Prayers for Grief: How to Pray for a Loved One Who is Grieving
When someone you love is grieving, it can feel difficult to know what to say or do for them. Grief must run its course, but you can be a much-needed source of support during this time. There are many ways to show love and support through the grieving process, and prayer is one of the most prominent.
Many people appreciate knowing that their friends and family are praying for them during their time of grief. If you’re looking for some guidance on offering prayer to someone you love who has lost a loved one, read on.
Consider Their Faith & Cultural Background
When discussing prayer with your friend or family member, keep their faith and cultural background in mind, as different faiths and cultures honor death differently. They may have specific practices they follow, or they may not observe a religious practice at all.
Communicate with them from a place of sensitivity and awareness before you engage them in a deeper discussion about prayer.
For example, one person may welcome having someone to sit and pray with them. On the other hand, another person may prefer for you to tell them you’re sending love and light. Prayer and faith are an individual practice, so bear that in mind when approaching your loved one.
Let Them Know You're Praying
Sometimes, simply letting your friend or family member know that you’re praying for them is an incredible comfort. People who observe regular faith practices, and even many who don’t, recognize prayer as a gift of time and remembrance from those they love.
Besides knowing you remember their grief, they also know you remember their loved one who has died. Praying for someone after a death is one way of showing them that you not only deeply empathize with them and want to comfort them however you can. It also lets them know that you cherish their loved one’s memory.
Ask What They'd Like Prayers For
In some cases, it can be helpful to ask your loved one what you can pray for. People grieve in different ways, and each individual may have a different answer about how they feel most supported. Knowing what specific things to ask for can help you to offer a prayer that’s well-suited to their needs.
Don't be surprised if they ask prayers for their remaining family, and if they request a prayer for a soul to rest in peace. Praying for peace for all can be a safe bet, no matter what your religion is.
Ask If They'd Like to Pray Together
Some people take great comfort in praying together with a loved one. If you’re comfortable praying alongside your friend or family member, ask them if they’d like for you to pray with them.
Sometimes, praying together means sharing a silent prayer. Other times, people prefer to be prayed over--meaning, they might like you to speak the prayer aloud as they listen in silence. They might ask you to lay a hand on their head or shoulder, or they might not want physical touch at all. Additionally, some people like prayer to feel more conversational. In other words, everyone in the room might take turns speaking during the time of prayer.
Gift Them a Prayer-Centered Book or Sympathy Gift
Depending on your loved one, you might choose to not only pray for or with them, but to also gift them a token that’s a reminder of the comfort prayer brings. If your loved one observes the Christian faith, for example, you might want to give them a special Bible, prayer book, or devotional book that contains prompts for healing grief over a period of time.
You might also want to present them with a gift that reminds them of the divine love surrounding them, even through times of loss. Items such as a memorial cross with the Broken Chain verse, guardian angel memorial necklace, Heaven throw, or a guardian angel stepping stone for their memorial garden can all be reminders of the divine comfort of prayer.
Grief Prayers & Religious Quotes That Can Bring Comfort
Are you looking for specific prayers that you can include on sympathy cards, sympathy gifts, or even to share on a phone call? Or are you looking for prayers for the loss of a loved one that you're missing?
Here are a few common religious sympathy prayers and religious verses that may bring comfort.
Christian Prayers for Loss
- You bless those who mourn, and I trust You to bless me and my family with all that we need. Matthew 5:4
- I thank my God every time I remember you. Phil. 1:3
Jewish Prayers for Loss
“Magnified and sanctified be the great name of God throughout the world which He hath created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom during the days of your life and during the life of all the house of Israel, speedily, yea, soon; and say ye, Amen.” —From The Mourner’s Kaddish
“God, full of mercy, who dwells in the heights, provide a sure rest upon the Divine Presence's wings [...] Therefore, the Master of Mercy will protect him forever, from behind the hiding of his wings, and will tie his soul with the rope of life. The Everlasting is his heritage, and he shall rest peacefully upon his lying place, and let us say: Amen.” —From Kel Maleh Rachamim
Buddhist Prayers for Loss
Through your blessing, grace, and guidance, through the power of the light that streams from you:
May all my negative karma, destructive emotions, obscurations, and blockages be purified and removed,
May I know myself forgiven for all the harm I may have thought and done,
May I accomplish this profound practice of phowa, and die a good and peaceful death,
And through the triumph of my death, may I be able to benefit all other beings, living or dead. –The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Islamic Prayers for Loss
- Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un (Verily we belong to Allah, and truly to Him shall we return). —Traditional prayer
- He is An-Nur (The Light), Al-Fattah (The Opener) ask Him to illuminate this darkness and open a path for you that is best for you. –Prayer & Dua
If you're looking for more prayers for comfort, you can see a full list here.
One of the most beautiful things about prayer is that it transcends religions, social constructs, and lifestyles. For many people all over the world--of different faiths, backgrounds, cultures, and societies--prayer is a universal source of comfort, strength, and support.
Sometimes having religious or commonly-used cultural lines of prayer or sympathy quotes can help, but you can also pray without any quotes at all. Talk directly to your god, the universe, or whatever you believe in and ask for peace, comfort, and healing for everyone involved.
Sympathy gifts containing prayers for loss can bring great comfort to those who are grieving. You can see our collection of gifts here.