What are some things you could pray for when grieving? During a time of deep sadness and grief, how could one pray for comfort and strength?
In the wake of losing my wife, my spiritual practices and disciplines were disrupted. Prayer was no exception among others. I knew about grief but had never experienced the depth of the disruption that grief brought to my spiritual practices and my faith in God. It was a big deal to me because faith is a core part of who I am and what I do.
Most of my adult life has been spent in the movement of the Pentecostal Church. We are known as “happy-clappy” people. Prayer also plays a major role in our religious practices. Our default prayer volume is energetic and loud; we pray all kinds of prayers.
I felt disappointed and hurt by God’s lack of intervention to save my wife from dying. I simply didn’t have any words for him and didn’t want to speak with him.
During one of my long walks, I remembered a scene from one of the rom-com movies Chidinma and I had seen. It’s a classic scene from most romantic comedies.
It is a common characteristic of romantic comedies to show how couples reconcile after a fallout.
Lets set the scene:
Imagine a girl named Shade and a guy named Wale. Things were going well, but then things went south. Next, let’s jump directly into the makeup scene, skipping the fallout scene.
It’s a clear, cool evening; Shade and Wale are walking through a park, they’re having a heated discussion, a bit more back and forth. A poignant moment occurs shortly thereafter when Wale stops walking and opens his arms very wide. Now, what do you guess is going to happen next?
(What happens next depends on which movie you’re watching. For example, Nollywood, Bollywood, Ghollywood, and all others)
Back to our scene…..
This plot features Shade with tears in her eyes as she walks toward Wale and begins to pound his chest repeatedly with her hand. Over time, the force, frequency, and speed of the impact decrease. Shade sobs, Wale is apologetic..
Rain begins to fall at this point in some movies. I will let you finish the ending of that movie.
Communicating our hurt is essential in a relationship with friends, colleagues, partners, especially when it’s a valuable relationship. Communicating our hurt with God is no different from that.
I have shared that to say that like Shade I need to express and direct my disappointment, hurt, and betrayal to the person who hurt me to let him know how I felt.
During the acute phase of my grief, I prayed for the Holy Spirit to comfort me. My only prayer during the four months following the death of my wife was, “Holy Spirit, please help.”
Several months later, I discovered a new way to pray, which was to journal my prayers in the notes app on my phone. Sometimes, I simply wrote, “Lord, you betrayed me.” Other times I wrote nothing at all.
Twelve months after I began to keep a prayer journal, I read all the prayers I had written into my phone and listened to them. I found the experience comforting. The sensation was soothing and satisfying like drinking a cold bottle of water on a warm summer afternoon.
During the depths of my grief, I wrote prayers that have brought me comfort and strength. In the midst of grief, prayer can be a wonderful tool to ease your pain and sorrow.
In memory of my wife Chidinma Olajide, I have selected this extract from my grief prayer journal. This is my gift to anyone who is mourning and grieving the death of a loved one. I hope you will find great comfort, strength and healing in these grief and loss prayers. May they soothe your sorrow, bring comfort to you in the midst of your grief, and lead you toward healing.
Prayers for Comfort & Strength when Grieving
Transcript from Intimate Prayers for grief and loss
Why would the one person I trust the most let me down? Lord, I feel betrayed by you and my trust in you has decreased significantly.
You assured me that you would never abandon me. You promised that you would never let me down, that you would never disappoint me.
You promised to be there for me when I was in need. You promised to be there for me In the midst of my most desperate moments, you seemed to ignore prayer calls. I feel let down.
Lord, you already know my unfiltered thoughts. You ghosted me just when I needed you. You allowed the death of my spouse, Chidinma
I still believe you’re God, but my trust for you is fragile and is hanging by the thread. You have brought me into this creepy valley of death’s shadow, taking me in an unknown direction. Your silence in this time of grief is deafening. Could you please bend down to listen to my prayers and voice?
I, as well as my circle of family and friends affected by my wife’s passing, are in desperate need of your comfort. Please provide us with the comfort we desperately need both individually and collectively.
Thank you for the people you surrounded us with, for the tremendous support we have received following the death of my spouse. Would you please pour out an immeasurable amount of blessings on all who prayed, gave financially, gave emotionally, and gave their time and energy?
This pain. This sadness. This loneliness and this sorrow that accompany my grief are unbearable.
This grief is relentless and persistent. I know you want me to release my emotions to you and to others. My prayer is that you will give me the courage to be real with you and others and to embrace your healing power.
Please pray for me, Holy Spirit, for the things I would pray for if I knew everything you knew.
You know that my trust in you is currently shaky. Please rebuild it in your own way. I want you to know that there will be times when you will have to do some extra work on my heart.
There will be times when you will be my last choice of person to speak with. And there will be times when I’ll run to you desperately. All in all, you do you and I do me.
