What can you pray for yourself (if you’re the one who is grieving) or for someone you care about who is mourning the loss of a loved one?
The Bible is filled with God’s words of comfort, all of which you can pray when reeling from the death of someone you love.
Whether you want to find the words to express what’s in your heart, or you want to offer a sensitive, Scriptural, and comforting sympathy prayer for a friend, we’ve put together a beautiful collection of grief prayers for you below.
Prayers for Loss of a Loved One
Broadly speaking, we’ve organized these prayers into four categories. Tap the link to jump to that section:
- For others who are grieving:
- When you are the one who is grieving:
Scriptures quoted are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise indicated.
How to Pray for Someone Who Is Grieving
Prayer is talking to God. He has told us to “cast our cares upon him,” so it is good to do just that. Your grieving friend is weighed down with grief, sadness, sorrow, and an untethered feeling of loss. Ask the Lord to care for him or her regarding those things.
Consider reading a Scripture* to your friend before praying. Simply say, “God’s Word has a lot of comfort to offer. Can I read this verse, and then pray for you?”
*All the prayers below are based on and accompanied by an appropriate Scripture passage. And of course, you can also pray the Bible verse as a sympathy prayer.
Reading a verse or praying a prayer is not a magical cure, but we know that God’s Word is powerful, and His Spirit is present when we pray for one another. These realities can provide much comfort to your friend or family member during this season of loss.
Sympathy Prayers for Comfort
Here’s what you can pray when you are with someone who has lost a loved one. Each sympathy prayer is based on a verse or passage from the Bible.
1. Prayer to Come to Jesus
Scripture: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30
“Father in heaven, my dear friend is heavy laden with grief. The sadness we feel at a loved one’s death is an incredible weight, and the grieving process is just plain hard.
“I ask that you would bear her burden and relieve her from her labors. I also ask that you provide what you have promised, which is rest for her soul.
“You are a gentle savior, and you are lowly in heart. That’s exactly what my sweet friend needs right now. She has been brought low, and needs a gentle friend to lighten the load. I pray that you would do that for her, so that she may find rest even as she mourns.”
2. All Things New
Scripture: Behold, I am making all things new. – Revelation 21:5
“O Lord, you are the God of life. You have created all things for your glory, and though the world is fallen and broken, you sent your Son to heal, redeem, and restore. That work has begun, and while we await its completion, we mourn.
“But we do not mourn as those who have no hope. You have promised to come again. Death will be defeated at last, and you will make all things new. On that day, when we rise to meet you, we have hope that all who have died in faith will be raised up and made new again, in the image and likeness of your Son.
“For this hope, we thank you. I ask that you would help my dear friend to grieve well, and in so doing look to Jesus, the resurrection and the life. In his name we pray, amen.”
3. Call Upon the Lord for Comfort
Scripture: Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. – Psalm 50:15
“O Lord, you told us to call upon you in the day of trouble. Today, we are greatly troubled. Grief can feel so overwhelming, so all-encompassing, so unending, so painful.
“We can’t bear this load on our own. So we come to you. We call upon you: help us to cast our anxieties and cares upon you, knowing that you care for us. Deliver us from these troubles by providing comfort.
“And we thank you for the promise that you will deliver; you will comfort; you will give us rest. As we call upon you, help us to see and feel and know your deliverance, and thus glorify you even as we mourn.”
4. Prayer for Comfort in Loss
Scripture: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
“O Lord, you are the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. You yourself have suffered the death of your only Son. If you did not spare your own Son but gave him up for us all, as the Scripture says, how will you not also with him graciously give us all things?
“Your Word says that you comfort us in our affliction. We call upon you to fulfill that promise – not that my grieving friend here would no longer grieve or no longer miss [decedent’s name], but that in this sorrow she would be comforted by you. If your hand give it, and if we know that you have promised to do so, then we also know that the comfort you provide will be good, and true, and sure.
“Please comfort. Please give hope. Please wrap your arms around my dear sister today as she mourns. May she share abundantly in the grace, love, and comfort that only you can provide.”
Related: 50 Comforting Sympathy Prayers
5. Psalm 23
Scripture: One of the most cherished and comforting sections of the entire Bible, you could simply pray through Psalm 23. Tell your grieving friend, “I’d like to just pray through Psalm 23 for you. Would you join me and make this your own?” Then begin praying something like this:
“Father in heaven, your Word is sufficient for our every need. Right now, my dear friend needs comfort. Here is our prayer; please make these truths a reality in our lives:
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
“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.
“You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
6. Prayer of Compassion
Scripture: For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love. – Lamentations 3:31-32
“Lord, thank you that you have compassion for us. Your Word says that your compassion is according to the abundance of your steadfast love. You loved us so much that you sent your only Son to die for us, for our sins, so that we – by faith in his name – might live before you. That’s a lot of love!
“So if your steadfast love is that great, then we can be sure that your compassion for us is just as great, no matter what we are suffering. As my friend [name] grieves, and maybe even feels like you have cast him off, I ask that you would hear his cry.*
*Exodus 22:27, “And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.”
