Recent Stories

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        I was born and raised in Southern California in the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of greater Los Angeles.  It was there that the term “Valley Girl” became popular.  It held special significance to me, not only because I came [more]

  • Roller Coasters – Emily's Story

    Brent and I had been married for 16 years. We had been through quite a bit. In the midst of many physical illnesses, we had two wonderful children who really have been a blessing. We were ministry minded and when we were turned down to move overseas to work with some [more]

  • Where is God in My Suffering? – Kit's Story

    My name is Kit Danley and I am the president here at Neighborhood Ministries. I come from affluent America. I come from a background off the lake, say in Milwaukee, both parents and grandparents were prominent Milwaukeeans. And as my parents tried to do adult [more]

Helpful Prayers For Healing

Times of sorrow and grief come and go. We have either lost a loved one or know someone who is grieving the death of a loved one. Where do we turn for comfort? Are you the type that would prefer to be left alone to retreat into your own feelings? Or are you more inclined to call your friends and family for support? Do people call you for comfort? Where does healing come from?

I have been on the receiving end of prayers for healing after the death of a loved one. What do I do now? What if my family needs comforting? Would I be strong enough to offer support? The strength I had, the ability to deal with difficult situations, can only be the grace of God at work in me. Had I not been honest and willing to share my pained heart, I may not have experienced those answers to prayer. My healing came from God. If you have recently lost a loved one or want to help someone in their pain, I hope these biblical prayers will encourage you and bring comfort and healing to your life and those close to you. Pray them and allow the Lord’s love to surround you and give you hope.

“I know that if I come near to You, God, You will come near to me. And I want to draw closer to You because You love me more than I can ever imagine and have promised to never leave me.” James 4:8; Hebrews 13:5

“Please turn to me during this lonely time, Father. Thank You for Your grace and Your power, which reassure and calm me. Help me to receive your unfailing love as my comfort.” Psalm 25:16; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Psalm 119:76

“Dear Lord, if these hurting people have not called on You before, may they begin calling on Your name right now; may they find You to be their refuge and strength, an ever-present help in their time of grief.” Genesis 4:26; Psalm 46:1

Copyright NavPress, used with permission.

Prayers for healing after the death of a loved one have been significant in my life and I have seen the Lord work as a result. If you are hurting, I trust you will seek the help and support you need first from God, then from others who will pray for your healing. If you know someone who is in pain from the death of a loved one, I encourage you to pray for their healing as well.

Practical Ways to Offer Grief and Loss Help and Support

Can you remember a time when you experienced pain? Did you find you were able to express your grief and loss and receive help and support? What did you learn, how did people help and support you? What one thing encouraged you most when you were at your lowest point? Was there anything you decided you would never do to someone who is grieving? Did someone say something to you in an effort to be helpful and supportive, but left you feeling more hurt and angry?

Yes, there are those well-meaning friends who give advice and counsel, totally unsolicited. Really, their hearts are to help and support their friends in times of grief and loss; however, what they are communicating can be insulting and hurtful. Often, words are spoken without much thought or consideration not because of a desire to harm, but more because these concerned friends don’t know what to say. They don’t mean to question their friend’s decisions or actions, but it can come across like that.

I received an email this weekend from a good friend, Tony, who was experiencing grief and loss and looking for help and support only to end up feeling belittled, lonely, misunderstood and judged by well-meaning advice giving friends. He expressed these feelings with some of his closest friends through his writing. What he shared was hard to understand and take-in. I wanted to correct his ‘wrong’ thinking and encourage him to handle it differently. Thankfully, I didn’t. Really, he just needed to vent and be heard. He wasn’t trying to rebuke anyone; he just wanted to be understood. We can’t totally know how someone feels, or how they will react to our words, but we can remember that they are hurting.

In seeking grief and loss help and support, our friends look to us to build them up, encourage them, listen to them and let them be themselves without fear of rejection, judgment or rebuke. Can we trust them enough to give them the benefit of the doubt? Can we trust God enough to take good care of our hurting friends? Can we just listen, accept and acknowledge all their feelings without reasoning with them or criticizing them? Do we have to have ALL the answers? All our friends really need is a listening ear, a little empathy and to know that we care.

Prayers for Healing After a Divorce

So often when someone is in the midst of a divorce or heading that direction, there is a lot of support and prayers for healing offered. Prayers for healing the marriage, the relationship, the kids, the list goes on and on. At least that’s how it was for me. But, it seems that once the judge decrees the finality of the marriage, those prayers stop. Why is that?

Is it because prayers are no longer needed? They are needed just as much, if not even more. I remember being focused on the issues at hand during the two-year divorce process and the prayers for healing were awesome. Unfortunately, the marriage was not healed, the divorce was final and the pain grew in its intensity. You would think I would have been relieved, or felt freed, or whatever feeling you think you would feel when your marriage ends, but I didn’t. It was more like a death to me.

