Losing a loved one is undoubtedly one of the most painful experiences a human can walk through. There are no words that even come close to describing the immense grief and sorrow.
Losing a loved one is a much too familiar concept for me. I was introduced to death at the age of 12 when my grandma passed away. She was one of, if not the closest person to me, so losing her to cancer flipped my world upside down. Five years after my grandma passed away, at 17 years old, I got the news one ordinary Tuesday morning that my 18 year old brother died in his sleep the night before from a one time use of heroin. And 5 years after that, 5 months ago nearly to this day, my dad passed away after a long battle with sickness.
When my brother passed away, I knew of the Lord but I didn’t have any sort of personal relationship with Him, but by the grace of God, his death was the very thing that led me to Him. Thankfully, I’ve spent the past 5 years in an intimate relationship with Him which didn’t remove the devastation of losing my dad, but it did allow me to be comforted in a much deeper way than I would have been if I didn’t know Him. If we are in Christ, we have the opportunity to be comforted by the Holy Spirit.
Spending time in prayer while walking in grief from losing a loved one is one of, if not the most important thing we can do for ourselves in our process of grief. It opens our eyes to the things of God and allows our ears to be in tune with His voice. The enemy will undoubtedly attack, and prayer is the most powerful weapon we can use against him.
Because I know I’m not the only one in grief from losing a loved one, I decided to share some of my prayers that I’ve prayed in the recent process of losing my dad. My hope is that you can take these prayers and use them as a guide for your own prayer life and mourning process. I encourage you to save this post and come back to it when you’re at a loss for words or need guidance for what and how to pray.
Sozo prayer was started in 1997 by Bethel Church. “Sozo” is a Greek word that the ministry’s founders, Dawna DeSilva and Teresa Liebscher, two leaders at Bethel, say is found in the New Testament 110 times. The word is translated as “to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue.” Liebscher defines it specifically as “to be made whole.”
As one of the founders of sozo says, “Sozo is not counseling, it is not a prayer ministry, it is a team of people going in helping you make that connection with the Godhead and thus have a place to go to deal with all the issues and crises that will happen with you. It is also a deliverance ministry, because once you go in and heal the wounds and lies, heal the reasons why the demonic thinks it has legal access, the demonic has to leave, and that’s in essence what deliverance is.”
What Happens During Sozo?
During sozo, there is a leader and usually a second person. The second person is writing all of the things that the Lord reveals during sozo so that the person receiving can walk out with a written record of what the Lord spoke. The person receiving keeps their eyes closed to remove distractions and so their complete focus is on God and what He is speaking/showing them. Some people see visions or some people hear the Lord speak. Everyone communicates with the Lord differently.
Sozo prayer sessions are deeply healing because they get to the root of the trauma. It invites the Father into the voids that the loved one left when they passed, and it opens spiritual doors for deeper healing.
“This Sozo tool roots out lies we believe that cause us to experience emotional pain greater than our circumstances warrant. We invite the Truth in the person of Jesus Christ to speak into places in our hearts where these ungodly beliefs were formed. Once Jesus speaks truth, emotional wounds are healed, and our present circumstances are no longer so painful,” a basic Sozo training handout from The Freedom Resource website details.
Sozo has been deeply healing for me personally because it’s devoted time to meet with the Father as He speaks over you, your pain, and your situation. In my experience with sozo, the Lord gave me visions that I’ve been able to use as a comfort even months after it happened. It’s an incredibly powerful tool that we should take advantage of.
Heart as a Home
Heart as a home was adapted by Robert Boyd Munger in his book “My Heart Christ’s Home.” He says “Without question one of the most remarkable Christian doctrines is that Jesus Christ Himself through the presence of the Holy Spirit will actually enter a heart, settle down and be at home there. Christ will make the human heart His abode.”
I did this with a prayer ministry one time and like sozo, there was a leader and a second person who was the scribe. I sat with my eyes closed and asked the Lord to enter into the home of my heart and heal whatever it was that needed to be healed. He took my hand, walked me upstairs, and walked me into a room that was encased in darkness. As soon as He stepped foot into the room, the darkness fled and began beaming with light. Now most of the vision is deeply personal, but this is a small example of heart as a home.
Heart as a home invites Jesus to settle down and make His home in our hearts, and it is by far one of the most deeply intimate and healing things I’ve ever done for myself and my healing process. You can do this yourself by asking the Lord what areas of the home of your heart need to be healed and trust that He will take you there and minister to it, or you can do this with a safe person that you trust. Either way, I highly encourage doing this with the Lord.