7. Prayer of Blessing
Scripture: May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. – Numbers 6:24-26
“O God, you are the God of blessing. As Paul wrote, you have ‘blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.’* I ask that the blessings of these verses would be true for my friend.
“In her grief, may you bless and keep her. As she mourns, may you make your face to shine upon her and be gracious to her. In her sorrows, may you lift up your countenance upon her, and give her peace.”
8. Condolence Prayer
Scripture: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. – Psalm 147:3
“Dear Lord, you’ve told us to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Today we are here, sadly, for the latter. Our sister in Christ is brokenhearted over the death of her [husband/mother/friend/etc], and our hearts break with hers. As part of the church – your body – we are all wounded at the loss of a beloved member.
“So we weep together. Jesus himself wept at death; it is no shame. It is right to grieve and mourn and be sorrowed when a loved one dies. We ask of you, Father, that you would be with us all as we mourn. Show us a special grace as we seek to comfort one another with the hope we have in the resurrection of Jesus.
“And please be present with [grieving person’s name] in her time of need. Heal her broken heart as she mourns. Bind up her wounds until the pain of loss becomes a holy desire to see her loved one again, with your perfect timing, in your presence. We ask that you would console and comfort our sister, strengthen her faith in sorrow, and help the rest of us to love her well during this trying time.”
9. My Grace is Sufficient for You
Scripture: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. – 2 Corinthians 12:9
“O God of all sufficient grace, we look to you in this time of sorrow. You tell us to call upon you in the day of trouble, because you will answer and deliver so that we may glorify you.* From our vantage point, we may not see how this death and this grief glorifies you.
“But we call to you in obedience and faith. May your grace be sufficient for my grieving friend. May your power be shown to be perfect in this time of loss and weakness. Bring healing, comfort, and peace. Bring your grace. You have promised that your grace is enough for whatever the need may be.
“Hear our prayer, for the need is great. When we are weak, you are strong. Be glorified in our lives as we mourn, yet walk in faith. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
10. Prayer of Trust in the Midst of Grief
Scripture: The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. – Psalm 9:9-10
“Our Father in heaven, we come before you weighed down with grief. I’m grieving alongside my friend at this great loss. I know that, as Psalm 9 talks about, she is feeling oppressed and forsaken, steeped in trouble and in need of a stronghold.
“You are that stronghold. O Lord, you are a stronghold for the oppressed. You have not forsaken those who seek you. Today, together, filled with grief and in the midst of this trouble, we seek you. Your name is a strong tower; we know it and therefore put our trust in you.
“Be our stronghold. Protect my friend from despair, shield her from oppression, grant her comfort in the midst of her grief. Thank you that you are her shield, her strong tower, her stronghold. We lay these troubles before you in faith, and trust that you will protect and save.”
11. Sorrow and Sighing Shall Flee
Scripture: The ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. “I, I am he who comforts you.” – Isaiah 51:11-12
“O Lord, we know that your hand is sovereign over all things. It is you who determines our end from our beginning, and it is you who sets the span of our days. Even so, it is you who comforts us in our troubles.
“You gave us a promise that your ransomed people would return to you with singing, with everlasting joy and gladness. You promised that one day, sorrow and sighing would flee away. Through Christ, we have a real and true hope that that day will come. One day, all things will be renewed and we will be so glad to be in your presence forevermore.
“Until then, there is a time to grieve, to sorrow, and to sigh. This is that time. As my friend mourns, please reveal yourself to be the Comforter. You said ‘I, I am he who comforts you.’ So we cry out to you and ask that you would fulfill this promise. Be present, bring your hope, and bring comfort. We ask this in the name of Jesus, amen.”
12. Benediction Prayer
Scripture: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. – 2 Corinthians 13:14
“O Lord, we lift up our dear friends before you and ask that you would be with them in a special way as they mourn the loss of their loved one.
“May you bless them with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that they would grieve deeply yet with hope. May you show them the love of God, that their souls would be comforted in your fatherly arms. And may you surround them with the fellowship of your Holy Spirit, that their loneliness would be tempered as your body, the church, and your Spirit minister to them and support them in this trying hour.”
13. He Will Wipe Away Every Tear
Scripture: He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. – Revelation 21:4
“Father, we pray for those who have suffered the loss of one who is dear to their heart. The tears are many, for death is a great adversary and the devastating reality of this life.
“Yet through the cross, in death and resurrection of Christ, death has been defeated. We have your sure promise that one day you will wipe away every tear from our eyes. There will be no mourning, nor crying, nor pain, for all these things will pass away in your life-giving presence.
“Today, please give a foretaste of that beautiful consolation. Comfort those who mourn with the presence of your Holy Spirit, with the promises of your Word, and with the love of your people.
“We ask this in the name of Jesus our Lord and Savior, in whom all the promises of God find their Yes.* Amen.”
*2 Corinthians 1:20
Prayer for a Grieving Friend or Loved One
These prayers offer guidance on how to pray for your grieving friend or loved one throughout the week, as you engage in your daily prayers or as this person you care for comes to mind.
