Prayer for recent death

Cherish the memory of the departed with these prayers for the dead. Unfortunately, death and dying is a necessary part of life. These prayers help to usher the living on in to heaven.

Catholic Prayers for The Dead

In Catholicism, there are several prayers to say for the recently deceased. Catholics, unlike other sects of Christianity, believe in purgatory. These prayers are meant to bless those who have died and help them move swiftly from purgatory into heaven.

Prayer for Those in Purgatory

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most precious blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home, and within my family.

Amen.

Merciful Jesus

Most Merciful Jesus, lover of souls,
I pray You, by the agony of Your most
Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Your
Immaculate Mother, to wash in Your Most
Precious Blood, the sinners of the world
who are now in their agony,
and who will die today.
Heart of Jesus, once in agony,
have mercy on the dying.

Amen.

Souls must pass through purgatory in order to enter heaven. It is a rite of passage and purification. But, the duration that one spends in purgatory can vary. These prayers will help to keep the time spent in purgatory as brief as possible.

For Those In Purgatory

My Jesus, by the sorrows You suffered in Your agony in the Garden,
in Your scourging and crowning with thorns, in Your journey to Calvary,
in Your crucifixion and death, have mercy on the souls in purgatory, and especially
on those that are most forsaken; deliver them from the torments they endure; call them
and admit them to Your most sweet embrace in paradise, where You live with the Father
and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer to Our Suffering Savior

O most sweet Jesus, through the bloody sweat which
Thou didst suffer in the Garden of Gethsemane, have mercy on
these Blessed Souls. Have mercy on them. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer during
Thy most cruel scourging, have mercy on them. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in
Thy most painful crowning with thorns, have mercy on them. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in carrying
Thy cross to Calvary, have mercy on them. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer during
Thy most cruel Crucifixion, have mercy on them. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in
Thy most bitter agony on the Cross, have mercy on them. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the immense pain which Thou didst suffer
in breathing forth Thy Blessed Soul, have mercy on them. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

Read Bible Verses about Death and Heaven

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,

neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Click here to read more
Bible Verses about Death, and
Bible Verses about Heaven

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Image: A sculpture of a mourning angel. (Maxpixel)

No, it isn’t the Kaddish.

Kaddish Yatom, “the Orphan’s Kaddish” is the prayer of praise said by mourners as part of Jewish mourning ritual. It has no mention of death at all, and no mention of the departed.

The Jewish Prayer for the Dead is a lesser-known prayer called El Malei Rachamim, “God, full of Mercy.” A cantor once told me that if you want a roomful of Jews to cry, just chant the first line of it. Even if they don’t know exactly what it is, they have heard it at the saddest moments of their lives, and they’ll cry. (I don’t recommend doing that, I’m telling the story to illustrate the power of this prayer.)

The text of the prayer, in English:

God, full of mercy, who dwells in the heights, provide a sure rest upon the wings of the Divine Presence, within the range of the holy, pure and glorious, whose shining resemble the sky’s, to the soul of (Hebrew name of deceased) son of (Hebrew name of his father) for a charity was given to the memory of his soul. Therefore, the Master of Mercy will protect him forever, from behind the hiding of his wings, and will tie his soul with the rope of life. The Everlasting is his heritage, and he shall rest peacefully upon his lying place, and let us say: Amen.

When the departed is a woman, the words are changed accordingly. As you can see it is a personal prayer, and a prayer explicitly for the dead. Mourners are not mentioned, accomplishments in life are not mentioned, simply the fact that this person has died and is now with God.

The service leader chants El Malei Rachamim at funerals and at other mourning events: shiva services, memorial services, Yizkor, and at services remembering the Shoah. Normally this prayer is assented to by the congregation and mourners with the word “Amen” but it is said by the officiant. It is a public prayer, not a private prayer.

For the Hebrew and a transliteration of the Hebrew, see Kel Malei Rachamim on shiva.com (an excellent mourning resource, by the way.)

Rabbis and other officiants sometimes omit “for a charity was given to the memory of his soul,” depending on circumstances. I do not chant that line when I officiate at a funeral unless I know for sure that the family has given tzedakah in the name of the deceased, and the line matches their theology. If I’m not sure, I leave it out. I do not teach that tzedakah given after death affects God’s opinion of the dead, nor do I want to include anything in a prayer that might constitute a promise on someone else’s behalf.

For more about Jewish funeral practices and memorials, see these articles:

Jewish Social Skills: Death & Mourning

Jewish Funeral – Why not send flowers?

Five Tips for Shiva Visits

What to Wear to a Jewish Funeral

Can I Go to Shiva Instead?

What to Say When Someone Dies

Death and the Jew by Choice

Mourning for a Non-Jewish Loved One

What is the Mourner’s Kaddish?

Jews at a Christian Funeral: Some Thoughts

Mortality and the Jews

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prayer for recent death

On this page you’ll find prayers for the dead; prayers for your loved ones you have lost. May their souls rest in peace.

