Suicide: Five Prayers from Those Left Behind

1.  Dear God,
this grief for our loved one has hit us like a truck.
Our lives have not been the same since we heard.
You know the exact weight of our heavy hearts,
you know the volume of tears we shed,
you know the temperature of the places inside of us
that are frozen and numb.
Thank you God that you were with us before we knew this news,
and that you are journeying with us now.

2. God of our minds,
you know the thoughts that knock about our brains.
The “hows” of this death are like an elephant
that wants to get out, but doesn’t know how.
The “whys” of this death dart around at random,
pointing at this target and that target,
never finding a home.
And the “if onlys” haunt our very steps,
as we go over the past again and again.
God of peace, still our racing minds,
calm our raging hearts,
and hold us in your loving arms.

3. God of creation,
thank you for creating our loved one.
You were with them in their mother’s womb,
and you rejoiced in their uniqueness.
You walked with them as a child and as an adult.
You know the special quality they brought to our lives;
their kindness, the love they showed,
the sound of their voice,
their sense of humour, their laugh.
You knew their good times and their troubled times,
you heard their sighs.
And on that last of bad days,
when they could not see the hope of good days ahead,
you were there in that final decision-making moment.
Why didn’t you intervene?
Even as we live with this question,
we trust that your welcoming arms
embraced them and took them home
to a place where they are  at peace.
God of hope,
our dearly departed ones are in your care.
As we come into your presence,
give us the assurance that in some mysterious way
through you, they are with us still.

4.  God, we come to you with questions.
Why are some people given a sunny personality,
and others given clouds and stormy weather?
Why do some people always see the positives,
and for others every day is a struggle to survive?
Some have minds that toss them to and fro;
they must cope with dizzying ups and downs.
You know the order and disorder of our minds,
our rationality and irrationality.
Why is life so hard?
Why is existence a burden
too heavy for some to carry?
We cry out to you about the unfairness of life,
we cry out to you about the searing pain of absence,
we cry out to you from this world of pain.
Lord, hear our prayer.

5.  God of healing,
we need your help.
The wounds we carry seem unhealable.
We don’t know which way to turn with our pain.
Give us hope, even when despair is knocking down the door.
Give us faith, that peace can come to us in time.
Give us love, to care for each other on this journey.
Help us hold onto the happy memories of our loved one,
remembering the gift they were in our lives,
and the joy we shared in the time we had.
We trust you as the shepherd of the sheep,
who carries every lost lamb close to your heart.
You carry our loved one,
and each of us, now and forever.  Amen.

New Book Coming Soon!

Carol Penner has written a devotional book for Lent that explores the challenges of repentance and forgiveness. Forty reflections and prayers to deepen your walk with God as you prepare for Easter.  

You can order it here!

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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