Print or write out copies of these prayers to keep in your Bible or prayer journal. You can also tape them on your bathroom mirror, in the car, near the kitchen sink, etc., as a reminder to pray for your grieving friend.
Feel free to adapt the words to include your loved one’s name and unique situation.
Related: 12 Stages of the Grieving Process
14. Prayer for Those Who Mourn
Scripture: Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. – Matthew 5:4
“Bless those who mourn, O Lord, and fulfill the promise of your Word that they would be comforted.”
15. Prayer for the Lord to Hear Our Cries
Scripture: Then you shall call and the Lord will answer; you shall cry and he will say, ‘Here I am.’- Isaiah 58:9
“Father, I pray for my grieving friend who is crying out to you in grief and sorrow. I ask that you would answer and say ‘Here I am.’ You are a shelter from the storm and a stronghold for the oppressed. Your wings are a safe and shielding refuge. Your presence restores, heals, and makes known to us the path of life.
“Thank you that you hear our cries. And not only do you hear, but you respond with such rich grace. Come in your healing, comforting presence, that my grieving friend may know your peace, joy, and love.”
16. Sorrow Turned to Joy
Scripture: Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. – John 16:20
“O Sovereign Lord, today I weep and lament as I miss my loved one. You acknowledge that in this life we will be sorrow, yet you also promise that this sorrow will be turned into joy.
“Right now, I certainly don’t feel that way. Yet I believe – help my unbelief! For my joy, you have sent the Comforter even now. And for my joy, you sent the Savior to weep, sorrow, and suffer in my place that I might rejoice. If I weep at night, give me joy in the morning.
“Let me rest in the thought of your love: the pardon for sin granted to me by faith in Christ’s work, my adoption into your family and title to heaven, my future unspotted (and ungrieving!) state.
“There is no joy like the joy of heaven. O healthful place, where none are sick! O happy place, where all live fully unto you! In this hour of sorrow and grief, give me a deep yearning for heaven, a holy disquiet for the things of this world, yet a rich satisfaction and contentment in Christ.
“And bring me speedily to that land where my sorrow is turned to joy.”
Note: Some phrases have been adapted from the Valley of Vision, “Joy.”
17. Prayer for Waiting
Scripture: The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. – Lamentations 3:25-26
“O Saving Lord, my heart cries out to you as I am deep in this season of mourning. When will this sadness end? When will I feel ok again? I do not want to forget my departed loved one, but at the same time I cannot bear this load of grief forever.
“So I come to you and ask that you would renew my strength. Give my heart courage, and help me to trust in you as I wait on your salvation. Save me from this grief, so that I may have joy in you once again, and be able to sweetly remember my loved one.
“Your Word says that it is good for me to seek you, and to wait on you with a quiet heart. Help me to do this, and give me hope during this season of waiting. Help me to grow in faith, trusting you for all things, and let me know more of your compassion and steadfast love.”
18. Prayer for Comfort
Scripture: This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. – Psalm 119:50
“Your promises are full of life. As my friend mourns this death, what she needs more than anything is your abundant life. Provide comfort in her affliction by helping her to meditate on your promises:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)
“These are just some of the many life-giving promises that are hers in Christ. Grant her these precious and very great promises, and let her know your comfort today. In Christ’s name I ask this, amen.”
19. Prayer for Grace to Endure
Scripture: For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. – 1 Peter 2:19
“O gracious God, please grant my friend endurance in the midst of this great sorrow. From our earthly perspective, she does not deserve to suffer this loss any more than anyone else. Even still, help her to be mindful of you and endure in faith as she grieves.”
20. Prayer for Eternal Glory
Scripture: For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
“Lord of Eternity, today I pray for the soul of my grieving friend. Her affliction of grief is profound and deep and genuine, yet we know it is transient. Because of the resurrection of Christ, there will be a day when you wipe away the tears from our eyes as death is swallowed up in victory.
“Help her to see that this is a light, momentary affliction in comparison to the eternal weight of glory that is to come. As she mourns, turn her eyes to Jesus.
“May she look not to the things that are seen, but to that which is unseen now, yet will be our eternal reality. Set her mind on things above, so that she can find peace and joy even in the midst of this grief.”
21. Prayer for Submission to the Lord in Life and Death
Scripture: For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. – Romans 14:8
“O Lord, life and death are in your hand. Our departed loved one is in your hand, as is my grieving friend. Whether we live or die, we are yours.
“I come before you today and ask that you would help my friend submit to your sovereign hand in life and in death. We did not want this grief and loss, but in your perfect plan you have permitted this death and called our loved one to yourself. And you’ve called us to continue on in this world. So please help my friend live by faith, counting every breath as a blessing, looking forward to being with you one day, yet also living fully for your glory.
“Take these tears and griefs and sorrows. Bear that load so that my friend could grow in faith, love, and peace even in this trying time. Grant an easy yoke, a light burden, a mourning that can truly turn to joy in your good and gracious hand.”
