10 Psalms for Grief

Vivian Bricker

Contributing Writer
Published Feb 08, 2022
10 Psalms for Grief

Grief is a powerful feeling that affects people at some time throughout their life. It's unavoidable. For some people, however, grief affects them throughout their entire life. After experiencing severe grief through the death of a loved one, the ending of a relationship, or watching a dream be destroyed, the devastation can leave us feeling drained, tired, and hopeless. 

The Psalmist was a man who well understood the feelings of grief, just like us. David wrote the majority of the Psalms; however, there were other writers of the Psalms too, such as Asaph, the Sons of Korah, Heman, Solomon, Moses, and Ethan the Ezrahite. These writers of the Psalms understood grief and they can relate to your feelings today. 

If your soul needs a reprieve from the weight of grief, here are ten Psalms for you: 

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1. Psalm 23:1-4

“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” (Psalm 23:1-4). 

During the aftermath of my mom's passing, my sister and I found Psalm 23 to be a Scripture passage that helped us not feel so alone. Psalm 23 reminds us of the truth that we never have to walk through deep valleys of grief on our own because God is always by our side. Maybe this Psalm resonates with a specific tragedy in your life too. 

Psalm 23 was written by David during a difficult time in his life, which reminds us that even the greatest heroes of the faith faced dark seasons while on earth. Yet, God remains faithful to His sheep (John 10:14). Psalm 23 is the Psalm that we need to go to when we are feeling overwhelmed with grief and sorrow, knowing that one day our cup will run over (Psalm 23:5). 

2. Psalm 25:16-17

“Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish” (Psalm 25:16-17). 

Psalm 25:16-17 is another Psalm of David, in which David is praying for God to relieve his troubled heart and give him freedom from his pain. This is a Psalm of grief because David is anxiously calling out for God’s help in the midst of his sorrow. David turns to God because he knows that only God can restore peace and joy to his heart. 

In the same way, only God can heal the grief in our hearts. David reminds us that in the midst of our grief, we need to turn to God for healing and restoration. It does not inconvenience God when we need His help. He delights to answer the prayers of His children in accordance to His will (Romans 8:28).

lone candle light in dark setting, hymns for trusting God in grief

3. Psalm 32:7

“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7). 

This Psalm for grief was also written by David. In this particular passage, David refers to God as his “hiding place.” He was assured and confident that God would protect him from any troubles and surround him with songs of deliverance. Even amidst his grief, David knows he can look to the Lord for safety, protection, and rescue. 

In our modern-day lives, we need to remind ourselves of this truth. Psalm 32:7 is a Psalm for grief that can help us if we go to God in prayer and trust that He will keep us safe and give us deliverance from our pain. You see, part of our safety and protection from life's evils is allowing Scripture to resonate in our hearts. This memorization becomes our "belt of truth", which keeps God's armor in place, providing us holy weaponry to fight the enemy (Ephesians 6:10-18).

4. Psalm 54:4

“Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me” (Psalm 54:4). 

Psalm 54:4 was also written by David, detailing the grief he was enduring. David was undergoing a mournful time when he wrote this Psalm, yet he still recognized that God was his help and that the Lord was the One who sustained him. When we are going through a time of grief, it can be hard to have hope; however, if we trust in the Lord, He will always sustain us. If life gets too hard, turn to God and He will uphold you in your grief. 

Like David, make room for honest, vulnerable prayers. Expose your fears and needs to God. Sing them out, write them down, create an intentional avenue of communication between you and God so you can find rest in your season of hurt. 

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5. Psalm 56:3

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3). 

This Psalm of grief was written when the Philistines had seized David in Gath. So often, we forget the hardships David endured after defeating Goliath. Yet, the Philistines were back, reaping havoc on his body and soul. 

