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Funeral Prayers


A funeral service can be a a time for three things - grieving, thanksgiving and hope - and our prayers will want to reflect these three important elements. It is a time for grieving and mourning the loss of our loved one. It is also a time for thanksgiving, for there will be much to celebrate in the life of the one who has died. For the Christian it is also a time of hope. The apostle Paul writes that in our grief we should not be like those who do not have a hope - for Christ has gone before us and opened a way for us all to live in eternity. The passing away of our loved one is not the end of a life, only the closing of one chapter and the opening of another much more remarkable one.


The bodies we now have are weak and can die. But they will be changed into bodies that are eternal. Then the Scriptures will come true,
“Death has lost the battle!
Where is its victory?
Where is its sting?"


1 Cor 15:54-55, (CEV)


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Psalm 23

Here is a reading of the famous psalm of David, often referred to as "The Lord is my Shepherd":-


The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.

(Lucius Annaeus Seneca)



Traditional Funeral Service Prayers

A selection of prayers from "Burial of the Dead: Rite One" from the Book of Common Prayer (Episcopal Church). More prayers and the order of service can be found by clicking here.

At the Burial of an Adult


O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered: Accept our prayers on behalf of thy servant N.,
and grant him an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of thy saints;
through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God,
now and for ever.

Amen.

(Source: 1979 Book of Common Prayer, Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA)



At the Burial of a Child


O God, whose beloved Son did take little children into his arms and bless them:
Give us grace, we beseech thee,
to entrust this child N. to thy never-failing care and love,
and bring us all to thy heavenly kingdom;
through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee
and the Holy Spirit, one God,
now and for ever.

Amen.

(Source: 1979 Book of Common Prayer, Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA)


More Episcopal Prayers


An edited selection of prayers for after the homily and communion (or if there is no communion, the Lord's Prayer may be read):-
Grant to all who mourn a sure confidence in thy fatherly care, that, casting all their grief on thee, they may know the consolation of thy love.

Amen.
Give courage and faith to those who are bereaved, that they may have strength to meet the days ahead in the comfort of a reasonable and holy hope, in the joyful expectation of eternal
life with those they love.

Amen.
Help us, we pray, in the midst of things we cannot understand, to believe and trust in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection to life everlasting.

Amen.

(Source: 1979 Book of Common Prayer, Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA)



Eulogy Prayers

(How to write a your own prayer of thanks for the passing of a loved one)

There are three areas in a persons life that we can celebrate at their passing:-

Family and Friends
Here we can reflect and give thanks for the kind of parent (or child or brother/sister) that they have been.
We can also give thanks for their friendship and think about some of their virtues and character as a person. For example, their kindness, support, patience, humour, etc.

Service
Here we think about the kind of person the deceased has been, and how they have given into society. For example, this may be by being a good neighbour, or by their work in charity and voluntary organisations, or their service to the life of the church.

Work
Here we can reflect on how this person has given into their work and career, and perhaps note some of their achievements. This might be in simple ways such as their friendship at work, or in areas where their work has had a wider impact.

Here is an example of how a prayer like this might look, but you might also want to compose your own prayer or use this as a starting point. A prayer like this could also be read in small sections by different relatives or friends:-


A Memorial Prayer of Thanks


Father, we thank you so much for the life of N. Today we celebrate all that he/she has given us and the legacy of their life on earth.

Thank you for what a good (mother/father/son/sister) he/she has been. We remember how they have always supported us through the difficult seasons and rejoiced with us in the good times.

Thank for the ways in which N. has given to our society. We think about what a kind neighbour N. has been, and their love for community life. May their acts of service be a lasting light to us all.

We praise you Lord for the working life of N. We bring to mind some of their many achievements and thank you for the countless blessings that they leave behind.

Finally Lord, we are so grateful for N. We will always deeply treasure him/her in our hearts and give thanks for everything they have given us.

Amen.

(a sample eulogy prayer from www.lords-prayer-words.com)



Funeral Readings

Some popular bible verses for funeral services

Psalm 46:1-7 (NIV)

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.



Psalm 23 (AKJV)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.




1 Cor 15:51-57 (CEV)

I will explain a mystery to you. Not every one of us will die, but we will all be changed. It will happen suddenly, quicker than the blink of an eye. At the sound of the last trumpet the dead will be raised. We will all be changed, so that we will never die again. Our dead and decaying bodies will be changed into bodies that won’t die or decay. The bodies we now have are weak and can die. But they will be changed into bodies that are eternal. Then the Scriptures will come true,
“Death has lost the battle!
Where is its victory?
Where is its sting?”
Sin is what gives death its sting, and the Law is the power behind sin. But thank God for letting our Lord Jesus Christ give us the victory!



Prayer for strength when grieving

A prayer for comfort when suffering the loss of a loved one, accompanied by images of beautiful blossom and relaxing music:-


Prayer for Strength when Grieving

here are the words to the prayer in this film:-

Lord, at the moment nothing seems to be able to help the loss I feel.
My heart is broken and my spirit mourns.
All I know is that Your grace is sufficient.
This day, this hour
Moment by moment
I choose to lean on You,
For when I am at my weakest Your strength is strongest.
I pour out my grief to You
And praise You that on one glorious day
When all suffering is extinguished and love has conquered
We shall walk together again.

(a prayer for grieving suitable for a memorial card or service from www.lords-prayer-words.com)



What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.

Albert Pike



The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

(Source: the U.S. Book of Common Prayer, 1928 edition)



Take a moment to hear from God...

here are links to some wonderfully inspired prayers to aid your journey