22. Prayer for Strength
Scripture: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
“O God, you are the God of all strength and all hope. This promise is sure, and I ask that it would be true for my grieving friend.
“Help him to fear not, knowing that you are with him. Take away his dismay in the knowledge that you are his God. Grant strength and help in the midst of the pain of grief. Uphold him with your righteous right hand.
“I ask this in the name of Jesus and in accordance with your Word. Amen.”
23. Prayer for Hope
Scripture: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” – Lamentations 3:22-24
“Father, my friend is grieving today. A great love has gone from her life; may your steadfast love prove true to her.
“As she mourns, show your mercy afresh to her every morning. As her heart bursts with the pain of sorrow, show your faithfulness. As she grieves the loss of a dear part of her, be her portion, her source of hope.”
24. Prayer for Those Who Grieve
Scripture: Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. – Psalm 5:1-2
This prayer is adapted from William Jay, Prayers for the Use of Families.
“My King and my God, help me to feel the connections which unite me to others in your body. Today, I come before you on behalf of those who grieve. By sympathy, prayer, and praise, make their miseries and mercies my own, that I may rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.
“Make the widow’s heart to sing for joy; and in you, may the fatherless find mercy. Visit those who are on the sickbed, and prepare them for your pleasure: that if they live, it may be to serve you, and if they die, it may be to enjoy you.
“Protect and refresh your people through the night season, and cause us to hear your lovingkindness in the morning. For in you do we trust; cause us to know the way we should go, for we lift up our souls to you.”
25. Prayer for Grieving Friend
Scripture: And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19
“O God who abundantly supplies every need, I come before you on behalf of my grieving friend. In a time of mourning, needs are great. In sorrow, bring peace. In despair, bring hope. In loneliness, bring the comforts of your Spirit. In sadness, bring healing and joy.
“In the name of the one who bore our griefs and carried our sorrows, I ask that you would grant every need of my mourning friend, according to your riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Amen.”
Prayers for Loss of a Loved One
Here are prayers to help you come before the Lord as you remember, celebrate, and honor the life and faith of your loved one even as you mourn their death.
These prayers are from the standpoint that your loved one was a believer in Jesus Christ. Prayer #31 was written for when the person you are mourning was not a believer.
26. Prayer of Grief, Yet with Hope
Scripture: But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
“O God who raises the dead, who has secured our eternal state through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as we trust in his saving work, help me to grieve the loss of my loved one, but not like those who have no hope. Your Word says that my believing loved one has ‘fallen asleep’ and will wake on that day when you bring those who trust in Jesus to yourself in glory.
“That is a great hope. My loved one will live again, because Jesus died and rose again. So my grief is not because of a forever loss, like those who have no hope of resurrection. I miss my loved one, and will continue to do so and look forward to the day when we will awake and see each other again in your presence.”
27. Celebration of Life Prayer
Scripture: Adapted from Ephesians 1:11-21
“God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, help me to not cease to give thanks for the example of faith I have in my departed loved one.
“As I remember and celebrate their life, I bring my grief to you in my prayers. I ask that you may give me the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Christ. Having the eyes of my heart enlightened, help me to know what is the hope to which you have called me. Reveal the riches of your glorious inheritance in the saints, especially as I contemplate the rich life and deep faith of my loved one, and display the immeasurable greatness of your power toward us who believe.
“Do this according to the working of your great might that you have worked in Christ when you raised him from the dead and seated him at your right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
“My loved one is with you now, enjoying a much greater life in your presence than ever they lived here on earth. Their inheritance is secure in Christ, and because of that I rejoice and give you thanks. My inheritance is equally secure, having been predestined according to your purpose as you work all things according to the counsel of your will. You have sealed me with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of your glory.
“So I can remember and celebrate my loved one, giving thanks to you in my prayers. Above all, I remember and celebrate the work of Jesus Christ, who has been raised from the dead by your great might and is seated at your right hand, having prepared a glorious inheritance for all who believe.”
28. Resurrection Prayer
Scripture: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25-26
“Lord, I believe that your resurrection has conquered death and granted life to all who believe in you. Though my loved one has died, yet [s]he shall live, and in that life by faith shall never truly die. I believe this, even as I mourn. I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.
“After you spoke these precious words to Martha, you went to the grave of your friend and wept. So I know that today, here, with me, you weep alongside me. Nothing can outweigh the truth of the resurrection that you have secured for us by your work on the cross, but this present grief is real and raw and difficult, just as your grief was real at the death of your friend.
“And just like you raised Lazarus from the dead, so, too, will my loved one rise again. Through faith in your name, all who believe in you shall live and never die. Thank you for the hope you have given us in the Gospel.”
29. Nothing Can Separate Us from the Love of God
Scripture: For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39
“O Great God, there is nothing that can separate us from the love you have for us in Christ. Not this present grief, not the frailty of our bodies, not even life or death. Your love for us endures through and over all things. I can rest in the promise that my loved one is secure in your love by faith in Jesus Christ. And I can grieve knowing that through all my ups and downs you love me still.”