Would you please help me embrace my grief rather than fight it, so that I may experience the true healing that comes from you. I cannot bear the aches brought on by my yearning and pining for my spouse.
Saviour of my life, the pressure seems unbearable, but it hasn’t crushed me. Thank you. I am confused and overwhelmed, but I don’t intend to give up. Thank you. I am constantly distressed. My life has been shattered, yet I am not destroyed. Again, thank you very much.
Holy Spirit, I give the remaining chapters of my life to you. Receive my broken heart. May your grace be added to my broken heart. I eagerly await the day when this mourning will be turned into joy. I am looking forward to when this sorrow will be exchanged with comfort and rejoicing.
Lord, I did not want a new life. My old one was fine before the loss of my wife, but I understand that going back is not an option. Holy Spirit, please help me to move forward in my grief. Give me the courage to embrace you, seek you, and grow in this new life.
Thank you for making me wonderfully complex and being able to handle me just as I am
Fill my mind with Your perspective, and let my loss and suffering contribute to something good for others who are going through grief and loss.
As the tsunami of emotions and sadness crashes uninvited on the shores of my heart without order and without warning, please remind me by your Holy Spirit that this is common during grief and help me. Help me not to sink into this sea of grief.
Please give me comfort and strength. My heart is broken, but I rely on You for strength. Please open my eyes so I can learn from You.
My God, please draw me closer to you and give me the courage to hope and trust in you once again. The weariness in my heart needs your support. Bring me to the place where I can rest from this heavy burden, and soothe my aching heart.
This grief totally sucks. The waves of grief continue unabated. Holy Spirit, I don’t know how long these twists and turns of grief will take, let me lean on you throughout this grief journey as I cling to you for support.
Please help me to continue walking toward You with an open heart and mind. Please remove the poison of bitterness from my life, and I want to see your good work in this situation.
I pray for the faith of those who stood in the gap for the healing of my loved one, Chidinma, whilst she was in the hospital. I pray that the Holy Spirit will strengthen and encourage their faith, especially since the outcome we saw was not what we expected.
Engage them in a deeper walk with you, and if any of them are struggling, could you please reach out to them with your everlasting arms?
Heaven knows how much I miss my love, Chidinma. Everything reminds me of her, every walk reminds me of this new life without her. Each time I hear about someone losing a loved one, my heart is broken again. It’s becoming harder and harder for me to deal with such news. Please strengthen my heart. I know this loss of loved ones is inevitable but I can’t bear this anymore.
Please, Holy Spirit, release unto me more peace, mercy, and love? I pray that the God of hope will fill me with all joy and peace in believing.
Holy Spirit would you help me grieve wisely, I am slowly learning you understand my hurts and my needs.
Holy Spirit, show me your ways. During this time of grief, Father, guide me in your truth; teach me your paths, for you are my Lord, and my hope rests with you continually.
Lord I need your help urgently, please help me.
I am slowly learning to trust you in the areas where I do not understand, where I cannot see the whole picture or simply where I do not have answers. Lord, I know that yours is the glory, power, and honour forever and ever.
You promised to be a father to the fatherless and a husband to the widows. Taking my perspective into account, you would have to be a mother to the motherless and a wife to the widower.
I invite you to fill every void in us. Will You minister to us in Your own supernatural way and equip us with the strength and grace we need, especially for today?
My wife’s absence from the house leaves the house completely empty. I pray and trust you will fill our home with your presence and warmth.
I am grateful to God for the lovely gift of our children, the legacy of my wife (Chidinma), and the heavenly gift of comfort and joy.
Holy Spirit, do not allow collateral damage to happen to our children. I need you Holy Spirit to protect them, to protect me. Shield us.
I need you Holy Spirit to protect me from every wolf that poses as a sheep, and from anyone who seeks to exploit my vulnerability.
I ask you to guide and guard every thought, conversation, action, and inaction I make and say on every emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and economic level? Please heal me and protect my wellbeing.
Please guide me through this new territory. Holy Spirit, please give me the strength to forgive. Remove the root of bitterness.
Please seek out any doubts, anger, unforgiveness, greed, lust, jealousy, fear that I hold in my heart. I place them in your hands so that I can journey from them to a deeper relationship with you.
In this moment, I commit myself and my grieving process to you. I believe that your grace and power will carry me throughout this grieving journey. I ask You, Lord of peace, to come to my rescue whenever I am both surprised and confused by my emotions.
During these times, let me rest in the peace of Your presence. May I have the courage to express my feelings freely?
Again Holy Spirit, please pray for me—for the things I would pray for if I knew everything you know.
Holy Spirit, there have been times in my grief when I have cried out for your urgent help and it appeared that there had been a delay in responding, was it that my cry didn’t reach you, or was it that you were too busy to help me?
