Mourning with Rick and Kay Warren and Family


Brandon Cox and Rick Warren

Pastor Rick and I in his study behind his stage at Saddleback on the night he gave me his blessing and many words of wisdom for planting Grace Hills Church.

I’ve started to write this post quite a few times, and each time, I’ve deleted it. It’s hard to know what to say when someone you admire and love goes through something as tragic as what Rick and Kay Warren have endured the last few days. Their son, Matthew, ended his own life at the age of 27 after battling severe mental illness for many years. I have heard Rick speak of this behind closed office doors, asking for prayer and pouring his heart out concerning his love for his son and his trust in his God in spite of not understanding all the reasons why Matthew suffered so terribly.

I believe that Rick and Kay, their other two children, and all of their loved ones will battle an array of emotions for quite some time. But I also believe that the message of hope that Pastor Rick has shared for the last three decades has come from the deep conviction of his heart. Rick believes that “God never wastes a hurt,” and Matthew’s life and death will prove this, perhaps in ways we cannot fully see just yet.

I love the Warren’s and believe that now is a time when God’s people should pray for them fervently. It isn’t that they somehow deserve prayer more than others because of their success and popularity. Rather it is that Rick is a man who has surrendered himself and all that he possesses completely to God, and God has blessed him by using his life to change the world. And because God has given him such a public platform, his private pain is perhaps amplified. Not only do the Warren’s have to suffer through the loss of their son, but they must do so somewhat publicly by virtue of their influence.

There is little that I can personally do to alleviate their pain. In managing the website and community, I’ve sought out some voices that deserve to be heard, such as Beth MooreGeoff Surratt, and Greg Laurie. I’ve received and answered dozens of emails to Pastor Rick sent via, all of which have been positive and encouraging. And I’ve also read some of the most cold and heartless comments on the web from people who have decided to use this moment of pain to pounce on the Warren’s.

What I can do is pray, and I believe that prayer is powerful, effective, and meaningful. And I’m inviting you to pray with me as you read this. As we pray for Pastor Rick Warren, for Kay, and for their family…

  • Let us pray that God gives them a peace that passes all understanding – that is a peace that is present when it doesn’t seem possible.
  • Let us pray for the heart of a Dad, a Mom who lost a son as well as a brother and a sister who lost a brother.
  • Let us pray that others who struggle with mental illness in the shadows would seek help in the light and find churches that will look beyond the stigma of mental illness to offer real compassion and healing.
  • Let us pray for gospel-empowered change in the hearts of accusers and cold, calloused critics who would use a moment like this to spit venom on the devastated and broken.
  • Let us pray for a church that hurts for her shepherd and a global community of church leaders that hurts for its mentor.
  • Let us pray that all that Pastor Warren has taught about the trustworthiness of God and the hope we have in Jesus be all the more believable to a watching world as the Warren’s continue to boldly proclaim their faith.
  • Let us pray that in their understandable weakness, God’s grace would be sufficient and God’s glory would be spread.

I can’t imagine their pain. I was in Pastor Rick’s office one day a couple of years ago when he was asking a few of us to pray for Matthew who was at that time hospitalized because of a severe bout with depression. As Rick became transparent and asked a few trusted friends to guard Matthew’s privacy and to lift him before the Father, he also taught a powerful lesson. He explained that life is not a roller coaster with up’s and down’s, but rather a set of railroad tracks where we endure suffering and blessing simultaneously. Pastor Rick never claimed to fully understand the reason for the existence of mental illness. But he did testify to the faithfulness of God in spite of it. Even through tears of hurt for his son, he was teaching powerful truths.

There are only a small handful of men on the planet that I consider to be my pastors, and Rick Warren is at the top of the list. So I’m praying for my Pastor and his family today, and I’m inviting you to pray with me.

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About Brandon Cox

Brandon Cox has been a Pastor for fifteen years and is currently planting a church in northwest Arkansas, a Saddleback-sponsored church. He also serves as Editor of and Rick Warren's Pastors' Toolbox, and authors a top 100 blog for church leaders. He's also the author of Rewired: Using Technology to Share God's Love.

  • Tony Barbosa

    Will pray for your pastor and loved ones. Thanks for shearing.

  • Chris Bran

    ChrisB- May God comfort you and the family in this time of need. You are in our prayers. Thank for for sharing your wisdom with all of us.

  • Pingback: 10 Posts Expressing Love, Support, and Prayers For Rick Warren And His Family | Brian Dodd On Leadership

  • CJ

    Thank you. Beautifully said!

  • jacob d john

    pastor Rick is my favourite pastor though I have never met him but throuhg his daily devotions through the net has blessed me in times of crisis in my wife & me up hold Warren family with our prayers.

  • Ken

    May God comfort the Warrens in this time of deep loss. May they always be comforted by the fact that their son feels no more pain. That he rests with God. And that God ultimately knows what purpose his pain has served to set them on the path to leading others to God and to God’s purpose.

  • Pastor Norm

    If God is omnicient…and He is! if God is omnipresent …and He is! if God is omnipotent ..and He is! (Psalm 139)..
    Then I am sure our God will comfort the family and turn this tragedy into something that will result in glory to God.
    Deut. 29:29 says that some things can’t be explained; they are secrets that belong to God…what belongs to us Christians and Pastor Warren and his family is the gift of faith in a loving and merciful God whose love is unconquerable. (Romans 8:18-39) My heart breaks for you and your family, brother will be in our prayers . if God turned the death of His Son into our salvation then who is to say what God can do with death among His adopted sons. “Cast your cares upon Him..for he cares for you! ” 1 Peter 5:7

  • gary washburn

    I can relate. I am a pastor with a 30 year old son facing almost the same issues. No one knows this kind of pain except another parent who is going through it. Somehow God uses pain to transform us into the image of Christ. I expect even greater things ahead for the Warrens. God does not waste our tears.

  • Moses

    May be it happened so that thy are encouraged by only the Lord, later to encourage the World for many are hurting in the same area.

  • Eymi Tessy Delgado

    Praying for the Warren Family!

  • Pingback: Mourning with Rick and Kay Warren and Family | Pastor Leaders

  • Leigh Ann Mayfield

    Fervently praying and grateful for your words and your heart of compassion, Brandon.

    • Doreen O.

      May the good God console Pastor Rick and the family during this challenging time in their lives.

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