For instance, I was not happy with the outcome financially with my divorce. What a slap in the face to learn that even though I was the victim of my husband’s betrayals, the divorce was ‘no fault’. Not fair! Also, even though I had separated our finances years before, I was subject to share the profits of an asset I acquired and had recently sold. Why? Because I naively told Brent that if I ever sold it, I would share the profits with him 50/50. He saved that email and it became a contract. Not fair! The court ruled I could keep the money for the asset, but Brent wouldn’t have to pay alimony. To add insult to injury, we owed his family estate money for a loan we signed an agreement on. The interesting thing about that is Brent didn’t make payments on that loan for seven years (even though I pleaded with him to pay or talk with his family about it) and the family decided to just deduct it from his inheritance. So guess who got stuck with owing half of the loan? Not fair!! The court ruled it was a contract and marital debt. No, it was an inheritance! I was sued for my portion of the debt and since I didn’t have the funds, I agreed to give up my retirement money to settle. Not fair! So, while he took out a second mortgage to pay his half of the family loan, he took my retirement. Interestingly enough, he didn’t pay back the family because they will just take it out of his inheritance. So, was it inheritance or a marital debt?

Do you think I still needed prayers for healing after my divorce? You better believe I did, and still do. No, what happened to me wasn’t fair, but I knew God would use it for good. I dealt with so much anger; anger at God, at Brent, at the court system, my lawyer, his lawyer…it just wasn’t fair. But, in dealing with all this, I realized that I was released from Brent and his manipulations. It was then I felt the freedom!

My prayer needs were different once the divorce was settled; how would I survive, would I be able to forgive him, what was next? Divorce isn’t just the end of a marriage; it’s the beginning of a new way of life. It’s a process of being victorious, not being a victim. Choosing to be thankful, grateful and forgiving even when wronged. Prayers for healing after a divorce are different than before or during the ordeal. They are more focused on character, trust, values, and forgiveness. I pray you will be victorious, thankful, forgiving, and that you will allow God to be your protector, provider and encourager.


Iron

I have been thinking about how God works with the material he has to fashion us into vessels to be used by him for his purposes. My desire has always been to be clay in his hands. I could imagine him as the potter, working to mold me into a beautiful vase used in the kingdom. I have pleaded with God to make me soft and pliable in his hands and told him I want to be soft clay.

God says to me that he did not make me clay. What am I Lord? I made you iron! Iron??? I know what the blacksmith does to iron. I have watched him stick the long hard metal into the fire, getting it red-hot to make it pliable.

I am iron and always have been! God has to put me in the fire to soften me up and then like the seasoned blacksmith, he puts me on the anvil and beats the hell out of me. I am iron. But, on the inside I feel like glass. I feel like I am being totally shattered when he starts pounding away on the anvil. This iron is alive and can jump off the anvil, but that defeats the purpose. Once beaten on the anvil for a time, it cools down and needs to go back into the fire again. If I could learn to stay in the fire long enough to get soft, stay on the anvil long enough to be hammered into what is intended I would be happier and the process wouldn’t take so long. I am not really glass inside; I just want to be protected.

I am iron through and through. The hammering won’t hurt me, only fashion me. The fire can’t hurt me, only soften me. The anvil can’t hurt me; only support me through the hammering. The blacksmith knows what he is doing and does his job exceptionally well.

What am I being fashioned for, Lord? A sword? Will they be used in Heaven, in the kingdom? Am I to be part of the entrance gate? Is it an old Victorian style fence? Or am I part of a chandelier in the banquet hall? At this point, it doesn’t really matter. I trust you to do your work in me and make something beautiful of my life.

Coping with Grief During the Holidays: Embrace the Memories

The holidays are here and once again I am struggling with how to deal with the losses in my life. I lost my father in May, my brother in November, 2009, my marriage in 2007, my job in September…does it ever end? What is it about the holiday season that affects us so deeply? Why is it so hard to cope with grief, especially during the holidays?

On further speculation I have concluded that if Christmas was a good memory for me in the past with these people (or things) I loved, then it would naturally hurt and be painful to go through the season without them. I remember a couple years ago just pulling out the box of ornaments triggered memories of times with Brent and the emotions flared up and I found myself grieving all over again.

This year was different. The ornaments were the same, the music was the same, but my kids are grown up and don’t live with me. I thought about what I could do this year to cope with the holiday grief and decided to ask the neighbor boys to come over and help me decorate the tree. They were so excited! Each and every ornament was lovingly handled by them, placed on the tree with great pride and I just enjoyed their presence in my home. How was this helpful? Well, it got the focus off of me, my loss and sadness. It allowed me to focus on the good times I had had with my family and I remembered the blessings I received. How could I be grief-stricken with these two boys who were so excited about Christmas? So while I am coping with grief during the holidays, I am also learning to focus on the blessings I experienced in the past, and looking forward to being a blessing in someone else’s life.

The traditions, the conversations, the excitement of the holidays don’t have to bring us gloom. We can develop new traditions, or make minor changes to the old ones, look for the good in our situation and enjoy the moment. Embrace the memories, talk about your loss, and if you need to have a pity party, do so, but then move on.

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