Prayer After Child Loss: What’s the Point?

One of the most devastating questions I had to face after Dominic ran ahead to heaven was, “What difference does prayer make?”  

I had prayed-diligently prayed-for every one of my children since before they were born.

Even Dominic’s name, which means “belonging to God” was chosen carefully to reflect my heart’s desire that this child follow hard after Jesus.

Dominic had served Christ’s church with his time, talents and resources his whole life.  Yet he was not quite 24 when he met Jesus face to face.

So why didn’t prayer “work”?  Why did my son die in an accident when others live?

I thought I understood prayer. 

I thought that if I followed the formula I’d been taught:

  • praise God;
  • confess my sins;
  • thank Him for the blessings He gave;
  • and then submit my petitions;

He would be obligated to grant them.

But I was wrong.  

Prayer is not a vending machine-put something in and get something out.  

I wrote this just a few months after he left us:  

Did the mother whose son died pray less or with less faith than the mother whose son lives?

We must be careful to remember that God is sovereign and while we are commanded to pray, our words do not dictate His actions. He alone knows the end from the beginning. He alone is the Alpha and Omega.

I now understand that prayer is privileged communication with the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. 

It is an opportunity to align my heart with His.  

It’s a way to tap into the Living Water that Jesus promised the Samaritan woman He met at the well.


It’s two-way conversation where I need to do as much listening as talking.  

So I no longer come with a basket full of petitions, hoping they are granted.  

Instead I kneel, hands outstretched. longing only for His touch, His Presence, His grace, mercy and sustaining strength.  

woman touching his hem

I still pray but it is a simple prayer: 

“Lord, I need You.”

i made you and i will carry you





Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

14 thoughts on “Prayer After Child Loss: What’s the Point?”

  1. Oh my goodness!! I did not know this was “normal”. I thought something was wrong with me. While I’ve seen other moms in this situation run to God I have been stand-offish and unable to even form a sentence. I too have asked myself “what’s the point of praying?” or “what good will it do?” I’ve even been afraid to pray for my living child because what if I ask God to protect and watch over him only to be devastated again. It’s been 3 years and I’m just now trying to read the Bible again. I wouldn’t say I was necessarily angry. I just have had no interest or desire to try to be close to God. I guess you could say I’ve been giving him the silent treatment. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in this area though. Thank you for your words.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I cannot pray! I honestly spent so many hours, minutes, seconds on my knees pleading for my child`s life and nothing… I am struggling all I can manage at the moment is God I need you… I can`t seem to get further than that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I struggle with this often. I prayed for both of my children daily yet this happened. I always felt safe where my children were concerned because how could God take my child when I prayed for him. Well my conclusion was that Steven belonged to God all along, he was on loan to me. I just wish it would have been longer. 💔

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t pray. I’ve lost the words. But I can sit and imagine myself sitting in God’s garden with His Son. And if I look long enough and hard enough, I can see MY son there as well.
    What the mind knows to be truth (God) doesn’t always reach the heart.
    Not yet.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Often I can only manage …
    O’ God come to my assistance.
    O’ Lord make haste to help me.

    I know His will be done, not mine and can only pray that whatever His will is, He gives me courage to follow the path He sets for me.

    There’s no doubt that I never expected to walk this path, never expected my boy to be taken home before I was.

    So….help and assistance to brave it out Lord ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I still struggle with my prayer life. I did remember, by the grace of God, these two verses just after Amanda passed:

    In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. – Romans 8:26-27 NIV.

    For two years I didn’t pray, but let the spirit pray for me. It’s only the last couple of months I begin to pray again. Some days, it’s just, lord give me strength to make it thru the day. I’ve just started again to pray for others and it’s hard for me. Hugs.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I struggle with this DAILY!! I prayed with my son on a nightly basis. Part of our prayer being “please keep all of our family and friends safe, healthy and happy”. Yet he was taken in a completely random accident at 6 and a half years old! I am angry. I have not yet come to a place where I can make peace about this. It’s coming. I am getting closer but my question remains how could the very thing we so specifically prayed for be taken?? Rationally I understand it. Emotionally I struggle. Thank you for putting this out there so honestly. Love to all of you and heaven.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh Melanie. This is so so true and so so hard. Kari-Lee was prayed for her whole life. And her healing was prayed for and believed in from the day of her cystic fibrosis diagnosis as six weeks of age. By the time it became urgent, leading up to her lung transplant, there were hundreds and hundreds of people praying for her. When complications set in after her transplant there were literally thousands and thousands of people praying for her all around the world. I TOTALLY believed that she would be healed, because I knew God COULD and so many were asking in humble faith. And so many TOLD me that God had TOLD them that she would be healed.
    But, she died…….
    It took a lot for me to be able to work this all through and to come back to a place where I wanted to believe in and trust a God who COULD heal her, yet chose not to. Now, prayer is different, especially prayer for healing. I struggled for a long time to even pray that kind of prayer. I certainly pray very differently from some of my friends. I definitely don’t “claim” anything. I just let God be God. I look at Jesus in the garden if Gethsemane. He asked, but he submitted to God choosing not to answer in the way He hoped. This is my example and how I now pray.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, it is almost a relief that I know I’m not alone in this struggle to pray. For years we prayed and got into scripture like we had never done before when our son Noah started down the road of drug addiction. We prayed for him, for his friendsz I prayed the prodigal son prayer, etc. and he died anyway. So in a lot of ways I’m angry with God and I’m scared to pray for people I love wondering what good it does anyway. I’m so thankful though in my valley I have people that are praying for my husband and me. I am going to try praying your simple prayer when I can’t pray, “Lord, I need You.” Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

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