Prayers for Times of Grief

A selection of prayers and scripture readings from many faiths.

Pleas for mercy and aid

Laments and mourning

Rest for the dead and the suffering

Comfort and solace



To Allah we belong and to him we shall return. Oh Allah, help me in my calamity and replace it with good.

--Muslim prayer


My eyes fail with watching for thy promise;

I ask, "When wilt thou comfort me?"

--Psalm 119


These two things have befallen you --

who will condole with you? --

devastation and destruction, famine and sword;

who will comfort you?

--Isaiah 51


Comfort, give comfort to my people.

--Isaiah 40

Laments of mourning and affliction

I grieved for my friend or my brother;

I went about as one who laments his mother,

bowed down and in mourning.

--Psalm 35


I weep and lament when I behold our beauty created in the likeness of God lying in the tomb disfigured, bereft of glory and form. 0 the marvel of it! What is this mystery concerning us? Why have we been delivered to corruption? Why have we been wedded unto death?

--Orthodox Funeral Hymn


It is as if the sun and the moon have left the sky.

--The Buddha


Oh, only for so short a while you

have loaned us to each other,

because we take form in your act of drawing us,

and we take life in your painting us,

and we breathe in your singing us.

But only for so short a while

have you loaned us to each other.

Because even a drawing cut in obsidian fades,

and the green feathers, the crown feathers,

of the Quetzal bird lose their color,

and even the sounds of the waterfall

die out in the dry season.

So, we too, because only for a short while

have you loaned us to each other.

--Aztec Indian Prayer


By the waters of Babylon

we sat down and wept.

--Psalm 137


But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb.

--John 20


This is the Hour of Lead --

Remembered, if outlived,

As Freezing persons--recollect the Snow --

First -- Chill -- Then Stupor -- then the letting go.

--Emily Dickinson

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