Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Prayer about Good Grief and God’s Comfort ~ Scotty Smith

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
~Matt. 5:4

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts.
~2 Thess. 2:16-17

Heavenly Father, I’ve enjoyed hard work most of my life. I don’t mind investing the hours, expending the energy and breaking a sweat (physical and mental) for things that really matter. On the other hand, heart work has been more difficult for me, especially the heart work of grief. I don’t like grief because I don’t like loss, and I don’t like loss because it exposes my brokenness, and it makes me feel vulnerable and out of control—which, of course, I really am.

But I trust you Father, and because you tell me grief work is gospel work, I’ll roll up the sleeves of my heart and get busy. Send your Spirit into this moment and enable me to experience the blessing of mourning—the blessing of grieving as you intend. Then, and only then, will I enjoy the comfort you alone can give.

Help me to grieve the ways I grieve you, Father. I know I’ll never lose your love. I know that I can’t make you love me more, or less, by what I do. But give me the good grief of confessing my sins from a heart of love—a heart that loves your glory more than anything else. Help me to cry out with King David, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” No condemnation in Christ must not lead to no contrition for my sin. Give me guiltless humility.

Help me grieve the ways I hurt others. Don’t let me get used to wounding anyone’s heart. Forgive me when I make excuses for loving poorly, or try to justify my unkind words, critical attitude or aloof indifference. Help me humble myself, listen to the stories of people I hurt, and repent to your glory. Give me gospel sensibilities.

Help me to grieve the ways others hurt me. Neither minimizing nor demonizing the failures of others is in line with the truth of the gospel. I cannot forgive what I’m unwilling to voice, and I will not forgive what I’m unwilling to release. Forgive me for downplaying the ways I’ve been deeply hurt. Denial and overlooking aren’t the same. Forgive me for holding some people hostage to my bitterness. What I usually call righteous anger is more often self-righteous spite. Mercy-fy my heart.

Come, Lord Jesus, come gracious Father, you love us perfectly and completely, and you have given us “eternal comfort and good hope through grace.” Come now and grant us good grief gospel comfort today. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ kind and kingly name.

It's good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace.
~Hebrews 13:9