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How To Pray For Someone Who Is Grieving

From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the Bible has been clear that we are ambassadors here on earth. The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 3:20-21 that this is not our real home. Our citizenship here in the USA as Christians is ultimately not as Americans but as citizens of heaven. Jesus also said in John 14:3 that He is preparing a place for us in heaven. That is what makes believers different from unbelievers. We know that our life here on earth is but a temporary and a short one compared to the eternal future that we have in Christ. The way we live our lives is not just because of the present but because of the eternal future that awaits us, whether Christ comes again in our lifetime or our bodies expire. Death is not the end for us Christians. We hope for it because it is where we get to be with Jesus physically. As the apostle Paul said, “to live is Christ and die is gain.” 

Philippians 3:20-21

20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

John 14:3

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

We have to preach Christ to those who haven’t repented yet and trusted His saving work on the cross. We Christians have a greater hope that awaits us when we die. For those who are not in Christ, what awaits them is the wrath of God. That is why it is urgent to preach the Gospel to the lost. 

Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Acts 4:12

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

What is a good Bible verse for grief?

If you know of a grieving Christian, the Bible has several comforting and encouraging verses that you can use to encourage your grieving friend or family member. One of them is from the famous Psalm 23, specifically from verse 4, which tells us that we are not to fear any evil, even though we feel like we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death as we grieve, because Christ, Who is our great shepherd, is with us. His rod and staff comfort us.

Psalm 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Another one is again from Psalm 23 but from verse 6, which tells us that God’s goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives. Even in the season when your friend or family member is grieving, God’s goodness and mercy haven’t abandoned them. These shall always follow them throughout all the days of their lives, whether in the season of laughing or grieving. Another Bible verse that speaks about God’s mercy is Lamentations 3:22-23. It says that God’s mercies are new every morning, but it also tells us that the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases and that He is faithful.

Psalm 23:6

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Lamentations 3:22-23

22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Knowing that God’s love for us is steadfast is a comforting thought to meditate on as one grieves. Some of the verses in the Bible that speak about God’s steadfast love are Psalm 36:7, Psalm 86:15, and Psalm 136:26, which teach us how precious the steadfast love of the LORD is, that we can take refuge under God, and how God’s steadfast love endures forever even in the season of grieving.

Psalm 36:7

How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

Psalm 86:15

But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

Psalm 136:26

O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.

During the season of grieving, sometimes the grieving believer does not feel that God is with them, given what they are going through. In those cases, it is best to encourage them with a verse from Psalm 34:18 and Psalm 147:3, which tell us that God is near to the brokenhearted. God’s presence alone comforts us in the season of grieving, not to mention that He is also the One Who heals our broken hearts and binds up our wounds.

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

Psalm 147:3

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

Lastly, John 11:35 may be the shortest verse in the entire Bible, but it tells us a lot. The context of the verse – “Jesus wept.” – from John 11:35 is that Lazarus had just died, and Jesus was grieving together with Martha and Mary. It shows us that as we go through a season of grieving, Jesus, Who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, is grieving with us and knows exactly how we feel and what we are going through. 

John 11:35

Jesus wept.

What to say to someone who has lost a loved one

It is important to note that the Bible verses above are applicable and addressed only to believers—those whose shepherd is Christ. If the grieving person is not a Christian, then the best thing you can speak to the person about is the Gospel, in which they will find eternal life, the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation, and adoption as God’s children. Only through this can they experience the grace and mercy of God, as shown through the Bible verses above.

The Bible verses given above are some of the best things that you can tell a grieving believer. You can encourage and comfort him or her using the very word of God, which gives life to the spirit. The Bible says that all the scriptures are God-breathed. The scriptures that you use to encourage and exhort your grieving friend or family are all breathed out by God and not merely written by human authors alone.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Another thing that you can tell them is that they are not alone as they suffer through the season of grieving. It is essential to let your friend or family member know that they are not grieving alone. You too are grieving and suffering with them. Let them know that their burdens are also your burdens. That is what being a church community is all about. We bear with each other’s burdens, and we stick with them through times of adversity.

Proverbs 17:17

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Galatians 6:2

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

If the person who died was in Christ, you could also stir them up in joy. Just because a fellow believer and loved one died does not mean that what we should feel is only grief and loss. If we truly know what the Bible says about death, we would be joyful and celebrate because we know that the believer who died didn’t just pass away but instead passed on to glory. He or she is now in the state of glorification, and God’s work in his or her life is made complete in their becoming like Jesus. The believer who died is also already in an infinitely better place because he or she gets to meet their Savior face to face and worship God for eternity. All the things we are looking forward to as Christians are now being experienced by the believer who passed on to glory. Therefore, we may grieve because we will miss the person, but we also should rejoice because the believer is now experiencing the things that we all hope for as believers. We rejoice because they faithfully finished the race God had set before them.

Even when we have lost someone, we can and should still worship God. Job acknowledged that the LORD had given and had taken away, but he didn’t end by saying he would curse God. Instead, he blessed the name of the LORD. No matter what our circumstances are, even in the season of grieving, we worship God for Who He is and not because of our circumstances. We are to ascribe to the LORD the glory that He deserves. In Christ, and by God’s grace, we can bless the name of the LORD even if we have lost someone.

Job 1:21

And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

Psalm 34:1

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

How do you pray for someone who just lost a loved one?

Given everything that we have discussed so far, there are several things that you can keep in mind as you pray for a fellow believer who has lost a loved one. One is your prayer. Pray for God’s grace and mercy upon him or her. Everything that they need – strength, comfort, and perseverance – is all because of God’s grace and mercy in their lives. With that, you can pray for comfort, which is one of the things that they need as they grieve. Pray that they shall turn to the LORD and His word for comfort. You can also pray for joy to be stirred up in their hearts. As mentioned before, a believer’s death is not only something to be grieved but also celebrated since they have now passed on to glory. Lastly, pray for their strength and endurance as they go through the season of suffering, for it is only by God’s preserving grace that they will be able to finish the race before them. 

Here is an example of how you pray for a grieving believer:

Father in heaven, You are the God of grace and mercy, Whose steadfast love endures forever. I pray for [name of the grieving person], that You would give him the graces and mercies he needs as he goes through this season of his life. Thank You because you are merciful and gracious and abounding in steadfast love. Remind him, Holy Spirit, that You are his comforter in this season of his life. I pray that he shall experience your comfort and presence and that You never leave him or forsake him. Also, I pray that You shall stir up joy and celebration in him and other fellow believers. Remember what You said in Your word, that those who pass away pass on to glory, where they get to meet You and worship You for eternity and experience the very things that every believer hopes for. Give him the grace to stay strong and endure his grief so that even in this season, he can do all things through Christ Who strengthens him. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Philippians 4:13 is also one of the verses you can use to encourage a grieving friend or family. It tells us that even in life’s sufferings, we can still do the will of God and live a victorious and dynamic life through Christ Who strengthens us. In times of suffering, the strength that we have is not our very own strength, but God’s. That is why we are to be strong in the LORD.