30. Prayer for Renewed Joy
Scripture: Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. – Psalm 30:5
“O Lord, you’ve taken my joy from me. My dearest one is gone from this life, and I am left with pain and sorrow, questions without answers, emptiness and loneliness. My tears flow for sadness. I don’t see healing or happiness anytime soon. I’m not even sure I can bear the thought of being happy again; somehow it seems wrong in the face of the tragedy of death.
“Yet your Word says to have hope. I believe that death has been defeated in Christ (though I do not feel that victory right now). I believe that you have a plan and a purpose for all things (though I can’t fathom why that would include this loss). I believe that in Christ you bore our pain and griefs and sorrows (though I sure feel heavy-burdened right now). Help me through this, O God of Help, sustain and restore me.
“Your promise is that weeping may tarry for the night, but joy will come in the morning. I do not know how long this night will last, but I believe you Word – help my unbelief! Uphold my spirit in this pain and grief, and lead me through the valley of the shadow of death into streams of living water, to a place of peace, love, hope, and even joy. Even as I mourn the passing of my loved one, help me to see the dawning of a new day in Christ.”
31. Prayer at the Loss of a Loved One Who Was Not a Believer
Scripture: The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:10-12
“You have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” – John 16:22
“O Lord, I am doubly grieved over the loss of my loved one. I love and miss them, and am deeply saddened at their death and absence from my life. I also mourn because, as one who did not repent from sin and trust in Christ, I cannot hope to see them again in your presence. This is a deep sorrow, a great loss, and an ever-present weight upon my heart.
“Our time on earth seems so brief. In my days in this life, which are soon gone, how often do I truly stop to consider your great glory, holiness, majesty, power, and wrath? The reality is that our souls are in your hands; our lives are accountable to you for every thought and deed, and you are preparing an ‘eternal weight of glory’ for those who trust in you, even in our sufferings. So teach me to number my days, that I may get a heart of wisdom. Help me to grow in the midst of this sorrow.
“I take comfort knowing that one day you will make all things right and be shown to be perfectly just and righteous and good. On that day my heart will rejoice with a joy that no one can take away. Until then, Lord, use this grief to increase my longing for heaven, to do your will, to magnify you in this life, and to see you face to face that my joy may be full.”
More verses to meditate on and pray through regarding the death of an unbeliever:
Genesis 18:25 / Revelation 21:4 / John 14:1-6 / Psalm 144:3-4 / Psalm 103 / Psalm 90:1-3, 9-12
32. Prayer for Loss of Mother
Scripture: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. – Psalm 116:15
“Father in heaven, I am so saddened at the loss of my mother. She is so dear to my heart, and it is so comforting to know that she is precious to you. Thank you that she trusted in you in this life. Bear her up to the place that you have prepared for her as an adopted daughter, clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
“You are gracious, preserving the simple and hearing our cries. I am brought low with this grief; save me, according to your great mercy! Teach me to believe, to give thanks, and to worship, that I may live in some small way by the example of faith that my mother left for me.”
33. Prayer for Loss of Father
Scripture: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. – 2 Timothy 4:7-8
“Heavenly Father, I thank you for the life of my dad. He fought the good fight, he finished the race, and he kept the faith. You have laid up for him a crown of righteousness, not because of his own merit but because he loved the appearing of Christ, in whom is every merit and in whom we trust for our righteousness and redemption and eternal life.
“Teach me, O Lord, to walk in the example set by my father. To trust in you above all, to treasure your word, to serve others, to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, to keep the faith to the very end. That’s the sort of life I want to lead, Father, for your glory.
“So thank you for my dad. I mourn his passing, but look to you in hope, knowing that someday we will be together again in your presence, with all pain and sorrow behind us, full of life and perfected in the worship of you.
“Until that day, help me to walk in faith, fight the good fight, and finish the race myself, walking in the footsteps of my dad’s example of faith, and, best of all, in the footsteps of my Savior.”
Related: Sympathy Quotes for Loss of Father
34. Prayer for Loss of a Beloved Relative
Scripture: Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. – 1 John 3:2
“O Lord, I thank you for the life of my dear relative. As a believing child of God, I know that one day we will see each other again, being made like Jesus and living forever in your presence. This is a great hope that gives comfort even in this time of grief.
“I bring my grief before you, Lord, and cast it at your feet. Give me growth and healing and a renewed sense of your presence with me even as I mourn. Help me to remember my relative with joy, walking in their example of faith and love for you.”
35. Prayer for Loss of a Child
Scripture: Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 19:14
For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. – Psalm 18:28
“O Lord, even in the darkest places you can provide light. As I grieve my precious little one, give hope and healing and grace. As I remember, flood my heart with sweet memories and precious thoughts of your tender care. As I look to you in faith, reveal to me more of the light of Jesus.
“You have said to the let the little children come to you, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. Thank you that your arms are open wide to my little one.”
36. Prayer for Miscarriage
Scripture: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6
“O God of all compassion, our faithful Shepherd and strong Refuge, I am broken at the loss of this little one I never got to meet. My heart hurts and I do not understand your purpose in this.
