Losing a loved one can bring about an array of emotions and feelings. Making it through the grieving process starts with the memorial and burial as you carry onward to the next stages of coping. To ease the pain, here is a look at some good opening prayers for funerals to get you started.
Good afternoon everybody. May I ask that we all bow our heads in prayer.
Our Lord we acknowledge your presence here, and come before your throne this afternoon as friends and family of Adrian Elm. We are here because we love him and miss him and we want to cherish our memories of him, we want to honor his life and honor him and support one another as we grieve his passing – a passing from life here with us to everlasting life there with you O Lord.
God, thank you for Adrian! You formed him, you knew him, you walked with him through 80 years, and even now we have confidence that he is in your presence.
Thank you that you are a God of mercy, who promises to comfort us, particularly when we lose our loved ones, and so in these moments now, and in the weeks and months ahead, please bring comfort and mercy to us as we remember, and share fondly all that Adrian was to us.
In the mighty and holy name of Jesus we pray.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die:
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to break down, and a time to build up:
A time to weep, and a time to laugh:
A time to mourn and a time to dance:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.
Our father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever.
The Lord is my shepherd: I shall lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.You anoint my head with oil. My cup runs over. Surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,
for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
Now my soul is deeply troubled. Shall I pray, ‘Father save me from what lies ahead?’ But that is the very reason why I came! Father, bring glory and honor to your name.
We are grieving over the unexpected loss of our brother. Lord, just last Sunday he was telling me how excited he was to be part of this church. He was on fire for You, Father. We all saw how joy radiated from him. His love for You was unquenchable and we are mourning the loss of this wonderful man. Father, be with his wife and young children. Raise this congregation up to be the hands and feet of Jesus to this family. Father, love on John’s children. Wrap Your arms around them, for there will be a day when they see him again in Heaven. Father, speak tenderly to his wife and comfort her in this unbearable time of life. Father, this is a very tragic event and yet we know that nothing surprises You. So, in faith we continue to ask and seek Your will in this most desperate time of need. Father, shower this family with love and affection as they grieve through this painful time. We love You, and thank You for Jesus! Amen
God be in my head,
and in my understanding;
God be in my eyes,
and in my looking;
God be in my mouth,
and in my speaking;
God be in my heart,
and in my thinking;
God be at my end,
and at my departing.
Lord, in weakness or in strength
we bear your image.
We pray for those we love
who now live in a land of shadows,
where the light of memory is dimmed,
where the familiar lies unknown,
where the beloved become as strangers.
Hold them in your everlasting arms,
and grant to those who care
a strength to serve,
a patience to persevere,
a love to last
and a peace that passes human understanding.
Hold us in your everlasting arms,
today and for all eternity;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Check out this one memorial service with a selection of opening prayers that are recited and exchanged.
About the Author of this Blog Post Crystal Ayres has served as our editor-in-chief for the last five years. She is a proud veteran, wife and mother. The goal of ConnectUs is to publish compelling content that addresses some of the biggest issues the world faces. If you would like to reach out to contact Crystal, then go here to
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The Lord Jesus has taken away the sting of death through his resurrection. Believers know that for all who are in union with Jesus, their bodies will be united to Christ after death and they anticipate the hope of the resurrection. The sting is gone. The last enemy is defeated. Death has no victory over the believer.
All of this is true in a spiritual sense—death has lost its sting, victory over death has been won. Death no longer holds us captive, but as a pastor for nearly a decade, I have observed that death and the trials and sorrow surrounding it have stings that catches many families by surprise. We never know when we will be called out of this life. Middle-aged men die; children die; old people die. Unless Jesus returns, we will all die.
There will be mourning; the sting of death will bring pain. But trust me in this—if you are in Christ, the mourning will be only here on earth; you will be face-to-face with your precious Savior, Jesus Christ.
Excerpt from The Stings of Death by Nathan Ehelman
A Funeral Prayer for Comfort
Dear Jesus, How remarkable it is to have a savior who weeps with me.
Back when I was in elementary school, I loved John 11:35 for its brevity. “Jesus wept.” My friends and I would giggle, pleased that we had discovered the second-shortest verse in the Bible. (The shortest verse, as we gleefully reminded each other, was Job 3:2, “He said.”) I didn’t pay much attention to the context of John 11: the story of how You were en route to the tomb of Your friend Lazarus, in the company of Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha, mere days after Lazarus’ death. I didn’t dwell long on the significance of Your tears.
How different that verse looks to me today. Today, as I see the casket topped with flowers that blur at the edges because my eyes go damp every time I look in their direction. Today, as pastors and friends and family members speak about my loved one using the past tense instead of the present. Today, as the words of the hymns catch in my throat and render me mute. Today, as the hope I still hold to be true collides with the waves of sorrow suffocating me.
