What to pray



We have all felt we wished we could do more for families experiencing grief. Practical help like I've outlined in the other page is really vital- but the most important things we can do for others is bring them before God and ask Him to help them. After a recent conversation with some friends about praying for others, I've compiled this non-exhaustive list to help you in your prayers. This list could be used by parents and families themselves to help when praying seems really hard and even thinking is exhausting.


  • Wisdom to know what to tackle first


As families prepare for thanksgiving/funeral services;

  •  Pray for a good choice of funeral director
  • Pray that the funeral directors would be sensitive
  • Ask that those around them would give them lots of information so they feel able to make all the right choices about the Thanksgiving service and be able to look back knowing they wouldn't have done it differently.
  • Pray that if they have to visit funeral homes, that the staff there would be kind and that God would help the families cope with seeing their loved ones.
  • That God would provide the finances needed to pay for all the thanksgiving expenses
  • That people would volunteer to do all those background jobs in organising a service
  • Pray that God would help the families as they choose the hymns/songs, prepare eulogies, orders of services, decide on catering etc. These are things that are really important to look back on. Ask God that the family would be able to creatively add in things that make the service special and unique to them.
  • Pray for the pastor/minister as they prepare to speak to all who attend; pray that God would speak clearly and give them a message that will bring glory to Him and comfort to those bereaved.
  • Pray for the family on the day, that they would know God's peace and help- strength for the day and graciousness to cope with what is a emotionally and physically exhausting day
  • Pray that God's Word would be an incredible comfort for them, that they might be helped by reading it and they wouldn't stop reading the Bible.
  • Ask God for sensitivity from those who attend the service. That people would speak to the bereaved family in a kind and sensitive way
  • Ask that God would be honoured, that people would be challenged to think about what life is really all about and that Christians at the service would be welcoming to others who don't usually attend the church.


In the days leading up to the thanksgiving service and beyond


  • That the families would look to God for each moment, that they'd learn not to look too far ahead and feel daunted and not to remember over and over again some of the more painful moments
  • Pray that God would provide them with 'gatekeepers' who can help keep too many people from visting the families' home at once and help coordinate help and practical care.
  • Ask that God would provide just the right people around them, some who can share the Bible when its appropriate, others who are good to sit and cry with them. Some who can make them and their families smile and others who can help distract them for moments.
  • Ask that God would help the grieving families to pray. It's not uncommon for people to say they just couldn't pray. Ask God to provide people that can encourage them to do that, or pray with them and for them.
  • Pray that husbands and wives might be able to communicate. The first few weeks after bereavement a like a whirlwind often and sometimes is hard to spend time with each other. Pray that they would never both be so down that one can't encourage the other. Pray that God would protect their marriage.
  • If they have other children, pray for each child by name, asking wisdom for the parents to keep talking and communicating and expressing their love at what can be a confusing time for children.
  • Pray that any children would ask questions they need answering and the parents would have good answers to give them
  • Ask that God would give great patience to the parents. Children test our patience at the best of time and when you're grieving it's hard to be patient with normal naughty behaviour. Ask God to give bucket-loads of grace in parenting their children.
  • Pray that God would especially strengthen the families during difficult tasks like getting the death certificate, going to inquests or police statements etc. Ask that God would provide people to go with them if that would help the family.
  • Pray that God would help people who visit the family- that they might be able to act normally in spite of feeling awkward and not wanting to upset them.


After the first week or two

  • Pray that the family wouldn't feel forgotten as people return to their normal lives.
  • Ask that there would be a gradual transition from all the help to a place where the family feel they can cope with increasing amounts of their new 'normal' life
  • Pray that people wouldn't forget to pray, write cards, visit and be kind
  • Pray that on hard days i.e where mail arrives unexpectedly about their child and causes pain again that God would give them peace and provide people to support and encourage them.
  • Pray as they have to do administration to do with Child Trust Funds, bank accounts etc, that those staff members dealing with them would be sensitive and if they are not, that God would give the families grace to cope with it.
  • Ask that God would help them as they bump into people they haven't seen in a while and ask them hard questions, that God would give them wisdom to know what to say and how to share their hope of heaven.
  • Pray that they would be helped as they choose what to put on the gravestone. Pray that God might provide the money to afford this expense.
  • Ask that God would help those who return to work, that they would be able to go at a time when everyone can cope with their daily absence. Pray that God would help them work well in their jobs and that co-workers would be kind and supportive.
  • Ask that on days when people are tearful at work or at home, that they might lean on God for their strength and be brave enough to share their tears sometimes.
  • Pray that God might provide people to go and talk about the children they've lost with the families- sharing memories with them that help them as they remember their children.
  • Ask that God would continue to show them His love and care and on days that are black and bleak, that the families would remember God's promises and faithfulness.
  • Pray that their faith would be strengthened, that it would be obvious to all around them of the hope they have of Heaven. Pray that they would be open to all of the lessons they're having to learn and that they wouldn't grow bitter. 


There are many more that I could add. I hope this list will get you thinking and that you would faithfully pray for those you know who are living through the pain of losing children.



Keren Baker

(Jan 2012)














A UK grief support programme for children and their families. Contains publication resources and contact details.



Resources For Adults






ResourcesFor Children




Practical Ideas 

A collection of some practical and creative things to help during the grieving process.





Cast all your anxiety upon Him because He cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

Empty Arms With Hope