“Help me, O Lord, not to lean on my own understanding but to trust you with all of my heart. Help me not to be bitter against you but rather to hate the curse of sin that brings all this brokenness into the world. Make my path straight, so that I do not cling to the false gods of anger or resentment or self-reliance but actually turn to you, knowing that your arms are open and your invitation is to come to you and cast my burdens upon you.
“O Lord, there are no words for what I feel right now. But you understand my sorrows, and you know the desires of my heart. I cling to you in hope, for where else would I go? You bless those who mourn, you wipe away our tears, you light a lamp in the darkness. Right now I mourn, I cry, and I am in darkness. All I can do is come to you and ask that you would bless and heal and comfort.”
37. Prayer for Loss of a Spouse
Scripture: Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:28-31
“My grief is great, O Lord. You know how much I love my spouse. You know the depths of my heart – My soul is bereft of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is. My endurance has perished, and so has my hope from you.*
“But this I bring to mind, and therefore have hope: Your steadfast love never ceases. Even in this loss, your mercies never come to an end. Make them new to me, let me see your faithfulness, be my portion and my hope.**
“I am exhausted, but you have said that as I wait upon you, you will give strength. Lord, you have vast, measureless stores of strength and wisdom, comfort and love. I ask for your comfort and strength. I don’t know how to live life without my dearest. So please, be here with me, wrap your arms around me in love, lead me and guide me.
“In the midst of this sorrow, I put my trust in you.”
Related: Sympathy Messages for Loss of Wife
38. Prayer for Loss of a Frienda
Scripture: He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. – Isaiah 25:8
“O Lord, I will exalt you and praise your name, for you have done wonderful things. My friend was a gift from you; their life was one of the many wonderful things that you have done, and for the privilege of knowing them I praise and thank you.
“Yet I grieve because death is always tragic. It’s an indication of how broken this world is, in great need of your salvation. My friend is in your hands, and I trust you and am thankful that they knew Jesus, but I am still saddened and sorrowful. I long for the restoration of all things, for the day when we will no longer grieve but rather celebrate, with a great feast in your presence full of rich food and well-aged wine.
“One day you will remove the veil over all peoples, and we will see clearly your purposes and your glory. You will swallow up death forever, wipe away our tears, and take away all disappointment and disapproval to be replaced by gladness and joy at your salvation.
“So today I remember my friend, mourn their loss, and look to you in hope of the promised restoration of all things. I lay my burdens down at the feet of Jesus, who bears our sorrows and griefs, and I set my trust in the One who defeated death forever. Until that day when we shall see you face to face, I must walk by faith. Increase my faith, Father, and and be glorified in my life even as you have been glorified in the beautiful life of my dear friend. In Christ’s name I pray, amen.”
These prayers offer words to express what you are feeling inside, while asking for healing and renewal of your spirit.
39. Prayer of Sorrow
Scripture: Slightly adapted from Psalm 88; we encourage you to read and pray the whole thing. What could be a better prayer than to express your grief with God’s own words?
O Lord, God of my salvation,
I cry out day and night before you.
Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry!
For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to the realm of the dead.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am one who has no strength,
like one set loose among the dead,
like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
for they are cut off from your hand.
You have put me in the depths of the pit,
in the regions dark and deep.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
and you overwhelm me with all your waves.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call upon you, O Lord;
I spread out my hands to you.
40. Prayer to Express Your Grief
Scripture: Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing. – Psalm 31:9-10
“O Lord, please be good to me even as I grieve. I am in distress. My eyes are wasted from grief, from crying, from being tired. My soul and body feel wasted. It seems like my entire life is gone, spent out in the death of my loved one and in the depth of my sorrows. I think of the years ahead and can only see more sorrow and sighing.
“But I trust in you. Even though my feelings are churned up through distress and grief, I confess that you are my God, and my times are in your hand. Rescue me! I don’t want to forget my beloved or cut short my grief, but I ask that in the midst of this you would make your face shine on me, and save me in your steadfast love!
“The Psalm says that ‘you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help.’ I am grieving; I am sad and wasted and spent. Give me strength and courage and hope as I wait on you.”
41. Prayer for Help in Time of Loss
Scripture: I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1-2
“O Lord, we call upon You in our time of sorrow. We ask that You give us the strength and fortitude to bear this heavy burden of grief, until we can again feel the warmth and love of Your divine compassion.
“Be mindful of us and have mercy on us while we struggle to comprehend life’s hardships. Keep us ever in Your watch, until we can walk again with light hearts and renewed spirits.”
42. Prayer for Anxiety
Scripture: Cast all your anxieties upon him, because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7
“O Lord, my world has been turned upside down. I’m distressed, restless, sad, lonely. I am suffering grief, sorrow, and anxiety at the loss of my dear one.
“Your word promises that ‘after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.’*
“That’s what I want, Lord. While I don’t ever want to forget the memory of my loved one, right now I feel sad and broken, and I long for healing, restoration, and strength. You said that you would provide these things, so I ask you to do it.
