Prayer for someone to die

It was late afternoon, the autumn sun filtering weakly through the stained-glass windows, when the young woman walked into church. I’d come over to say Evening Prayer and invited her to join me. She demurred, but asked if I could spare her a few minutes: ‘I really need to talk with someone,’ she said. ‘I’m not religious or anything, but I thought you might be able to help.’ So we picked out a pew, and I asked her what was on her mind.

She began to unfold a story of painful betrayal and heartache. She’d recently discovered that her partner of many years had been unfaithful to her. The relationship had seemed strong to her, but she’d discovered that he’d been seeing another woman and that the affair had been going on for quite a while. They’d argued, and it had become clear that for some time he’d been cheating on her with a string of different women; their relationship had meant far less to him than she’d believed. He’d left her, and she found herself grieving, bitter, angry, disoriented, and filled with a desperate sorrow.

Is it right to pray for someone to die?

‘It’s the anger that’s killing me,’ she told me. ‘It’s been months now since he left, but the anger has stayed with me. It’s like poison in my stomach. I can’t get rid of it, can’t some to terms with it. I’ve been to see counselors, and they’ve been helpful, but the anger is still there. I don’t know what to do.’

I explained to her that I couldn’t offer her counseling myself, as I don’t have training in that area, but that I’d be happy to refer her to a colleague who might be able to help. ‘No,’ she said, ‘I don’t want to see another counselor. I don’t think that’d help.’

‘Fine,’ I replied. ‘Well, here’s what I can offer. I’m not a counselor, I’m a priest. I help people to pray. Would that be helpful?’She thought about it for a moment. ‘I don’t really know if I believe in all that. But I guess it couldn’t do any harm. I could give it a try, I suppose.’

I thought to myself, Well, from such mighty seeds of faith, who knows what oaks might grow? But I kept that to myself and simply answered, ‘Sounds good to me. Let’s start with Prayer 101, a kind of basic introduction. Prayer is simply talking to God. But there’s no point in telling God anything that isn’t true. So here’s my first question: what would be the truth for you right now? How do you really feel about this situation, about this man?’Her eyes flashed. ‘I wish he was dead.’I held her fierce gaze. ‘Well then, that’s what you need to pray. Pray for him to die.’

Praying the truth

The young woman was startled. This clearly wasn’t what she’d expected to hear either. ‘I can’t do that!’ she said.’What else are you going to do?’ I replied. ‘Sugarcoat a lie? Do you think God doesn’t already know how you feel, what’s going on in your life? There’s no point telling anything other than the truth.’She looked deeply sceptical. ‘I’m not doing that,’ she insisted.

I decided to try a different tack. ‘I understand it’s difficult. Here’s another idea. Would you be willing to pray a prayer written by God?’

‘I suppose so,’ she answered uncertainly.

I picked up a Bible from the pew and opened up the book of Psalms. ‘This is a collection of prayers right in the middle of the Bible,’ I told her. ‘And the Bible was written by God, right?’ (This wasn’t the time or place for a philosophical exploration of the nature of Scripture.) ‘So these must be good prayers, with the divine seal of approval. You can’t go wrong praying one of these, can you?”Sure,’ she replied, ‘why not?”Well, here’s the prayer I want you to use.’

I took a pen and circled these verses from Psalm 55: ‘It is not my enemies who taunt me – I could bear that;it is not adversaries who deal insolently with me – I could hide from them.But it is you, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend,with whom I kept pleasant company; we walked in the house of God with the throng. Let death come upon them; let them go down alive to Sheol; for evil is in their homes and in their hearts’ (Psalm 55:12-15).

‘It’s a prayer asking that a betrayer might die,’ I told her. ‘It’s your prayer, the true prayer of your heart. I want you to take this Bible home and pray this prayer every day.’ She took the Bible from me, somewhat unsure, but agreed to do as I’d asked.

Finding a new truth

A few weeks later we saw one another again. I asked her if she had been using the psalm to pray. She told me she had.’Have you noticed any result?’ I asked her.’He’s not dead yet!’ she replied with a surprising vehemence.But I refused to be discouraged. ‘Keep going,’ I urged her. ‘Keep praying.’

Some weeks later we met again – the last time I ever saw her. Once more I asked her if she was still using the prayer.’Not every day,’ she replied. I asked her why not. ‘Well, you said I was never to pray anything that wasn’t true!’ she said in an accusatory tone. ‘And one day I found myself looking down at those words, and they just weren’t true any more. At least, not that day. I’m still hurting. But I realized I didn’t want him to die.’

‘So what did you do then?’ I asked.’I looked through some of the other prayers in the book,’ she answered, ‘and found one that seemed more suitable. I’ve been using that one. I hope you don’t mind.’

The honesty of biblical prayer

That young woman was shocked and surprised when I suggested that she pray for her former partner to die. I’ve told this story in many contexts since that day, and wherever I tell it people seem equally startled at the advice I offered. Which raises a simple and straight-forward question: what should she have prayed?