Today, “Jesus wept” means everything to me. Today, I remember that You wept because someone dear to You and dear to people You loved had died. Even though You already knew the end of the story—even though You knew that death wouldn’t have the final word—still You wept. You didn’t stand aloof, offering textbook reassurances and condescending pats on the head. You heard the stories, clutched the shaking hands, walked to the tomb, and shed tears of your own. You grieved the loss, and You grieved with those who felt that same stinging loss.
Today, Jesus, I am thankful to worship a God who became human enough to weep with me.
I believe that the world wasn’t made for death and loss. I can feel by the cavern in my chest that something is wrong, that this aching sorrow isn’t the way things were supposed to be. And yet I also believe that You, Jesus, are in the business of restoring what has gone wrong. I believe that death won’t get the last word because You’ve already crushed it and declared the power of resurrection over everyone who will receive it.
I believe that this story, like the story of Lazarus, ends in victory. I don’t grieve like someone without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13), because I anticipate new life on the other side of the clouds. And I want to celebrate for brothers and sisters who get there ahead of me, the saints who have sprinted past me into Your throne room. I want to take delight in their delight. Their pain is gone, their needs met, their sorrows overturned, and that thought alone makes me weep for joy.
But knowing the end of the story, knowing the good that’s coming and has already come, doesn’t erase the heartbreak for the meantime. Today, I cry tears that mean a hundred things at once, happy and sorrowful and desperate and hopeful. I trust You to sort them out as You catch them, to hear and answer each prayer they represent.
I cry for those of us left behind, for the lonely ones with hollows in our hearts. I ask You to comfort us, give peace, restore hope, and lavish us with love, family, and belonging. In the depths of loss, meet us with Yourself.
I cry for the legacy this loved one leaves, for the ways the world has been made different by their presence, for the memories that become both more beautiful and more painful on this side of death. And I pray that the work You have accomplished in this remarkable life will grow deeper, wider, and stronger in the days to come, uninhibited by a weak opponent like death.
I cry for those who haven’t yet accepted Your invitation into eternal life, for those who grieve without hope today. I pray for awakening in their hearts, for a stirring that draws to You. I pray for more attendees at the grand reunion scheduled in the coming eternity.
I cry for all the ways the world has gone wrong, and for all the ways You’re making it right again. I ask that You make me part of Your work in bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth.
I cry knowing You are here with me. And because You are here, even my tears have meaning. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
A Prayer for Those Hurting from Loss
Our hearts are grieving with those who are hurting, for those who have lost loved ones, for those who have suffered such great tragedy at the hands of evil. We ask that you would be their Comforter, that you would cover them with your grace and mercy, surrounding them in peace during this dark time.
We thank you that you alone are our Refuge, our Strong Tower, our Defender, and our Peace. We thank you that no matter what we face, you are still on the throne, you are still in control, and that no evil can ever stand against you. It will be defeated, it will not win. For you alone have won the final victory, and the enemy’s days are numbered.
Thank you God that you are surely with us…thank you that you care…thank you that your Presence is close…and that you weep with those who weep. We need you. We know and believe beyond any doubt, that your power and love will never fail. In Jesus’ Almighty Name above all Names, Amen.
Excerpt from Prayer for Those Who are Hurting by Debbie McDaniel
Scriptures to Read at a Funeral
I didn’t fully understand the depths of grief until the year my family lost two sisters and a brother within eight months. My brother-in-law lost a five-year battle with cancer, my sister died an agonizing death from a toxic clash of prescribed medications, and my sister-in-law died suddenly from a triple brain aneurysm. God comforted us through those horrible days in many different ways. Friends made hospital visits and attended funerals. Distant relatives emailed sweet expressions of sympathy. Fellow church members sent cards and casseroles. Our greatest source of comfort, however, was the Bible verses we read in the days surrounding our loved ones’ deaths. Here are 10 verses we found especially meaningful.
“He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Isaiah 53:3 – This verse was meaningful to me because it reminded me that while no one on earth could understand my unique pain, Jesus could. Fully God and fully man, Jesus experienced the depths of human emotion during his time on earth so he could identify with our grief. Combined with John 11:35, where Jesus wept at the tomb of his friend Lazarus, this verse gave me unshakeable proof that God was not only aware of my grief, but grieved with me.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalm 56:8 – Even if I cry river, Psalm 56:8 told me God would collect every one of my tears. The ones I blinked back. The ones I cried silently. The ones that soaked my pillow in the middle of the night. Not a single tear escaped his notice. Each one was precious to him, because I was precious to him.
