Death and dying are parts of life. While some people fear them, others draw inspiration from death.
As nurses, it’s inevitable for us to see some of our patients die and their families deeply grieve for them. Although we can’t bring back their loved ones, there are still ways for us to provide comfort, strength and guidance to the families our patients left behind.
Here are 10 powerful prayers for the departed.
For the recently deceased
In your hands, O Lord,
we humbly entrust our brothers and sisters.
In this life you embraced them with your tender love;
deliver them now from every evil
and bid them eternal rest.
The old order has passed away:
welcome them into paradise,
where there will be no sorrow, no weeping or pain,
but fullness of peace and joy
with your Son and the Holy Spirit
forever and ever.
Prayer for the souls in purgatory
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Prayer for deceased relatives and friends
Almighty Father, source of forgiveness and salvation, grant that our relatives and friends who have passed from this life may, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints, come to share your Eternal happiness through Christ our Lord. Amen
Prayers for the deceased for forgiveness and peace and for mourners
Lord Jesus, our Redeemer, You willingly gave Yourself up to death so that all people might be saved and pass from death into a new life. Listen to our prayers; look with love on Your people who mourn and pray for their dead brother/sister.
Lord Jesus, You alone are holy and compassionate; forgive our brother/sister his/her sins.
By dying You opened the gates of life for those who believe in You; do not let Your brother/sister be parted from You, but by Your glorious power give him/her light, joy, and peace in heaven where You live for ever and ever. Amen.
My brother (sister) in faith, I entrust you to God Who created you.
May you return to the One Who formed you from the dust of this earth.
May Mary, the angels, and all the saints come to meet you as you go forth from this life.
May Christ Who was crucified for you bring you freedom and peace.
May Christ, the Son of God, Who died for you take you into His kingdom.
May Christ, the Good Shepherd, give you a place within His flock.
May He forgive your sins and keep you among His people.
May you see your Redeemer face to face and enjoy the sight of God forever. Amen.
Prayer for a deceased friend
I commend you, my dear to almighty God, and entrust you to your Creator.
May you rest in the arms of the Lord who formed you from the dust of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints welcome you now that you have gone forth from this life.
May Christ who was crucified for you, bring you freedom and peace.
May Christ who died for you admit you into his garden of paradise.
May Christ, the true Shepherd, embrace you as one of his flock.
May he forgive all your sins and set you among those he has chosen.
May you see your Redeemer face to face and enjoy the vision of God, forever.
Prayer for unexpected death
Heavenly Father we know and believe that our times are in Your hands, but Lord it’s so often such a shock to us when a dear loved one meets with a sudden or unexpected death – through an accident or perhaps due to some unforeseen tragedy, which takes the life of someone they loved – long before it would be expected.
Lord, we bring before You today those who are having to go through such a tragic loss and pray that You would be very close to each one that is in mourning today over such a loss – and are perhaps confused or even angry that such a devastating occurrence has overtaken them – without any apparent warning.
You are the God of all comfort Who comforts us in time of need and we pray that for those that are facing such a difficult trial today. Uphold them we pray, and ask that You draw very close to them … raise up we pray, the right people to minister to them and to be a genuine comfort and support at this time of tragedy and grief.
Lord, we don’t understand why our loved ones should suddenly be removed from us through a sudden, unexpected death – but Lord we trust You to soothe away the hurt in time – for shall not the God of all the earth do right…. In Jesus name, we pray,
Prayer for deceased parents
O God, Who has commanded us
to honor our father and mother,
have compassion in Thy mercy,
on the souls of my father and mother;
forgive them their sins,
and grant that I may see them
in the joy of eternal brightness.
Through Christ our Lord.
Prayer after violent death
Father, we bring before You those that have had the devastating experience of having someone close to them that they know and love, suffer a sudden, violent and needless death. Lord how we grieve for those that are having to experience this right now, and we pray that in Your grace You would look down with pity and mercy and meet them right at their point of need.
Lord, You are the one Who was sent to heal the broken-hearted and comfort those that mourn and are heavy-laden. You are the One Who promised that Your grace is sufficient for every eventuality – even for those having to face the sudden and violent death of someone close to them. Draw near to them we pray and lift them up into You arms of love and carry them during this time of suffering and grief for You have promised that underneath are Your everlasting arms.
Lord, as we lift up in prayer those that are having to come to terms with the sudden and violent death of a loved one – we pray that You would use this tragedy to be the thing that starts to draw each suffering soul into the tender arms of their Saviour – the Lord Jesus Christ, in Whose name we pray,
Prayer for a deceased brother, relative or friend
You are, O God,
quick to pardon and desire man’s salvation.
In Your goodness we ask You to grant our deceased brothers,
relatives, and friends everlasting happiness.
With the help of Blessed Mary ever Virgin
and all Your saints,
we ask this through Christ, our Lord.
Prayer to say on the day of a person’s death
O God, Whose property is always to have mercy and to spare, we humbly beseech Thee for the soul of Thy servant N…, which Thou hast this day commanded to depart out of this world, that Thou wouldst not deliver it into the hands of the enemy, nor forget it unto the end, but wouldst command it to be received by the Holy Angels, and conducted to Paradise, its true country; that as in Thee it hath hoped and believed, it may not suffer the pains of hell, but may take possession of eternal joys.