It sounds marvelously pious to say that she should have prayed for grace to love him, for mercy and forgiveness, for a change in her own heart so she could come to terms with his behaviour. And these would have been good things to pray. But they wouldn’t have been true.

Hodder & StoughtonChris Webb is a Benedictine Anglican priest, inviting people to live a ‘God-Soaked Life’.

If we learn anything from the school of prayer we find in the book of Psalms, often described as the ‘prayer book of the Bible’, it’s that honesty is everything. The poets who wrote these ancient prayers were unafraid to expose their hearts to God and to the community, creating songs filled with joy, wonder, celebration, pageantry, satisfaction, gentleness, peace, and more – but also with rage, horror, lament, darkness, doubt, shock, and despair. Nothing was held back.

Chris Webb is the author of ‘God-Soaked Life: Discovering a Kingdom Spirituality’, from which this extract is taken. It is published by Hodder and Stoughton, price £12.99. For more on Chris Webb and his book click here.

By Brad Andres

Praying with the dying can be an intimidating thing. The time nearing death can be a very stressful and scary time for families and friends of the ill.

Let’s go over some of the basics of praying for someone who is nearing death. We’ve also included some sample prayers for the dying below to help guide you through this process.

If you do not know the individual, then spend some time getting to know them as a person. Ask them about their family, about their life. Find out what they are proud of, ask if they have any regrets. Discover what they believe the afterlife is going to be like.

prayer for someone to die

(Read Bible Verses about Death, and Bible Verses about Heaven)

Once a rapport is established, albeit however small, then you can move onto the praying part. People need to know you care about them before you pray for them, and taking the time to ask about their life is one way to do that.

Therefore, following establishing a relationship, here are a few things to remember which will help guide you when saying prayers for the ill.

1. Do they know Jesus?

prayer for someone to die

This is the most important question which you need to answer before praying with someone as they are about to pass onto the next life. If they do not know Jesus, you need to introduce them to each other as soon as possible.

In all actuality, if they do not know Jesus, then there is not much point in progressing further. Yes, you will still pray with them, for God’s comfort, peace, and rest, but if they are not going to inherit the free gift of eternal life, then what is the point? The point of praying those things is that maybe something will click, possibly the Lord could grab ahold of their hearts before death, and they may encounter Jesus before their passing. And besides, it is just courteous to bless someone in their dark hours of life.

Prayer To Know Jesus Before Dying

Lord Jesus,

Come into my life.

I believe you died and rose from the grave.

I believe you live eternally in heaven.

Cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

Forgive me of all my sins.

Move into my heart.

I make you my Lord and Savior.

Thank you for your sacrifice.

I accept your gift of eternal salvation.


2. Pray for God’s peace.

Death can be frightening for some, and for others, death can be completely natural. Some who know Christ will face death fearlessly, while some others will be terrified. The same goes for those who are not in a relationship with Christ; some will be unafraid and some will be frightened.

As stated earlier, it will be good practice to pray for God’s comfort and peace regardless of that person’s level of relationship with Jesus.

A Comforting Prayer for the Dying


Help discover your peace.

Let them receive your comfort.

Help them to be at rest knowing that you care for them,

and that you love them.

Calm their soul as they move into the afterlife.

May they spend eternity with you;

may they live forever in your presence.


3. Pray for the Family

Just as death may be hard or easy for an individual, so can it be the same for any remaining family or friends. Sometimes when you have the opportunity to pray with the dying, you will be alone. Othertimes, family and friends will be present. Regardless, even if you pray this as you leave, it is still thoughtful to pray for those who will be mourning the person’s passing.

A Prayer for the Family of the Dying


Bring this family peace.

Provide them with your comfort.

Let them know you tenderly care for each and every one of them.

Lead them to be reunited with their loved one some day.

Sit with them in their mourning.

Let your presence provide rest.

Thank you, for the gift of life that brought to the world.

May he rest peacefully with you for eternity.


A final note to remember is that this time is an emotional and stressful time for all associated with the dying person. Therefore, you may be given a chance to pray, and you may not be given a chance to pray. Remember to respect all people’s wishes, and know that as you walk with God into the room, you are inviting His presence into the situation. If you pray these prayers on your way back home alone, it still carries power to allow God into the situation.

And we will finish with my prayer for you.

A Prayer for Those Going to Pray with the Dying


Give this person strength.

Grant this person confidence.

Allow them the opportunity to discover if the passing person knows you.

Give them wisdom to know when to speak and what to say.

Let them bring your presence into the room.

Let them carry your love into the situation.

Encourage them with a special gift or your presence.


If you’d like to submit a prayer request for someone who is ill, please do so below.

Brand Andres is a licensed minister and his passion is to help people understand the Bible and maximize

their God given potential for life.

Find him at, and follow him on Twitter and Google.
prayer for someone to die

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


– 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


, and

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

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