“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.” Psalm 23:4 – This beloved verse reminds me that death is only a shadow. It passes over for a moment, but it cannot permanently hurt the believer. Eighteenth-century preacher Dwight L. Moody described it this way, “The valley of the shadow of death holds no darkness for the child of God. There must be light, else there could be no shadow. Jesus is the light. He has overcome death.”
“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 – This verse, paired with the New Testament story of Jesus’ last hours on the cross, reassures me that as soon as my loved ones took their last breaths on earth, they took their first breaths in heaven. I don’t have to wonder if they’re languishing in some in-between holding place hoping to one day see Jesus. Like Christ told the thief on the cross when he placed his faith in him, “Today, you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43 NIV). A beloved pastor once described death as walking from one room into the next. The moment my loved ones stepped out of the room called earth, they stepped into the room called heaven. And Jesus was waiting for them there.
“He wil wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!'” Revelation 21:4-5 – The thought of Jesus wiping away my tears once and for all is a precious thought. Think of a world where sorrow is banished and sickness, pain, and death have no home. Picture a place where sin’s curse has been removed, and we’ll never again have to experience the agonizing pain of cancer, Alzheimer’s, or heart disease. No hospitals. No cancer centers. No funeral homes. Just health, joy, and peace.
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5 – My pastor shared this verse with me during one of my darkest days. “Right now,” he said, “you feel like you’ll never be happy again, but you will. You may wonder if it’s okay, if being happy somehow dishonors your loved one. Trust me, it doesn’t.” He was right. In time, my family and I did smile again. Even in the midst of our grief. Sometimes we laughed through our tears at the silly things our loved ones had done or said. Other times we’d share a special memory or tell a story that made us feel close to them again. I discovered that there’s healing in tears, but there’s also healing in laughter. My pastor’s words gave me permission to experience them both in my journey through grief.
Excerpt from “10 Scriptures About Death to Comfort” by Lori Hatcher
Gregory Coles is the author of Single, Gay, Christian and an English instructor at Penn State University. Learn more at www.gregorycoles.com or follow him on Facebook.
Photo courtesy: Unsplash.com
In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
The Funeral Prayer
No one dies except by GOD’s leave, at a predetermined time. Whoever seeks the vanities of this world, we give him therefrom, and whoever seeks the rewards of the Hereafter, we bless him therein. We reward those who are appreciative.
Death is one of the major events in our life. Everyone of us have a life span that will end at a predetermined time. Only God decides and knows when and where everyone’s life ends. No one dies a day before or after that pre-determined time.
“Wherever you are, death will catch up with you, even if you live in formidable castles……”
Death is a great mystery to most people. Not so for the students of the Quran. We learn that death is exactly like sleeping; complete with dreams (6:60, 40:46). The period between death and resurrection passes like one night of sleep (2:259; 6:60; 10:45; 16:21; 18:11, 18:19, 18:25, 30:55).
Everyone dies, good bad, evil, saint, messenger or prophet.
Everyone on earth perishes. Only the presence of your Lord lasts. Possessor of Majesty and Honor.
The submitters should accept the death as a fact of life realizing that no one will live any longer or shorter than what God decrees. The submitters believe that God’s choice for them is the best choice. Consistently, the Quran talks about two deaths, the first death took place when we failed to make a stand with God’s absolute authority (Appendix 7). That first death lasted until we were born into this world. The second death terminates our life in this world (2:28, 22:66, 40:11).
Death can be a test for those who are still alive.
We will surely test you through some fear, hunger, and loss of money, lives, and crops. Give good news to the steadfast.
The believers react to any adversity affecting them according to Quran;
When an affliction befalls them (the believers), they say, “We belong to GOD, and to Him we are returning.”
Before doing the Funeral Prayer, one has to understand that there is a category of people who should not be granted this prayer, the disbelievers or idol-worshipers.
Neither the prophet, nor those who believe shall ask forgiveness for the idol worshipers, even if they were their nearest of kin, once they realize that they are destined for Hell.
“Build the ark under our watchful eyes, and with our inspiration, and do not implore Me on behalf of those who have transgressed; they are destined to drown.”
You shall not observe the funeral prayer for any of them when he dies, nor shall you stand at his grave. They have disbelieved in GOD and His messenger, and died in a state of wickedness.
We also need to understand that God is encouraging the believers to implore Him. The Funeral Prayer is one of these circumstances where we can implore God. See for example these verses; God rewards people for what they say:
“Why should we not believe in GOD, and in the truth that has come to us, and hope that our Lord may admit us with the righteous people?”
