when they cry out. (Psalm 34:18; 10:14a, 17)

When they’re hurting, help them find their joy in You, for it’s Your joy that will be their strength. Help them to trust You as their God of hope. Fill them with Your joy, peace, and hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Help them experience the love, joy, and peace that are the results of His life in them, no matter what they’re going through. (Nehemiah 8:10b; Romans 15:13; Galatians 5:22)

May they sense Your presence in this hour of need. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

APCandles with the names of shooting victims written on them sit at a memorial near Sandy Hook Elementary School

As the grieving citizens of Sandy Hook and Newtown, Connecticut get set to commemorate the first anniversary of the tragic shootings in the local high school, the staff and members of Walnut Hill Community Church have outlined their plans to pray for the healing of their traumatised community.

It is a year to the day since 20 children and six adults died when 20-year-old Adam Lanza rampaged through the school, firing a semi-automatic rifle before killing himself.

Speaking on behalf of Walnut Hill, Adam DePasquale, Pastor of Regional Development said: “There are a number of wonderful remembrance services taking place in the community over the next few days.

“As we began praying and preparing for this season, we felt God’s leading that we were to take the servant role of intercessor. In many ways, this is how we were led in the firehouse on that day one year ago.”

Although speaking with people has been an element of the support, DePasquale said a lot of it had been about being a presence and quietly interceding for affected families, asking for God’s “mercy, comfort and strength”.

He said the simple prayer of the community was “Come Lord Jesus. Come with your hope. Come with your peace. Come with your joy. Come with your love. Come and visit our community this weekend.”

The church will be spending time praying for families and officials by name.

APMourners at a vigil service for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in the days after the tragedy

“The burden of our hearts is that God would release fresh grace and that 12/14 will be different because the God of the universe touched hearts and lives,” he said.

He continued: “Within a few hours of the shooting, hundreds of churches, organizations, companies and individuals contacted the church to offer prayer and support. A church-based ministry fund was begun and to date nearly $200,000 has been received to aid the healing and rebuilding of the community by enabling and supporting long-term community, counseling and school initiatives”

These initiatives have ensured that families directly impacted by the shooting have been supported emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Outward-focused, Christ-centered home groups have been strengthened and mobilised, while a strategic, long-term healing initiative with the town of Newtown is underway.

Relationships have been established that are enabling the local church to walk with families most impacted by the tragedy for the rest of their lives.

Plans have also been established to enable the work of restoration to continue for the next 10 years.

Ginny Simmons takes part in a National Vigil for Victims of Gun Violence just prior to the first anniversary marking the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting at Washington National Cathedral on Thursday Dec. 12, 2013 in Washington DC.

“We are thankful for visits from new and old friends, including author Philip Yancey, the Burpo family (behind the Heaven is for Real book), worship leader Graham Kendrick, Pastor Brady Boyd and the Desperation Band (New Life Church), author Dr RT Kendall and international speaker Kay Warren (Saddleback Church) – all of whom came almost entirely out of their own generosity,” DePasquale added.

“Thousands received encouragement through their visits, and we praise God that more people surrendered their lives to Jesus at Walnut Hill Community Church in 2013 than any other year.”

Family members were among those present at a memorial service at the Washington National Cathedral on Thursday.

”One year after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, we Americans still live with the epidemic scourge of gun violence,” the Cathedral’s Dean, the Reverend Gary Hall, said.

The service was held in remembrance of all victims of gun violence in America.

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