Has someone you know recently lost a friend or a loved one? Prayers can help them through their time of grief. The Bible says “Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). This verse is more than a notion. There is power in prayer to help us through death and dying.
When someone we care about loses someone in their life, offering condolences, whether they be in writing or in person is never easy because you’re never quite sure what to say. People are often concerned about saying the wrong thing or coming off like they’re not genuine. Because of this, it’s easy to fall into the trap of saying something so generic that it doesn’t come off genuine.
The goal of expressing sympathy is to offer your compassion and concern for the bereaved. The most important thing you can communicate to a person who is grieving the loss of a friend or a loved one is that you’re there for them and will be there to support them in whatever way they need you to. One of the best ways to support someone who has recently loss someone is by praying for them. Here are six prayers for death and dying that you can offer a person has passed away, and also to someone who has suffered the loss of a loved one:
When We are Weak, You Make Us Strong
When our lives are running smoothly and devoid of trials, we have a tendency to rely upon our own human strength – strength that cannot compare in any way to Christ’s almighty and divine strength. However, when our life is beset with difficulties and storms, our strength fades away and we become weak. Yet, in these times of personal weakness, we can turn to Jesus and rely upon His divine strength and through that strength, face and endure these storms: Dear Lord, at this 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. Amen.
You are There for Us
God is there for us, especially during our times of grief and mourning. Sadly, grief is a part of the human experience. Loss is part of life, and grief is a natural response to loss. But we have the hope of Christ, and we know that He is strong enough to carry our burdens: Heavenly Father, there is none like You. Every day we want to praise You and worship Your glorious name. Today, we weep at the death of our loved one, but Blessed Father, we can rest assured knowing You are there for us, knowing we can find comfort and peace within You, in the midst of our tears and our grief. Lord, we shout Your praises, because You have turned our mourning into dancing. Amen.
We Thank You for Their Life
The Bible tells us that God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46). This includes times of loss. This is a time we can use to reflect on the life they lived and thank God for having the opportunity to know them for this particular season of life: Heavenly Father, may Your name be honored. There is none greater than You. You are our refuge and strength. You are always ready to help in times of trouble. We praise You, Lord. We lift our hearts with praise. It is good to sing praises to You; our God; how delightful and how right! Lord, You are great and mighty in power. Your understanding is infinite. We than You, Father, for the Life of our loved one who has gone on to be with You. Thank you for their time on earth and the impact they had on our lives. We are thankful to You and we bless Your name. Amen.
Rescue Them from Their Grief
We know that the Lord is there for us during times of loss, because He promises to be present. We know that when we are feeling loss and discouraged that God hears us and has the ability to rescue us when we feel so low, we don’t know how to lift ourselves up. God has the ability to rescue us during grief: Heavenly Father, you can count the stars and call them all by name. Your power is absolute. Your understanding is beyond comprehension. You support the humble and bring the wicked down into the dust. You comfort those who mourn. We declare that those grieving the death of a loved one; mourning will turn into dancing. We confess that You are their rock, fortress and Savior in whom they will find protection. You are their shield, and the strength of their salvation. Father, You are their stronghold. As they call on You, You have promised to answer. We believe that You will be with them during this period of bereavement, rescue them from grief, honor them, and give them Your salvation. Amen.
We Send Peace for Those Mourning
Peace, by definition, is freedom from disturbance, quiet and tranquility. The Bible reminds us “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
When someone has recently lost a loved one, we can pray for that same peace which passes all understanding to come to them:
Dear Lord, we ask You to send Your peace to those persons who are mourning. Continue to surround them with family, friends and loved ones who will offer words of comfort. Give them sweet and restful sleep. Lord, remove the spirit of heaviness, and give them garments of praise. In due time, bless their lives to overflow with laughter and joy again. As they take refuge in You, please help them to put their trust in You. Holy Spirit, we ask that You settle the hearts and minds of those who are feeling any guilt, resentment, bitterness, or anger. Help them not to look back but to press forward. Amen.
Prayers for the Dying – Overcoming the Fear
Are you intimidated to offer prayers for the dying? Death is close at hand and you are there to bring comfort. Can you do it? Do you know how? The very fear you have and the grief you feel is also in the heart and mind of the one who is facing death. Don’t fight that, but embrace it and share it. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” As you mourn with someone who is dying or with someone who’s experiencing the death of someone close to them — you give them comfort, you uplift, you are blessed because you are blessing someone else, and you too will experience comfort.
Prayers for the Dying – Clinging to Life
As you offer prayers for the dying, you may see a struggle in their spirit to live. The health of our spirit is interestingly tied to our struggle to cling to life. The sick and the weak, those with little left to hang onto in the physical realm; will still cling to their life when their spirit is strong. Fighting a fight that seems like a losing battle; the dying will take any kind of quality of life that is offered them.
What are they truly clinging to? What is life? Jesus said He is life (John 14:6); He gives life abundantly or to the full (John 10:10); He said that His words are spirit and they are life and that the flesh is of no avail (John 6:63); and He promises that all who believe in Him have eternal life (John 6:47). The life that we truly cling to and struggle to have is found in Jesus right now; and is fulfilled just beyond the horror of death.