“So I cast my cares and anxieties upon you. I know that you care for me. You’ve called me to come to you, with the promise that your burden is easy and light, and that I will find rest for my soul** in you. I come to you in faith, trusting your Word, laying my burdens at your feet.
“Be glorified in my mourning, as I miss my loved one but look to you in hope.”
*1 Peter 5:10
** Matthew 11:28-30
43. Prayer for Consolation
Scripture: When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. – Psalm 94:18-19
This prayer is adapted from William Jay, Prayers for the Use of Families.
“You are the blessed and happy God. My foot slips, and the cares of my heart are many, but your steadfast love holds me up, and you can cheer my soul with your consolations even now.
“Teach me to place my happiness in yourself. May I prize the light of your countenance, find the joy of your salvation, and in all circumstances be able to say, ‘Whom have I in heaven but you; there is none upon earth I can desire but you.’*
“You have been infinitely more attentive to my happiness than I have ever been. You made mankind perfectly happy and free from death, yet by our own voluntary transgression we fell away from you, our source of cheer and joy and consolation. But you did not treat us with the severity or neglect that we deserved. Rather, in your love, you were pleased to provide for us a Savior, who bore our griefs and carried our sorrows, and put away sin by his sacrifice of himself.
“Apply this redemption to my heart. Justify and sanctify me unto yourself, O source of all blessing and joy. I confess my sin – have mercy on me. I am heavy laden – give me rest. I am ignorant – make me wise unto salvation. I am helpless – make your strength perfect in my weakness. I am poor and needy – bless me with the unsearchable riches of Christ. Help me to run and not be weary, walk and not be faint.
“And through this perplexity and trial, guide me to travel on, unchecked and undismayed, knowing that you have said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ In Jesus’ name, amen.”
44. Prayer for Grief and Sadness
Scripture: It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. – Ecclesiastes 7:2-3
Note: Dear mourner, I believe this Scripture passage is about how loss makes us (the living) meditate on our end and “lay it to heart.” When our loved ones die, it can cause us to think deeply about the meaning and purpose in life. “Sorrow is better than laughter,” not because sad things are objectively good but because the purpose of grief is our good, that we would be conformed to the image of Jesus.
If we lay to heart the fact that we will all perish and stand before the Lord one day, that will change how we live our lives for the better. This is how the heart is made glad by sadness of face, and that is what this prayer is about.
“O Lord, as I think about the death of my loved one I am saddened. My heart is troubled and grieved because I miss them so much. And while I believe that you are in control and that you love me, I don’t always feel that right now.
“Your Word says that this time of grief and sadness is good for me. That somehow, in all of this, my heart will be made glad. I can’t see that far ahead and I certainly don’t feel glad, but I’m going to choose to trust you.
“Please use my grief for your glory. Teach me to number my days; to meditate on the purpose of my life; to know that my days are but a passing shadow (Ps. 144:4). Help me to lay these things to heart, that I might remember and treasure the days I had with my loved one, that I might draw closer to you as you walk with me through this trial, and that I might experience growth in faith and purpose in life even through my time in the house of mourning.”
45. Prayer for Strength When Grieving
Scripture: My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word! – Psalm 119:28
“O eternal Word, who is the lamp unto my feet and the light unto my path, I come before you pleading for strength. I am sad, and my heart is weighed down with grief. This weariness goes deep into my bones and sinks into my mind. There are times I can’t concentrate, and I don’t want to deal with the things around me. I don’t want to get up but I can’t sleep. It’s true: My soul melts away because of my sorrow.
“Help me, O God of all grace and comfort. I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your Word!* Remind me of your precious and very great promises.** Give my mind clarity so that I can focus on the words on the page; grant me remembrance so I can meditate on Scripture throughout the day and find the courage and fortitude that you provide.
“Hear my mourning cry: Strengthen me according to your Word!”
**2 Peter 1:4
46. How Long, O Lord?
Scripture: How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? – Psalm 13:1-2
“Lord, in this sorrow it seems like you have forgotten me. I feel that you have hidden your face from me, and that there is no end in sight to my grief and pain. From my perspective it appears that my enemy, death, has triumphed.
“Consider and answer me, O Lord my God. Enlighten my eyes, lest I too sleep the sleep of death, and lest my faith be shaken.
“But I have trusted in your steadfast love. My heart shall rejoice once more in your salvation. Help me to see how bountifully you have dealt with me, how great your steadfast love has been to me, and how secure is my salvation in Christ. Strengthen my faith, that I may once again sing to you.”
47. Prayer of Longing for Heaven
Scripture: For in this tent [i.e., body] we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling… we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. – 2 Corinthians 5:2, 8-9
“Lord, I have to admit that I am restless and unsatisfied. I miss my loved one. There are times I truly wish I was in heaven too. I know that longing for heaven is a good thing, so please keep my mind set on things above where Christ is.
“Yet also help me to find contentment and joy while you have me here in this world. I groan, I grieve, I long to put on our heavenly dwelling, but I also want to be faithful to your while I am here. Lord, my aim is to please you. Grant me peace as I still so greatly miss my departed one. Help me to live in such a way that my thoughts and actions please you, even as I long to be with you and be reunited with my loved one.