Read more about heart as a home here as Robert Boyd Munger shares his experience with it.
Ask the Lord to Show You Where He Was
This has been an incredibly healing prayer for me in my personal process with grief. I remove all distractions, turn on soft instrumental music, close my eyes, and ask the Lord to show me where He was in the process. For me, I asked Him to show me where He was when I received the news. For you, if you were with your loved one when they passed, it might be to ask the Lord where He was when it happened. Maybe He’ll show you a picture of Him holding you as you receive the news, speaking comforting words over you or maybe He’ll show you something completely different. It’s personal for everyone, but it’s deeply healing to see firsthand that even if you didn’t feel it at the moment, He was there comforting you, ministering to the deepest pains of your heart.
Be honest with your prayers. The Lord already knows what You’re feeling and what You need, and He’s not scared of your emotions. But even if the pain is much too overwhelming and you can’t even find the words to pray, that’s okay. Romans 8:26 tells us that the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Here are a few prayers that either I have prayed in my time of grief or that I’ve found to be useful in the grieving process that can help be a guidance for you in your prayer life.
Death Isn’t the End
Lord, I thank you for the truth that death doesn’t get the final say—it is not the end that you have in store for us. I thank you that while we’re still on this earth, we haven’t yet entered into our true home and Lord, I thank you for the promise that someday You are coming back for us to make all things right once and for all—a day where death, grieving, and mourning will be no more. In Jesus’ name, amen.
He Intercedes on Our Behalf
Lord, there are no words in any human language that can express the deep sorrow I feel from the loss of my loved one. But I thank You that Romans 8 promises us that You are a God who prays for us and intercedes on our behalf when my sorrow is too deep even for words. I thank You that You’re faithful to comfort me and I trust that You are still ministering to the deepest pains of my heart even when I don’t feel it or see it. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Our Pain Won’t go Wasted
Lord, I thank you that You never let a single fragment of our pain go wasted, but You use it for the furtherance of Your Kingdom. I pray that through my grief and sorrow, You would use me to lessen the grief of somebody else who loses a loved one. I thank You that You are a God of compassion, and You never delight in watching us suffer but You long for us to come to You and let You be the healer of the deepest and darkness hurts of our hearts. I thank You that when we offer the sorrow to You, You don’t take it away from us but instead, You use it to refine us to look more like You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Lay the Grief at His Feet
Lord, the grief is overwhelming and much too painful for me to handle right now, so I choose to lay this grief at Your feet and to give You the burden that You long to carry for us. I know that death and grief is a part of living in a broken and fallen world, but I cast my burdens at Your feet because I know that You tenderly care for me and don’t want me to carry this burden alone. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Invite Him In
Lord, I invite You right now to enter into the deepest aches of my heart, and I invite You into this process of grief. Come and take over my thoughts and the sorrows of my heart, giving me eyes to see You at work in this dreaded grieving process. Make Your home in my heart today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Prayer of Surrender
Lord, this isn’t the way I wanted things to go, but I surrender my own will for Yours, trusting and knowing that You are faithful and know what’s best for me since You created me. I surrender the anger, the pain, and the sorrow to You right now so You would have Your way. I thank You that Your ways are higher than mine, and You know much better than me. I unclench my fists to let go of whatever it is that I’m clinging to and surrender it to You so that You may have Your way. In Jesus’ name, amen.