Death comes when the struggle to cling to the flesh gives way. The dying will come to accept the journey that their spirit needs to take. And Jesus knows that journey. He went through it. He conquered it for you and for me (John 11:25). Jesus alone is the judge of who inherits eternal life. So leave it in His loving, righteous, gracious, and worthy hands.
Prayers for the Dying – Offering Hope
There is hope and good news that you can offer in your prayers for the dying. The good news is that death is now swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). We have hope because of Jesus! The return of Jesus to gather His people to Himself and the promise of eternal life is our hope. The Bible often reminds us of how we should long for its coming and cling to its promise to keep us going when life is difficult. For the believer, death is the gateway into the promise of eternal life as we shed our earthly bodies to enter into the presence of God (1 Corinthians 15:50-53).
”Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:3-9, ESV)
Offer this hope to the dying so they can find peace. Jesus will meet them right in their moment of death just as He did the thief on the cross in Luke 23:39-43. Our faith comes up against the fear of death and brings comfort and even joy.
”May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).
Prayers for the Dying – A Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, With heavy hearts we come to You. You are Almighty Creator God; holy and full of grace and love. Our hearts are heavy because of a life that is leaving us. Death engulfs us Lord. Fear is waiting to take us down. Thank You Father, that because of Jesus, You know our pain and sorrow intimately. Thank You that Jesus knows the way through this dark shadow. Take the hand of our dear sister/brother and make Yourself known. Guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Keep that which is Your own and take it into eternity to be with You. In Jesus, death is but a shadow. Jesus has swallowed up its sorrows and pain. Thank You Jesus for the cross. Thank You Jesus for the resurrection. Lord, we are before You, confessing that You are Lord of all; the gate keeper to eternal life. Your grace and love abound even as our sin seems ever increasing. Take our hands Lord and lead us through. We lay our fears at your feet. Your promise is that You — and You alone — will come to take us home. As it says in Psalm 23:4: “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” (ESV).
Thank you for the comfort we find in Your presence. Through the Holy Spirit we know Your presence is with us. Send us Your peace Lord; the peace that passes all understanding. Don’t let us waiver and doubt. Give us a faith that is everlasting. We release our lives into Your hands. As we wait and watch, we know Lord that none of us will escape this journey through death. Teach us how to embrace it with faith. Give us strength to hold up those who are stepping closer to seeing You face to face. Take away the fear in the heart of our loved one who will soon see You; let them find peace in Your grace, comfort in Your love, and strength in Your mighty power over death. Comfort us as our grief seems to over power us.
You are a good, just, righteous, and loving Father. Don’t let us grow bitter in this shadow of death. But pierce our hearts with a joy that we can not fathom or understand. A joy that is above all that is corrupted here on earth. Jesus you wept over death and so too, we weep. But it is a grief and a mourning that holds joy on the other side. You are conqueror of all; and so we trust You. We trust that You will do what is right, what is loving. Whether in death or in life Your will is accomplished and You are sovereign. May we know Your presence, Lord. Keep us ever aware of Your loving hand guiding us through all things. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.
Learn More About Dealing With Death
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
– We have all
and deserve God’s judgment.
, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him.
, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He
for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was
rose from the dead
according to the
. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your
, declaring, “
Jesus is Lord
,” you will be saved from
and spend eternity with God in heaven.
What is your response?
Yes, today I am deciding to follow JesusYes, I am already a follower of JesusI still have questions
What do you say to a person that is dying? What about someone who is dying without Christ? What I would say to a person who is dying in the faith of Jesus Christ is quite different that what I would say to a person that is dying and does not believe in Him. My first thought of someone who is dying without Jesus Christ is that they will be forever separated from God with no second chance of reconciliation. That the person who dies without Christ will be cut off from God for eternity is something that rends my heart. I have had experiences with both.
What to Say to a Person Dying Without Christ
I would ask them if they have ever heard about Jesus. What do they think about Him? Do they believe in God? What do they believe will happen to them after they die? Where would a person spend eternity after death? These are sobering questions that are very serious. I would never shy away from asking a person who may not have long to live these questions. There eternal destiny is at stake. The fact is that no one who is without Christ has any guarantee that they will live beyond tonight. They could die in their sleep. They could die tomorrow in an accident. I certainly would hope that they would not but the Bible says that there is a day of judgment coming. Whether they believe it or not does not change the reality of this fact.
Hebrews 9:27 actually says that we have a day that God has appointed for us to die, saying “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” God has actually given each human being a set number of days to live. Psalm 139:16 makes this clear, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Ecclesiastes 3:2a clearly indicates that there is “a time to be born and a time to die.”