“Use my grief for your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
48. Prayer for Healing After a Loss
Scripture: To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. – Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)
This prayer is inspired by The Valley of Vision.
“O great I AM, fill my mind with thoughts of your glory. For you are a Being for whom one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years are as one day. You are the mighty God, who, amidst our despair at the lapse of worlds, feels no variableness, but is glorious in immortality.
“May I rejoice that, while we here on earth experience death, the Lord lives. That, while all creates are broken reeds, empty cisterns, fading flowers, and withering grass, he is the Rock of Ages, the Fountain of living waters.
“So turn my heart from vanity, self-centeredness, from dissatisfactions, and from the uncertainties of the present state, to an eternal interest in Christ. You have promised a crown of beauty for ashes; joyous blessing instead of mourning; festive praise instead of despair. In this, let me remember that life is short and unforeseen, and is only an opportunity for usefulness for your own glory.
“Give me a holy hunger to redeem the time, to be awakened for every call to charity and righteousness, that I may feed the hungry, clothe the naked, instruct the ignorant, forgive the offender, spread the gospel, and show neighborly love to all.”
49. When My Heart is Faint
Scripture: Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. – Psalm 61:1-2
“Today, Lord, my heart is faint. I am weary and fatigued and sad and lonely. I feel like I’m all the way at the end of the earth, far from anyone and everyone. I feel lost and hopeless.
“So I cry out to you. Please listen to my prayer: As your Word says, I call out to you when my heart is faint. I am weary and heavy laden. I don’t know what to say or how to express the other than to say that I want to reach the high ground of the Rock that is higher than I.
“Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! All this, the unsettling mix of grief and emptiness and turmoil, I lay at your feet. Bring me to the place where I can sing your praises again. Be my rock, my refuge, my strong tower.”
50. The Man of Sorrows
Scripture: He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. – Isaiah 53:3-5
“O Lord, you know me like no other. You’ve been despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. You’ve known what it’s like to have people avoid you and hide their faces from you.
“In my sin, I’ve even done that to you. But ‘while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ You have borne my grief and carried my sorrows. You were smitten by God and afflicted. You suffered in my place – you were pierced for my transgressions, you were crushed for my iniquities, and you were chastised and wounded so that I might have peace and be healed.
“Help me to treasure you today. Bear my sadness and help me suffer well. Be not only my example but also my Savior. Increase my faith, so that I can trust in you even when things don’t make sense. Heal my wounds and bring me peace. I ask this in the name of Jesus, amen.”
What is a good Bible verse for someone who lost a loved one?
There are so many comforting Bible verses that it may be difficult to choose just one or two. We’ve listed many passages in the prayers above, and here are some of the choicest fruits.
For a card or note
A brief Scripture that both affirms grief and offers a promise of comfort would be Matthew 5:4: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Another might be Psalm 116:15, which reminds us, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.“
To read with a grieving friend
I’d start with the famous passages from Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my shepherd”), Matthew 11:28-30 (“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden”), and John 11, where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead after both permitting his death and grieving for him.
Others to share would include Psalm 31, Psalm 46, and 1 Corinthians 15.
To read if you’re the one grieving
Any of the Scriptures mentioned above would be helpful to read through, meditate on, and pray. Use any of the verses from the prayers, and especially the three passages mentioned in the previous paragraph.
The two Psalms express a wide range of emotions, from wasting grief and the feeling that everyone is treating you weirdly (Psalm 31) to confidence in God as a saving refuge even as the world around you is in upheaval (Psalm 46).
The 1 Corinthians 15 passage is a theology of death, culminating in the triumph of Christ over death through his resurrection – very comforting!
These are longer passages meant for study and contemplation. I think that’s where the surest and best help is found. For shorter passages to write in a card or offer along with condolences, see this list of Comforting Bible Verses.
What are some other ways to comfort a grieving friend?
One of the best ways to comfort someone is to simply be with them. You don’t need to say anything. If you do, here are some suggestions for what to say and what to avoid.
Don’t treat your friend with kid gloves or like they are volatile or breakable. Just treat them as you normally would, being sensitive about what they are going through right now.
As for more practical ways to support and serve them, here is a big list of 83 thoughtful ways to help and comfort your friend.
Are there Christian grief support groups or counselors?
Absolutely. Check with your local church to start, then here are two additional resources:
Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC). Counselors certified by ACBC are trained to bring the truths of Scripture to bear on all of life, whether it be personal or relationship problems, a desire to grow and change, depression, sinful habits, and, of course, grief and loss. Find a counselor near you here.
What are some good ways to express sympathy and condolences?
Praying with your grieving friend is a wonderful way to express sympathy at the death of a loved one. If the time isn’t right to pray together, here are 101 meaningful condolence messages for the funeral, sympathy cards, or to text to your friend.
Can I share or quote these prayers?
Absolutely; you can freely use any of these prayers for private use or to share with friends. To post on your website or share publicly, please link to this post and provide attribution.
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