Pastoral care isn’t magical. It’s rather simple. As a pastor I’m blessed with opportunities to visit those who may be ill, dying, grieving, troubled, or rejoicing. Pastoral care usually consists of a “ministry of presence,” a listening ear, sharing God’s Word, and leading prayer.
Sometimes I’m probably more effective at this than at other times. Yet, I trust that God’s Spirit will continue to work through the Word we’ve heard after I depart. I’ve found myself turning to the same Scripture passages as I go into many of these pastoral care situations. Sometimes I deviate from these and share Scriptures related to the season of the church year or which particularly fit the person’s situation, but I find it helpful to have a number of comforting “go to” passages.
Today I’ll share many of these passages with you. Perhaps you’re in need of a comforting word. In that case, I hope you’ll explore these scriptures. Or perhaps you can pass God’s comfort along to someone else who needs His comfort.
Psalm 22 – “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (v. 1) The suffering of Christ prophesied in this Psalm reminds us both of how He suffered for us and how He suffers with us.
Psalm 23 – “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me” (v. 4). While often read at funerals, the 23rd Psalm reminds us of God’s care for us each and every day.
Psalm 25 (selected verses) – “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted” (v. 16). This Psalm is a heartfelt plea for the Lord’s help and redemption.
Psalm 27 (selected verses) – “The Lord is my Light and my Salvation; whom shall I fear?” (v. 1) King David writes of the courage that comes from trusting the Lord.
Psalm 28 (v. 6-9) – “Oh, save Your people and bless Your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.” (v. 9) My absolute favorite passage to use in pastoral care. We need the Lord to carry us all the time!
Psalm 32 – “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (v. 1). David’s words describe the effects both of hiding our sin and of confessing our sin.
Psalm 46 – “Be still, and know that I am God” (v. 10). This world isn’t often “still,” but God tells us to stop and know that He is with us, even on our chaotic days.
Psalm 100 – “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!” (v. 1) This little Psalm praises God for the privilege of being the sheep of His pasture.
Psalm 103 – “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (v. 2). David goes on to praise God for both His physical and spiritual blessings.
Psalm 121 – “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (v. 2). The Psalmist describes how God “keeps” us today and forevermore.
Psalm 130 – “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!” (v. 1) This is a Psalm both for dark days and for giving thanks for His forgiveness and redemption.
Isaiah 9:6-7 – “His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (v. 6b). While these words point ahead to Christ’s birth, they’re worth reflecting on not just in Advent or Christmas but at anytime!
Isaiah 40:1-2, 27-31 – “He gives power to the faith, and to him who has no might He increases strength” (v. 29). Isaiah 40 overflows with God’s comfort and strength!
Isaiah 43:1-3 – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you” (v. 2a). The God who created us will be with us when we most need Him.
Isaiah 53 – “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (v. 4a). The Suffering Servant, Jesus, gave Himself to save us both from sin and sin’s effects.
John 10 (selected verses) – “I Am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (v. 11) Using language similar to the 23rd Psalm, Jesus promises His love for His flock goes as far as the cross.
Romans 8:31-39 – “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (v. 31) Paul makes it abundantly clear that nothing can separate us from Christ’s love.
1 Corinthians 15:51-57 – “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 57). Because Christ is risen, we know that our Christian faith and labors are worthwhile!
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (v. 9). In our weaknesses, we rely on Christ’s power all the more.
Philippians 4:4-8 – “… think about these things” (v. 8). Paul calls us to rejoice with him and to look for all the good things that God is doing.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 – “We will always be with the Lord” (v. 17b). Paul encourages us to grieve with hope in Christ, who will return to raise us from the grave.
Revelation 7:14-17 – “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation” (v. 14). John describes the joys that will be experienced by the saints gathered around God’s throne.
Revelation 21:1-7 – “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth” (v. 1a). In words similar to Rev. 7, John sets our hearts on the coming Day when God will make all things new!
May Christ’s Word dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16) so that you can also share the riches of His Word with others!