Prayer for the Grieving

Grief is an atmosphere 
miles high pressing down on us.
It is the air we breathe.
Loss is the country 
thrust upon us,
refugees from the land of
to have and to hold.
We do hold on, we won’t let go,
but it’s to memories 
not flesh and blood.
God, can we find you
in this fierce wanting?

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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.

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The Grief of Us All: Good Friday Benediction

Jesus, we wait here by your tomb
carrying our grief;
the grief of the betrayer,
the grief of the denier,
the grief of the crucifiers.
We carry the grief of the lost,
the heartbroken, the bereft.
Upon you was laid the grief of us all.
It is finished.
God of endings, God of darkness,
God of the tomb, God of dark days and great loss,
be with us now as we wait with Jesus.

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God our Captain Congregational Prayer

God of beauty, thank you for golds and blues.
Thank you for the yellow golds of poplars and hostas,
thank you for the red golds of oak trees in the sun,
thankyou for the dusty gold of stubble fields.
And for blues:  thank you for the deep cobalt blue of the lake,
the bright high blue of the sky
the cloudy blue of a baby’s eyes.
[substitute colours that you see in your location]
Your colours amaze us, as do the textures,
smells, tastes and sounds of this great world.
Thank you for giving us life and breath on this beautiful day. 

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Good Friday Service: A Funeral for Jesus

:  In this service, we put ourselves into the shoes of Jesus’ family and closest friends as they mourned his death.  They did not have a funeral for Jesus, but they saw his body and knew that he died.  In our culture, we have a funeral for people who have died, when we perform that ritual, it is clear that someone has passed away.  Having a service that is funeral-like  on Good Friday can hammer home to us in a very deep, visceral way that Jesus really died.  Most people have been to many Good Friday services where it is explained that Jesus died for our sins.  That is an important message, but  not one that this service talks about.   This service doesn’t talk about that since we are putting ourselves into the shoes of the disciples and Jesus’ family; just after he died they were in a time of shock, of wondering and not understanding. 

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A God who Grieves

When I am beside myself with grief–

Jesus, you are there beside me.

When my mind reels and I feel like I’m falling—

Jesus, you are the fixed point that does not move.

When grief’s bands tighten around my chest—

Jesus, you are the oxygen I breathe.

When the ache in my heart is the only thing I feel—

Jesus, save me.

You who wept with sorrow and with fear,

thank you for staying with me in this hour,

this hour of grief.

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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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