“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’” – 1 Corinthians 15:54-55

“Death may be the King of terrors, but Jesus is the King of kings!” (D.L. Moody)

Regardless of who we are; our prestige, financial, religion and belief, status, age, capabilities, gender, and much more—we have all lost loved ones. A woman losing her husband or her child.  A man losing a brother (not limited by blood). As a matter of fact, even a child losing his grandparents before he is mature enough to understand the situation falls here too. He won’t understand until he grows up and witnesses the reverence/adoration laden with words when people talk about their grandparents. You miss what you lack is the major rule in this case.

“I remember when I lost my mother. The raw shock was too much and I felt paralyzed till I sank down to the floor. It took away my ability to think, breath, or even talk. A few tears later though and I was back on my feet to set an example of strength for all the younger ones. I held in all the emotions till I found myself alone after a few hours where it all shockingly came back. I felt incomplete—like someone snatched my mother from me and was refusing to give her back. With that thought, I played the guilt game: I blamed my deceased mother, father, and even God. Religion obviously seemed flimsy because even my grasp on reality was shaking”. At this point is where most individuals either lose their faith in God or become stronger in Him.

The person who gave up the part above is past ‘stronger in Him’ and I’m that person. To me, let me take a quote in one of the books I indulge in to explain my thoughts, “Death is the next great adventure”. Nonetheless, each individual death that occurs around us feels like a piece of us has gone missing and we, as instinct compels, look for it. Except, we never recover the missing part(s).

God is the link to the missing piece

We prefer to prevent death. Still, why do you avoid your God and thus, your loved ones so? He holds the power over life and death and, whenever death claims a life, you’re taking the one and only path to your God and loved ones. It’s naturally hard as humans to accept all of this but it, like our God is the truth. Realistically, to God, the human body is just a typical mortal vessel like how a bottle contains water. While, the soul, on the other hand, is the water inside the bottle and even to us humans, water is sustenance. In other words, our souls are immortal.

Likewise the body, the world is nothing to God also. So, we dying or any of our loved ones dying is nothing to Him since we’re joining Him in eternal peace. He’s a Father who loves nothing more than to welcome His beloved home after accomplishing their part. Essentially, the whole point of this piece is that you need not think about death and worry because of your loved ones anymore.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” – John 14:3

So, no one child of the Lord should fear death.

Prayer for the soul of a mother/father

Dear Father, I thank You for taking care of my father/mother during their life on Earth. I thank You for giving them the opportunity to bring me into this world and I likewise thank You for the opportunity to have this prayer.  I rejoice over the life that he/she led while alive and for the good deeds he/she accomplished. Lord God, I thusly pray for the soul of my deceased mother/father and that You take care of him/her on his/her way to Your holy Kingdom. I thank you for listening to my prayers oh Lord, Amen.

Prayer for the soul to rest in peace

We thank You Lord for the passing of our brother/sister. We exalt Your name for the good life he/she lived. We pray oh Lord, that everlasting life be given unto him or her. And as he or she abides in Your garden, let Your angels touch what he/she cannot touch again. Father, be with his/her soul and may he/she rest in perfect eternal peace. Amen

Prayer for grieving

Lord God above, we, Your humble children kneel before you today in reverence. We know You’re the greatest and You’re the king of all kings. So, we pray You uplift our heart and soul so that we may cast away our sorrows oh Lord. Give us the strength to surpass this situation. No one dies without Your say-so and thus, we rejoice over this triumph and we pray You be with our deceased brother/sister. We thank you for the answered prayer and in Jesus name, Amen.

Prayer for a brother/sister

As far as I remember, my brother/sister has been with me through all the ups and downs of life. We ate and played together, gave advice to each other and kept no secret from one another. Now, seeing as he/she is gone, I pray that he/she finds everlasting life and eternal happiness in Your powerful embrace. I pray You watch over his/her wife/husband/children/investments on Earth and let Your gaze shift not oh Lord. I thank You for this prayer session and in Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Prayer for the dying

Oh Lord, You are the ADONAI and the one everlasting God. You made the lands and the seas and You have complete dominion over life and death. It is also by Your will that we live and die and we pray for this dying soul. If it’s Your will today for him/her to stay in this world, we rejoice in the miracle You allowed us to witness. But if You need Your beloved son/daughter with you, we pray You welcome him/her into Your bountiful bosom where he/she will rejoice for all eternity. We exalt Your name oh Lord and we glorify Your deeds in our lives. Amen.

Prayer for the departed soul(s)

As said in 1st John chapter 5—verse 15, You’re the omniscient God who we know hears all prayers. So, we pray for the soul(s) of our departed brother(s)/sister(s) that You, oh Lord may nourish and take care of him/her/them in Heaven. You encourage us to ask and that it shall be given to us and so, we’ve asked and we know our request has been given. We thank You for providing for the deceased when he/she was alive and for sheltering us—also to be present in this prayer. Amen.

Verses from the Bible

“Since the children have flesh and blood, too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil– and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrew 2:14-15)

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

“Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:23)

Quotes

“We want to reach the kingdom of God, but we don’t want to travel by way of death. And yet there stands Necessity saying: ‘This way, please.’ Do not hesitate, man, to go this way, when this is the way that God came to you.” (St. Augustine)

“Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.” (Helen Keller)

“When the time comes for you to die, you need not be afraid, because death cannot separate you from God’s love.” (Charles H. Spurgeon)

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