For Jesus to Comfort
Jesus, You know what it is like to feel that God has abandoned you. You know pain and loss better than anyone else. Come to us now and let me feel your presence. I know that You are close to the brokenhearted and comfort those who mourn, so help me to let You into my grief, to give You my anger and doubt. Jesus, pull us me of the void and fill it with You and You alone. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Heavenly Father, by your power Christ conquered death and ascended in glory. I pray that you will give me the blessing of peace in the midst of my grief at the loss of my loved one. Jesus died and rose again, and is seated at your right hand, interceding for your people. I ask that you would bring comfort to my weary heart. I thank you for the memories I have and pray that you will show me the path of life, and the fullness of joy in your presence through all eternity. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Draw Near Prayer
O Lord my God, you are my refuge and strength in times of trouble. Meet me in my sorrow and lift my eyes to the peace and light of your compassionate hand. You have promised that you are near to the brokenhearted and close to those who are crushed in spirit. Draw near to me Lord and may I find comfort in your presence. Give rest to my troubled heart and replace my fear with faith. You are eternally gracious, merciful and caring. Send your Holy Spirit to comfort me in the light of your glory and grace. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Prayer for Compassion
Faithful Father, I thank you that you are the Lord of life. I praise you that we are made in your image, reflecting your truth and light. Have compassion on my grief Lord and fill my hearts with thanksgiving to you. I wait with eager anticipation for the resurrection of the dead at the return of Jesus Christ. I thank you that I will share with all your people in a world with no sin, pain or death. I long to see you face to face and be reunited with my loved ones. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Prayer to Renew My Trust
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of life. Renew my trust in your Son, who you raised from the dead. Strengthen my faith that all your people who have died in the love of Christ will share in his resurrection, who lives and reigns with you, now and forever. I thank you for the life of my loved one who has departed to be with you. I am grateful for every memory of love and joy, for every good deed and every sorrow shared. I thank you for the rest in Christ he/she now enjoys. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Prayer for Comfort
Father, grant me gospel joy; help me to rejoice in Christ even as I grieve. Envelope me with the peace and comfort only you can provide. As the days move into months, may this burden lessen. As the months move to years, use me to encourage and bless someone else who must walk a similar path. Help me to point them to you as the God of all comfort. I know that you are always with me and that your love never ceases. Help me to find refuge in you and nowhere else. In Jesus’ name, amen. – Christina Fox
From Sorrow to Joy
Dear Lord, Thank You that there is healing in Your presence. I call on Your Name now, Jesus, and invite The Holy Spirit to come near and touch me with Your healing balm. I release my sorrow to You, and I ask You to fill every void in my heart with Your peace and love. Thank You for my loved one’s life on earth and for the time I had with them. I release them to You, entrusting You to care for them for all eternity, knowing that I will see them again in Your timing. I choose to praise You at all times. Thank You for healing my heart. I love You Jesus. In Jesus’ name, amen. – Margaret D. Mitchell
For the Broken-Hearted
I know you tell us you are close to the brokenhearted, but I don’t feel you. I feel lost, hopeless, abandoned. My spirit is crushed, but I don’t feel as if you are rescuing me. I need you. I need you to draw me close. I need you to lift my spirit, to rescue me. I need you to take my grief and give me a spirit of joy. In Jesus’ name, amen. – Dena Johson
A Prayer for Joy After Mourning
Dear Lord, help me accept the difficult circumstances in my life. Thank You for staying by my side, even when the hardships of life seem to have come between us. I hand You my heartache today, and I trust You to use my pain for a greater purpose in others’ lives. Lord, you are my strength and my shield. You are my protector, my warrior who goes before me and behind me. I know I must learn to release my fears, my doubts, and trust you, trust you to fight the battles only you can fight. It’s only by trusting you, by turning my heart toward you and believing the promises of your Word, that I can find joy again. I know you will turn my mourning into dancing, that you will again clothe me with joy. I don’t know how. I don’t know when. But I choose to believe, to trust your word, to belief your truth. In Jesus’ name, amen. – Dena Johnson
Comforting Scriptures for When Someone Dies
An important part of the healing and grieving process from losing a loved one is knowing and dwelling in the living and active Word of God. It has many meaningful and powerful scriptures that can be used for comfort. Here are a few of them that have been the most comforting to me in my grieving process.
“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
“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; and it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” – 1 Corinthians 15:42-44
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18
“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”‘ – Matthew 5:4
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:3
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
“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 tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” – 2 Corinthians 5:8
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who are asleep.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15
“If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” – Romans 14:8
If You’re Someone Grieving the Loss of a Loved One…
If you’re someone grieving the loss of a loved one, please remember that the pain is temporary, but we serve a God who is not. Grief comes in waves that we may never understand and it will always be there while we’re residing on this broken and fallen earth, but please allow yourself to be comforted by the Holy Spirit during this difficult time. I encourage you to also ensure that you are in good community and have a good support system, because we’re not meant to live this life alone, especially during the hard times.
Feeling the messy emotions of grief is scary and painful, but please remember that the healing process will come a lot faster if you allow yourself to feel when your body is telling you to feel and grieve when your body is telling you to grieve. You cannot heal what you keep hidden.
Here is a list of 115 helpful websites on grief that may be of use to you, including websites that help with grieving children, grieving from a miscarriage, grieving the loss of a parent, grieving the loss of a spouse, etc.