I know you as my ever present help in time of need, please keep on helping me to understand that your strength, stability, security are much more than just a feeling inside.
Holy Spirit, there are decisions I must make daily, some simpler than others. I hope you will give me the courage, the strength, and the wisdom so that I can make the right choices.
Through your grace, Father, I can survive this grief. Please open the doors of help for me and give me the strength to walk through them.
You are my light. My light is found in you, my glory is in you, and you are my everlasting light. I won’t be scared of any bad news, because I know I can trust you to take care of me and my family.
Let your full work be done in me, Lord. Receive my cry and help me understand your word. Please hear my prayer and fulfill your promise to deliver me.
I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide me throughout this grieving process so I will not miss out on any lessons you intend me to learn. Lord, we both know that if I had a choice, I would not have chosen this grieving path.
This path filled with loneliness, sorrow, and anxiety; nevertheless, I receive it. I ask for your guidance and assistance to help me learn the lessons I can only learn in grief.
Holy Spirit, would you please survey my innermost parts, shine your light in there and make sure that I only allow you and the Father’s will to be woven deep within me? Please show me how to respond to my grief in a way that is healthy and that honours you.
As David explains in Ps 23:4, I know I too will walk through my grief fearlessly because you are with me, and Job also shared in Job 29:3 that by your light he walked through darkness. I know that too, by your light will walk through this darkness of grief.
As I listen to your voice, Holy Spirit, expand my discernment, strengthen my hearing, grant me courage, and give me the boldness to follow your voice.
In your glorious power, Father, give me patience and endurance to endure whatever comes my way. When I feel like I’m going backward instead of forward, Holy Spirit, help me to stop trying so hard and rely on your strength and support instead.
Could you please send me help for my secondary losses resulting from the loss of my loved one? You know my abilities, talents, and limitations. You are ABBA Father, pour into me everything I need to be a Godly parent.
Help me discern your plans for our children, teach me patience, sacrifice, responsibility, protection, provision, love, compassion, kindness, and nurture. Fill me with the fruit of the Spirit.
Please allow me to be a loving parent to our children, raising them in godliness, teaching them to walk, lifting them, and building their character in Christ.
As a shepherd tends to his flock, Father tends to us. Please take us into your arms and hold us close to your heart, as you promised to lead me gently as you led those with young in Is 40:11.
Make my heart bigger so that I can reach out more often. Give me the desire to develop a love for humanity that inspires me to give and care for others even when I don’t know them. I ask the Lord to help me be more giving with what I have and more trusting with what I don’t have.
Open my ears to hear you today, Holy Spirit, fill me with your presence, move through me, and intercede with the father on my behalf. Come Holy Spirit come. Come Jesus come.
Lord, teach me how to be available and present to our children. Please show me how to remove the stressors in their lives.
Please help me speak to my children honestly and share my grief when the time comes when they begin to ask questions. Please help me to be available and approachable.
I ask for your help in remaining truthful yet compassionate, and in keeping the lines of communication open. Help me encourage them to ask questions.
Father would you please smoothen the road ahead and brighten the darkness on this new unfamiliar grief journey you’re taking me through? Please do not abandon me.
Lord I lift up my eyes to the hills, I lift my eyes to you, Lord I look to you. My help, I won’t be overwhelmed, give me vision, keep me from focusing on the negatives teach me to keep my eyes on you.
Father, I receive Your strength and courage today. I will not be afraid or panic about the future or about how things will work out because you have assured me that you will personally go with me.
Holy Spirit, I do not know the words to pray. Please intercede on my behalf since you know exactly what I need. Now I bow before you with a listening heart. May I experience the fullness of your spirit within me? Please lead me in your way.
As I develop new patterns of living, renew me with wisdom and knowledge. Boost my confidence in the areas I find challenging.
Could you please help me overcome doubt and increase my trust and faith in your ability to act and work in my circumstances?
I am grateful to you, Father, for all the love and support I have received from family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers since the death of my loved one. My prayer is that you will be loyal to them as well by rewarding them with your steadfast love. Let them also be rewarded for their good work.
My times are in your hands. Please guide me. Guide me through every moment of this day. Thank you for the gifts you have given me. Would you please order my life according to them?
My prayer is that You will empower me to see You, to choose a perspective aligned with Yours, as well as to own the journey You have given me.
Father, please help to help me understand things from your perspective. I pray that the Holy Spirit opens my eyes to see through Your eyes and love.
I pray that my roots will grow deep into God’s love and will keep me grounded. I hope to experience the love of Christ in ways too great for me to fully comprehend. I know one thing for sure: I will be made whole with all the power and fullness of life that comes from You.
Father, I accept your comfort. Right now, I open my arms to you and feel safe in your loving embrace. Please fill my heart with your comfort so that it pours out on others.