5:85] GOD has rewarded them for saying this; He will admit them into gardens with flowing streams. They abide therein forever. Such is the reward for the righteous.
Those who proclaim: “Our Lord is GOD,” then lead a righteous life, the angels descend upon them: “You shall have no fear, nor shall you grieve. Rejoice in the good news that Paradise has been reserved for you.
“We are your allies in this life, and in the Hereafter. You will have in it anything you wish for; you will have anything you want.
Those who reverenced their Lord will be led to Paradise in throngs. When they get to it, and its gates are opened, its guards will say, “Peace be upon you; you have won. Therefore, you abide herein forever.”
The angels terminate their lives in a state of righteousness, saying, “Peace be upon you. Enter Paradise (now) as a reward for your works.” God wants us to implore Him.
“Implore Me, and I will respond to you. Surely, those who are too arrogant to worship Me will enter Gehenna, forcibly.”
“When My servants ask you about Me, I am always near. I answer their prayers when they pray to Me. The people shall respond to Me and believe in Me, in order to be guided.”
Quran teaches us that God tests people with adversity and hardship that they may implore (6:42, 7:94).
We have sent (messengers) to communities before you, and we put them to the test through adversity and hardship, that they may implore.
Quran also points out:
“If only they implored when the tests came to them! ”
As for the Funeral Prayer, it is mentioned in Quran in 9:84. The verbs used by God in 9:84 are the same exact verbs He uses for the observance of our Contact Prayer (tusalli and taqum). Such verbs are used in conjunction with with the event of death (mata minhum) and with the grave site as a place (qabreh) indicating that there is a prayer that is supoosed to be observed at the grave site for those who die with the exclusion of disbelievers, hypocrites or idolworshipers:
You shall not observe the funeral prayer (la tusalli) for any of them when he dies, nor shall you stand at his grave (la taqum ala Qabreh) . They have disbelieved in GOD and His messenger, and died in a state of wickedness.
The Funeral Prayer is not a Salat (Contact prayers) but just a prayer, (a supplication, an invocation, “Dua’a”) for the dead person. Since it is not a Salat, it does not have the order and steps of the Contact Prayer. There is no bowing or falling prostrate during the Funeral Prayer.
However, like Salah, the Funeral Prayer is an inherited practice that got corrupted over the years. The way it is practiced by traditional Muslims today is not dedicated to God alone. Muhammad’s and Abraham’s names are added to the Funeral Prayer which would nullify it, since our imploring is not dedicated to God alone, our Creator and Sustainer.
It is notwothy that the way 9:84 is structured leads to the conviction that the practice has been already in existence, but God is only prohibiting us from doing it for the disbelievers.
The following Funeral Prayer has removed all the corruptions and names other than God that were added over the years by tradition. The details of the movements are not significant as it is not a true Salat.
STEPS OF the FUNERAL PRAYER
- Stand by the dead person’s casket if it is available or just declare for the group that you will be doing Funeral prayer for the dead person.
- You declare your intention of doing the Funeral prayer for the dead person and raise your hand and say Allahu Akbar.
- Read Sura one, Al Fateha (The Key)..
- Say Allahu Akbar without raising your hand.
- Declare the Shahada, Ash-hadu A- La Elaaha Ella Allah, Wahdaho La Sharik Lah. I bear witness there is no god besides God and He has no partners.
- Say Allahu Akbar without raising your hand.
- Say your invocation to God, (supplication, Dua’a) for the dead person asking God for His mercy on the dead person and to grant him/her forgiveness and reward him and keep him/her with the righteous in the Hereafter and admit him/her to Heaven (Paradise). Here are some of the verses in the Quran that teach us how to implore God:
Your Lord has decreed that you shall not worship except Him, and your parents shall be honored. As long as one or both of them live, you shall never say to them, “Uff” (the slightest gesture of annoyance), nor shall you shout at them; you shall treat them amicably.
And lower for them the wings of humility, and kindness, and say, “My Lord, have mercy on them, for they have raised me from infancy.” “Forgive us and our parents, and the believers on the day when the reckoning takes place ”
Those who became believers after them say, “Our Lord, forgive us and our brethren who preceded us to the faith, and keep our hearts from harboring any hatred towards those who believed. Our Lord, You are Compassionate, Most Merciful.”
- Without raising your hand say Allahu Akbar third time, and do more prayers.
“My Lord, make me one who consistently observes the Contact Prayers (Salat), and also my children. Our Lord, please answer my prayers.
- End the Funeral prayer by saying Salamun Alikum or Alhamdu Lellah or any sign to let the group know you finished.
As noticed, there is no bowing or prostrating. It is NOT a Salat (Contact Prayer) but rather an imploring to God Almighty.