Prayer Requests and Learning How to Pray

A Prayer for Someone Who Died Suddenly (and Their Loved Ones)

A Prayer for Someone Who Died Suddenly (and Their Loved Ones)

When a loved one passes away suddenly, you’re unexpectedly plunged into grief. The shock of the person’s sudden death and the pain of mourning can shake your faith. Yet, when you’re grieving, it’s especially important to reach out to God. It’s vital to pray – both a prayer for someone who died suddenly, and a prayer for yourself and other loved ones of the person who passed. Here are prayers for grief that you can use for those purposes, plus comforting Bible verses about death.

A Prayer for Someone Who Died Suddenly

Even though your loved one has already passed away, you can still pray for his or her soul to find healing and peace from the sudden passing that has happened. You can adapt this prayer in whatever ways best express your specific situation:

“God, we were shocked by the sudden departure of [person’s name], but nothing surprises you. Only you know the state of his or her soul. We entrust [person’s name] completely to you. Please give [him or her] all the healing and peace necessary to let go of any unfinished business from [his or her] earthly life and to move forward according to your will. Send [person’s name] our love, and we love you, God. Thank you. Amen.”

A Prayer for the Loved Ones of the Person Who Passed

You can pray for your own grief, and for other loved ones who are grieving, whenever you all need a fresh dose of God’s love. Keep in mind while you’re praying that you don’t need to worry about trying to suppress the difficult emotions you’re feeling. Be honest with God and each other about how you feel. Let yourselves cry, as well, since doing so is a healthy way to express grief. My book Wake Up to Wonder explains research that shows the well-being benefits of crying include relieving stress, releasing toxins, and decreasing pain. Here’s a prayer for grieving people that you can personalize however you like:

“God, we need your help while we’re grieving for [deceased person’s name]. Please send us the comfort and encouragement we need. Let us feel your peace and love in tangible ways. Help us adjust to life without [person’s name] and let go of [him or her], entrusting [him or her] to you. Heal our hearts from the shock of the sudden passing. We believe in your promise to bring good purposes out of any situation for those who trust you. If you will, please even send us a heavenly sign that [deceased person’s name] is well. As we reflect on this sudden passing, it reminds us that none of us knows how long we have left to live. Teach us to use each day that you give us to the fullest, God. Help us do all we can to live well and spread your love in this world. Please have mercy on us as we struggle with the pain of grief. Let us sense your presence with us day by day in our mourning. May we emerge from this difficult journey with a stronger faith. Thank you, God. We love you. Amen.”

15 Comforting Bible Verses for When We Lose Someone

The Bible features many verses that point to the reality of hope in the midst of grief, which you and your fellow mourners can find through your relationships with God. Here are 15 key verses to read and reflect on for comfort while you’re mourning:

John 16:22: “So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

Matthew 5:4: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Psalm 23:1-6: “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”

Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”

Isaiah 57:2: “Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.”

Psalm 116:15: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.”

John 14:13: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Romans 14:8: “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 15:51-57: “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Revelation 21:4: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 11:25-26: “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’”

2 Corinthians 1:3-5: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”


Saying a prayer for someone who died suddenly – and all of that person’s loved ones – welcomes God’s healing into a painful situation. By praying in your grief, you can connect with the hope God offers and emerge with a sense of peace and a stronger faith.

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headshot of author Whitney HoplerWhitney Hopler is the author of the Wake Up to Wonder book and the Wake Up to Wonder blog, which help people thrive through experiencing awe. She leads the communications work at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Whitney has served as a writer, editor, and website developer for leading media organizations, including, The Salvation Army USA’s national publications, and (where she produced a popular channel on angels and miracles). She has also written the young adult novel Dream Factory. Connect with Whitney on Twitter and Facebook.