Finding Comfort in Prayer

Grief is cruel and seemingly relentless. If you are mourning a loved one’s death, no one can tell you that you will emerge from your grief, healed and refreshed, in six weeks or six months or a year. Grief, you see, operates on its own schedule. Your pain won’t be constant, however – it will ebb and flow, and you will learn to take comfort where you can find it.

There will be times when you want to cry out in rage, when you feel so alone…when you just need someone to talk to…when you want to cry until there are no tears left. Many bereaved people find prayer to be a source of comfort in such times. It doesn’t matter if you go to church every week or consider yourself to be a religious person. The power of prayer is available to anyone, of any faith, as well as to those who have no faith – and those who are still seeking.

Turning to a Higher Power in times of sorrow and need is human nature, and prayer in one form or another has been around since ancient times. Whether they know that Power as Jesus, Yahweh, Allah, or Mother Nature, people of all faiths look to the God of their understanding as the source of life, and when life ends, all creation returns to its Creator.

Dispelling Myths About Prayer

Prayer doesn’t have to be formal, long, or eloquent; prayer is simply conversation with God. Some people pray only in church, but you can pray anywhere – at home, at work, as you walk through a park. It doesn’t matter whether you stand, sit, or kneel to pray. You can pray any time of the day or night, alone or with others, silently or aloud. Prayer requires honesty, and little else.

Prayer needn’t follow a strict formula of praise or petition, adoration or gratitude. Your prayer can be as simple as a heartfelt conversation with a friend. Think of your best friend, who would do everything in her power to comfort you, if only she could. You don’t have to believe in God, but if you can accept the idea that there just might be a Power greater than yourself, you can allow that Power to wash over you and comfort you in your time of sorrow.

How to Pray

If you are familiar with prayer, you may find it very natural and easy to turn to God in your grief. Even some active churchgoers, however, find that faith eludes them in their grief. And then there are those who aren’t accustomed to praying. If you are one of those people, you may be wondering where to begin.

The following suggestions, based on themes familiar to anyone who has ever lost someone they love, are meant to get the conversation started. Keep in mind, though, that this is your prayer, and the words, thoughts, and feelings will come from your heart once you begin.

  • Pray for God’s presence. God is everywhere, but sometimes we can’t feel God’s presence. When you are ready to pray, take a moment to breathe deep and be still. Then pray to feel God’s presence to soothe your soul.
  • Pray your anger. When you deny the anger you feel, it festers like a boil inside of you, and healing can only begin when you let it out. If you feel angry, don’t hold back – God can take it.
  • Pray your sadness. God knows the secrets of your heart, including the sorrow you bear. Talk to God about the loneliness you feel, the emptiness, the hopelessness. Let it all out as God’s comfort wraps around you.
  • Pray to let go. Sometimes people hold onto their grief, fearing that in letting go, they will lose the connection to their loved one who died. Ask God for the courage to let go of all that holds you back from healing. You will still have your memories to keep your loved one in your heart.
  • Pray to begin again. People who are grieving may be afraid to return to work, enjoy the activities they used to enjoy, or begin new relationships. They may be wary of returning to “normal” because they see “normal” as somehow disloyal to the loved one who died. When you pray, ask God to give you the strength and courage to begin your life again, free of guilt. Your loved one would want you to be happy, and God does, too.
  • Pray for guidance. The death of a loved one leaves more than an empty space in your heart. You may be overwhelmed with choices and decisions to make. Ask God to guide you as you make the decisions that will build your new life.
  • Pray your gratitude. Grief is hard work, but it’s not all sorrow and pain. When the tide of pain is at an ebb, consider all you have to be thankful for. Thank God for your loved one’s presence in your life, for the friends and family who have sustained you since your loved one’s death, for the warm sunshine that greeted you when you awoke this morning. Gratitude and hope go hand-in-hand.

Your Experience with Grief and Prayer

Do you have a story about grief and prayer? Please share your experience here to give hope to others.

Discuss: Finding Comfort in Prayer

One Response
  • My mother was 42 when she died from a 10 year battle of cancer. I was 17, she was my best friend. Th e night before she died I went to visit her as I came closer to her room I could hear her crying and yelling from the pain by now what started out as breast cancer was now in her bones and brain. I walked in her room and they had her arm tide down to the side railings of the bed. My heart was so hurting from seeing my mother like this. I could not help her they only gave morphine at certain times. I know when I told her I loved her she wouldn’t understand. As I left the room my grief swept across my spirit and in place that the hurt couldn’t of gotten worse. She died 2am that next morning. The loss of my very best friend left me with such loneliness, this grief would
    come and go any time or day. Our first christmas, my graduation, my marriage, my child being born. I had prayed for God to put someone in my life who would of been like my mother. It took years but one day as I was on my way to work as a school monitor, I was crying as I was driving down a snow covered street, sad about being in a loveless marriage, wishing to be able to talk with my mother. Now as I was driving I heard a voice that said to help someone I ever looked in my back seat to see if someone was there. The street was empty but all of a sudden an older man with a walker started to come out of hjs house, I slowed down and the voiced said this is not the one. I even said well that wasn’t very nice. 1 block later a older woman was coming out the door with a shovel in her hand. I pulled in her driveway jumped out of my car ran up the steps and as I grabbed her shovel I said I will do that for you. When I finished she insisted I take some mony. I got to school and I felt so happy for helping someone out. I opened my hand to find that she gave me 3.00 l felt bad I don’t do things for money but she insisted I take it. I had told the FFA teacher about what happened and told me he had to get something. Well he came back with the largest poinsettia plant and told me that it would cost 3.00. I said really? I will buy it. After my shift was done I took it over to my new friends home. When she opened the door I held out the plant and said Merry Christmas and you can’t give it back. Her name was Gladys Lea, age 84 she became my very best friend till she died at age 102. She always said I was an angel and would just say she was an answer to my prayer. She had lost her daughter to cancer. She was my Blessing and God picked the person who I know my mother would of been like her. So pray knowing it is in his timing for a reason. I pray my journey may lighten your heart and bring hope.

    Comment by Kathleen Zeitler — January 14, 2014 @ 2:13 am

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