We’ve all been there-someone we love receives a terminal diagnosis, someone we care about loses a family member, her husband walks away from their marriage of twenty years, his addicted child hasn’t made contact in months.
The list is endless.
This life is hard and broken hearts abound.
What to do?
I’ve written extensively about the many practical ways a friend or family member can reach out and walk beside a wounded heart.
Choosing to offer compassionate companionship is the greatest gift you can give.
But there is another way you can help. You can carry the one you love to the Throne of Grace and intercede on his or her behalf with the One Who can be there when you just can’t.
I’ve learned the hard way that many situations are not fixable. They are only bearable. And because we so often pray for blessings and miracles, when faced with this reality, words tend to fail us.
But there are prayers to pray for the brokenhearted.
Pray for God’s Presence.
Father God, alone and broken is too much for anyone to bear. I know you are right beside my friend, but give her assurance of Your Presence. Let this wounded heart feel You very near her. When she despairs that You are not listening, bring to mind Your Word and flood her with Your comfort.
Pray for the presence of God’s people.
Lord, You don’t need people to do Your work, but you have ordained that the work of Your Body will be done by the hands of men. Stir the hearts of those that follow Jesus to show up and bring practical help to this broken heart. Give divine guidance to the people You want to be there so that they do things, bring things and say things that bless and do not harm. May this abundant outpouring of love, grace and mercy give strength to a struggling heart.
Pray for grace.
Father, we so often think of grace as what You give us when we receive salvation. But grace is so much more than that-it is the oil that lubricates the gears of life. It’s what gives us the space we need to process offense, to overlook offense and to avoid offense. My friend is wounded and oh, so vulnerable. Overwhelm his heart with Your grace so that the unthinking and even unkind words or actions of others will not hurt him more. Suffuse every single relationship that is being strained and stretched by this hard season with grace so that it remains supple and does not break. Fill the hearts of those who come to minister with grace to endure his silence or their rebuffed attempts to help. Keep relationships alive and intact, even in this difficult time.
Pray for mercy.
Oh, Lord! How well I know that one tragedy or unbearable hardship does not preclude another on its heels! I beg mercy for this family! Pour mercy out on them and in them and prevent any schemes of the evil one to succeed. They are so, so weak and such easy targets! Let Your mercy surround and protect them.
Pray for strength.
Father, “weak” can’t begin to describe the crumbling of a spirit under the crushing load of grief. If You do not raise the head of my friend, she will not be able to raise it herself. If you do not infuse her body with Your strength, she will not be able to make it through this valley. You have promised that if we wait on You-expectantly and hopefully and trustingly-that You will give us strength as eagles. We will run and not be weary, we will walk and not faint You are the Everlasting God. You are the Source of Strength. Fill my friend with Your strength as You have promised.
Pray for faith.
Lord, there is a space where faith and experience conflict. Losing a child creates a gulf between what a heart wants to believe and has believed and the unbearable pain that fills it right now Help my friend’s heart hold onto the hem of Your garment. Give him the will and conviction to say, “I believe, help Thou my unbelief!” Bring those who love You alongside to bear witness to this crisis of faith without correcting or shaming. Send Your Holy Spirit in power to flood this hurting heart with an assurance of Your Presence and power.
Pray for courage.
Father God, one of Your great champions, C.S. Lewis wrote, “No one ever told me grief felt so like fear.” He was right. Grief feels like the most profound fear a heart can experience. The entire world has shifted. The bottom has fallen out. It seems there is no end to the pain and suffering that a person may have to endure. And it is scary-so, so scary. Let my friend join the Psalmist in declaring, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46: 1,2 NIV) You are the unchanging constant Truth in a world where everything else seems untrustworthy.
Pray for perseverance.
Lord, it’s easy to start well but something else again to finish well. When a heart realizes that this missing, this sorrow and this pain is going to be with it for all the days of life on earth, that’s a whole other burden to bear. Defeat seems imminent. How can someone possibly carry this for years-perhaps decades? Give my friend the commitment and strength to persevere. Help her wake each day and decide to keep on keeping on. Infuse her tired body, mind and spirit with the power You have promised to give to all who love you: the power that raised Jesus from the grave (Ephesians 1:19,20).
Pray for love.
Father God, a broken heart is open and ready for filling. And it will be filled with something. It will be filled with love or it will be filled with bitterness. Overwhelm my friend with Your grace, mercy and love so that all the spaces are filled to overflowing with You and there is no room for bitterness. Bind the work of the enemy so that no scheme formed against him can stand. Give him a heart of flesh-that even hurting, even broken-he can give and receive love. Because love lives forever.