However, this simple passage of Scripture can bring great solace to our souls. When we are afraid, we need to put our trust in God. Grief can cause us to feel hopeless and empty inside, especially when we feel as though we are facing the same enemy, the same bout of grief, over and over. It can make us feel unsure about the future, insecure, and unsafe. But this Psalm reminds us to place our trust in God. When we are grieved, sorrowful, and depressed, we must remind ourselves that God writes each of our stories with an ending of hope and joy, despite what the present chapter of our life looks like today. 

6. Psalm 56:13

“For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life” (Psalm 56:13). 

This passage from Psalm 56:13 is closely tied to Psalm 56:3 as they are only ten verses away from each other. This Psalm for grief is a powerful tool that reminds us God will keep us from stumbling and shield our souls from the darkness. We will walk in the light of life with God if we trust Him, even when things seem dark. Grief is a strong emotion and while God doesn’t promise to take away this difficulty, He will walk through the grief with us, proving His word as a lamp and light to guide us home (Psalm 119:105). 

The Lord will keep our feet from stumbling so that we can walk in the light of life. Not all of our days will be full of gloom as God will shine the warmth of His love into our hearts. 

Group of people praying

7. Psalm 68:19-20

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death” (Psalm 68:19-20). 

This Psalm of grief is challenging us to praise God in the midst of our hurt because He bears our burdens and saves us from death. By focusing on God and His goodness, we can be more able to praise God even in the deepest moments of our grief. 

Have you ever noticed in your own life that if you turn to God in your sadness, grief, and pain, and choose to praise Him, His love and joy bubble up in your heart even in the face of your deepest sorrow? This is because God’s love is ever-present and all-consuming. Even when we are grieving, God’s love fills our hearts because we can rest in the knowledge that He loves us and has saved us from death. 

8. Psalm 91:1-2

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’” (Psalm 91:1-2). 

This is another Psalm for grief that can bring us great comfort. Notably, this passage encourages many of our brave men and women fighting for our freedom, as it champions God as the ultimate Victor for all of His children. Just like the Psalmist, we can rest in the shadow of the Almighty God. Our grief can be stilled by acknowledging that God is our refuge and fortress. He is both Comforter and Protector. 

We can trust God because He is completely trustworthy. Bringing our grief to God can be hard sometimes, but He is our fortress and He is ready to walk through the grief with us, bringing us the victory: A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right side, but it will not come near you" (Psalm 91:7).

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9. Psalm 118:5

“When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place” (Psalm 118:5). 

Psalm 118:5 is a song of hope, even in the face of grief. Grief normally causes us to feel as if we are hard-pressed on every side, but God in His abundant love and light brings us out of the dark grips of grief and places us in a beautiful, spacious place. God is waiting to bring us to this spacious place, but we have to first go to Him and pour out our hearts in prayer. 

While our grief might not automatically vanish, we will have the comfort of knowing that God is with us through it all, and His plan for grief is never to leave you in its ruins, but to bring you home where wounds are healed and hearts are made whole. 

10. Psalm 147:3

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). 

A final Psalm for grief is Psalm 147:3. This Psalm has a special place in my heart because it got me through a tough time in my life. Grief invades purpose like a ruthless waterfall, and you feel as if you are drowning under the pressure of the pain. It can also make you feel like a person is tearing you apart limb from limb and you fear the pain will never stop. 

Yet, Psalm 147:3 reminds us that God heals the brokenhearted and He binds up our wounds. It pains God to see us experience grief as He never wanted us to undergo any sort of painful feelings, emotions, or experiences. After the fall of man, sin entered the world along with the negative side effects of pain, misery, and death. Even though sin is in the world and grief is very much prevalent, God is still stronger and He is ready to bind up your wounds. Grief is painful; however, it helps to know that God is walking with you every step of the way. 

His Son, Jesus, embodied grief and all its misery on the cross so you and I would be free from its web. Despite our circumstances today, may we create our own Psalm of praise to God, thanking Him that grief is never how our story ends. 

Vivian BrickerVivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.

Originally published Wednesday, 09 February 2022.