This morning an email brought sad news of a sudden death in the family of someone we know. A friend’s father died last night of a sudden and massive heart attack. The whole family is in shock right now even as they begin the process of making funeral arrangements. What do we say in a time like this? How should we pray?

Here is the prayer I wrote for the family. I pass it along in hopes that it may encourage us to pray for each other and not simply to say, “I’m praying for you,” but to write our prayers. Perhaps someone who reads these words will take strength from them.

Lord Jesus, you are the master of life and death. You said, “I am the resurrection and the life,” and this morning we believe this with all our hearts. And, Lord, you know far more than we do what death is all about. So we come to you in our pain and in our sadness. Draw near, O Lord, for we desperately need your help.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us. Have mercy on our friends. Have mercy on the whole family. You have promised to be near to the broken-hearted. Come near, O Lord, come near because we need you so much. Grant the wisdom they need to think clearly about the decisions that must be made this morning. Help them to rest in you. We thank you that heaven is a real place and that when you said, “Today you will be with me in paradise,” you were speaking to all of us who believe in you. Last night those words came true for __________. Thank you that he is finally home, safe at last, where no pain or sickness or sadness can touch him any longer.

We are the ones in need this morning. Help us because we are your children. Help us so that our faith will not fail. Help us so that we may somehow bring glory to you.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.