The only thing that you can say to someone who does not know Christ and is dying is to reveal to them that they will spend eternity somewhere. You can tell them that if they have lost any loved ones who were believers, they are now safely in the bosom of Jesus. This is nothing more certain than death and nothing more sure than Jesus Christ’s free offer of salvation through belief in Him. He came to earth to live a perfect life, leaving His glory in heaven. He came to have God place His holy wrath on Him in our place so that we might be able to spend eternity with Him. That is His desire. God keeps His promises and if you believe in Him, He will never leave you nor forsake you even after death (Heb 13:5). Second Peter 3:9 reveals that “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Knowing that He doesn’t want anyone to perish without Him, if you will place your trust in Him, He will give you saving faith.
Here is all that is involved.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9).
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household” (Acts 16:31).
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
How to Pray With the Dying: 5 Helpful Tips
Tip Number One- Read and Quote The Bible
The Scriptures above are great to read again and to ensure them that since they believe in Him and all the promises that Jesus has made, then they have no worries after the die. You will most likely have to read them back to them but they may want to do this themselves. Leave it up to them, even if this means that they don’t want them read back to them. Respect their rights. Do as they say. If they profess these beliefs then we can know that they already have eternal life. John 6:54 says “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood (become a believer and participated in Communion) has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” Of course if they haven’t had a chance to be baptized or to have Communion, I try to reassure them that God is faithful and will not suffer us to remain in the grave if we believe in Him (John 3:16). There is real power in the Word of God so I try to use this power. In fact, the verses above contain the very power of God. The power is actually in the gospel as Paul says in Romans 1:16b, “because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”
Tip Number Two- Comfort Them
I have experienced this situation and it is such an amazing thing being with a saint that is near death and with their having the full assurance of faith in Christ. This is somewhat easier in the sense that you can provide comfort with the surety of God’s promises from His inerrant Word. It is always good to have a person reaffirm their beliefs. The certainty of the promises of God can provide peace and comfort knowing that those who die in Christ will be absent from the body but will be present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8).
Tip Number Three- Pray With Them
Pray with them. For me, I have been moved to tears…and that’s okay. It is completely natural. They may cry as well. There is healing in tears. It is highly likely that they have endured great suffering up to this point and that great day with the Lord is something to eagerly anticipate.
Now this is just my own personal preference and of course, you can use your own methods and words, but I love praying back some of God’s promises. You may have special verses or a prayer from the Bible that you use, but I love using the Word of God in prayer because God loves it when we pray back His promises. The Psalms for example are full of hope-filled assurances that we can count on. So here is my own personal prayer using Scriptures that I love but I don‘t include chapter and verse:
“Oh Righteous Father, we know our days are numbered in your book of life and that precious in your sight are the death of your saints. We are so thankful that we can stand on your promises and know that when we die, we are instantly in your holy presence. All of those who have gone before us, beloved friends and family, are there waiting for us. We know that death can not hold us because just as Jesus died and was resurrected, we too know that we also will be raised to eternal life. There is such peace in knowing that there will be no more tears, no more sorrow, and no more pain. What great and precious promises you have given us. We know that nothing can ever separate us from your love. No one or nothing can snatch us out of Your mighty hands. Blessed Lord, please be with in this time and with his/her family; to comfort, strengthen, and encourage them during the coming difficult days and times ahead. We pray that Your tender mercies be upon now. I thank God for and the faithfulness that he/she has shown in their life. has placed his/her trust and faith in You and we know that you will never leave nor forsake him/her. We thank you for your precious gift of salvation which came through the precious the blood of the lamb of God at supreme cost. Our atonement was made possible by Him and has made us one with You. We ask these things in the power, majesty, glorious, and most holy name of our Savior, King, Master, and Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Tip Number Four – Ask Them What They Need Help With
I ask them if they have any special considerations that I could help them with. Is there something that you want to say or write down that I can tell others? Is there something that I can do for you after you are gone? What is it that I can help you with today? If I give the eulogy and/or the memorial service, I ask them what they would like me to say. What is it that you want me to tell others? What special considerations for the service like music would you want included? Does your family know of your wishes?
Tip Number Five- Talk About Heaven
I not only like to describe where their eternal destination will be like but what their final home will be like. There are many biblical descriptions of what heaven will be like. There are some from Isaiah and some from Revelation. The glorious description of heaven is just too incredible to be told in words. Its total glory will only be revealed when we finally see it for ourselves. All of our beloved family and friends will be there to greet us. All of the heartaches and pains will be a thing of the past. What a wonderful eternity this will be. It is the final joy of our eternal inheritance. Jesus said that He has reserved a place for us. And of course we can fall into the arms of our Savior. We will fall as His feet and worship Him forever. We have eternal life and this eternity with God will be so overwhelming that it can not be described. What joy awaits us all some great day.
Your Ticket to Heaven
No one comes to the Father (and heaven) except through Jesus Christ (John 6:44). There is no other way to gain eternal life than through the Son of God (Acts 4:12). If you are not yet a believer in Jesus Christ, I pray that you will come to saving faith today. Jesus says “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). “I will in no way caste you out” (John 6:37). Jesus says that, “You will never be snatched out of My hands nor our of My Father’s hands” (John 10:28-29). If you will only believe in Me, you can have eternal life (John3:16). That is my prayer for you this very day.
The Holy Bible, New International Version
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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