It’s never easy to know what to say when a friend is grieving; whether they are grieving over the loss of a relationship, the end of a career, an unexpected physical disability or the death of a loved one or pet. Anyone experiencing grief deserves to be treated with empathy, kindness and respect. Our prayers and friendship can bring some comfort, but ultimately, it is God who brings true healing.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV 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.
As a start, we must be careful not to minimise their anguish by saying something insensitive and unhelpful such as;
- “There must be a good reason for this.”
- “Cheer up and be strong.”
- “You need to compare yourself with other people, and see how lucky you are.”
- “Think of the good memories and be happy.”
- “You need to get over it.”
- “Don’t cry or let your emotions show.”
A prayer for someone in grief
“Dear Heavenly Father,
I stand before Your throne with my friend during this painful time. We ask that Your Holy Spirit ministers to (friend’s name). Thank you that You have loved, and watched over him/her from the beginning of time.
Psalm 141:8 ESV But my eyes are toward you, O GOD, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!
Thank you, Jesus, that You experienced grief when You came to be with us on earth. You also proclaimed that You came to bind the brokenhearted and that You empathise with our pains.
Isaiah 61:1 ESV The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
Please soothe our broken hearts! Thank you that we can cry out to You, and You always welcome us into Your arms. This hurts so much and it seems impossible for the pain of this loss to be relieved. Please lift us up when we feel so weak and disheartened. Help us experience more of Your comfort and peace during this difficult time. Thank you, God, for being the source of all comfort.
Psalm 34:18-19 ESV The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
We don’t always understand how You work, but You do ask us to trust You. So please help us with all the changes that come with this loss. Please continue to gently guide (friend’s name) through all the things he/she needs to take care of and send people to help (friend’s name) at each point. We thank you that You promise to provide for our needs and to never leave or forsake us. One day, we know we will have everlasting joy.
John 16:22 ESV So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
In the meantime, please be the strength of our hearts!
Psalm 73:26 ESV My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Thank you, Lord.
In Jesus’ name, we pray, amen!”
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