Through Christ our Lord.
See Also: 10 Inspiring Songs To Help With Grief
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There are three ways this question usually comes up. The first is related to the Catholic belief in Purgatory. The second refers to a misunderstanding of Jesus’ proclamation in Sheol between His death and resurrection. The third is more personal and more ambiguous.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that some Christ-followers who have died will spend time in a holding place, Purgatory, before they can enter heaven. These are people who died having committed venial sins that were not sufficiently atoned for. Roman Catholics are encouraged to pray for those in Purgatory so that their suffering will be eased and their time shortened. Since Purgatory does not actually exist, it is foolish to pray for anyone affiliated with it.
The second case is when a believer prays that an unbeliever who has died will accept Christ in the afterlife. Unfortunately, this is not possible. People do not receive a second chance to repent after they have died. If they did, the rich man in Luke 16:19-31 would have asked forgiveness for himself, not his brothers. And Hebrews 9:27 agrees, saying, “just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” But 1 Peter 3:18-19 adds confusion to the argument. It says that between the crucifixion and the resurrection, Jesus “proclaimed to the spirits in prison.” The prison in question is generally regarded to be the holding place for demons who sinned so egregiously God removed them from earth. The word translated “preach” means to herald a message. Jesus announced that He had conquered Satan and his forces, but He did not offer life to people who had already died rejecting Him.
The final situation that most often brings up the question of praying for the dead is related to retroactive petitionary prayer—a subcategory of “backward causation.” Is it appropriate to pray for the salvation of someone who has died under ambiguous spiritual circumstances? If we didn’t know if he was saved or not, could we pray retroactively that he was? Since the outcome is unclear to the survivors, and since God lives outside of our time, it would make sense that we could ask God to have worked in the life of someone who has died. Such a prayer could also be offered regarding physical comfort, for example, to pray that someone’s sudden death was painless.
Of retroactive prayers, C.S. Lewis says:
When we are praying about the result, say, of a battle or a medical consultation, the thought will often cross our minds that (if only we knew it) the event is already decided one way or the other. I believe this to be no good reason for ceasing our prayers. The event certainly has been decided—in a sense it was decided “before all world.” But one of the things taken into account in deciding it, and therefore one of the things that really causes it to happen, may be this very prayer that we are now offering. Thus, shocking as it may sound, I conclude that we can at noon become part causes of an event occurring at ten A.M.Miracles What he is saying is that in the time between your cancer test and the call from the doctor with the results, you can still pray that the test is negative. The cancer is there or not at that moment, but since God is not constrained by linear time, your prayer may still influence whether or not you have it. For the argument at hand, the same may be said. Either the friend died instantly or slowly, either he was saved or not. But our prayer may yet have influence.
Logically, the argument is sound. But while it brings up an interesting intellectual exercise, there is no indication in the Bible that such prayers would be retroactively effective. If they would, it would be reasonable to see some kind of instruction in the Bible, but the Bible never mentions praying for things that have already passed. It is true that God exists outside of our timeline, but when He made us, He confined us to linear time. All indication is that He wants us to concentrate on the present (Matthew 6:34).
So, the Bible tells us there is no Purgatory and there is no second chance at salvation after death; it follows that it is useless to pray for the dead as related to these topics. But the Bible does not mention if we should or shouldn’t pray for things that have already happened. Still, it makes more sense to pray about the present and the people in need now, than the people who have already passed.
Related Truth: What happens after death?Is salvation possible after death? Is there a second chance for salvation?Is the concept of purgatory biblical?Death – What does the Bible say about it?What is the relationship between God and time?
, CP Guest Contributor
| Friday, January 23, 2009
More than likely, you’ll have the opportunity to minister to someone who is dying this year. The question is, how do you deal with it? I’m ready to die. More than likely, you are too. Most people are not, though. That means you play a critical role as a minister to help people deal with their own death.
Pastor, no matter how much training you’ve had or how well you know your Bible, walking into the hospital room of someone who is facing death can turn anyone to mush. What do we say? How do we help somebody who’s dying? You can’t promise that they’re going to get well. You don’t know if that’s God’s plan. But you can C.O.M.F.O.R.T. them.
Confront your own fears.
Before you can help anybody else, you’ve got to deal with your own fears. Death exposes the hidden fears in us. That’s why people avoid funerals. We’re afraid of death. And so we want to hide from it. This is as old as Adam and Eve.
Instead of hiding you have to confront those fears. You’re not going to mess anything up. You aren’t going to make things worse. You’re going to be O.K. Before you minister to someone who is dying, deal with the very natural fear you have. Admit you have the fear. And then get over it. You’ll be fine.
Offer your physical presence.
The greatest gift that you can give to someone who is dying is your presence. You just need to show up and be with them. That will mean more than any words you can say. People want someone to be near them as they deal with the dying process.
People do not want to face death alone. And they shouldn’t have to. You don’t need to say anything profound. You may not even talk to them. But you need to be there with them. Real ministry begins by being with the person who is dying. No one should ever die alone.
Minister with practical assistance.
The important question to ask is, “How can I help?” You do whatever they need done. I know you’re busy. But ministering to someone who is dying is some of the most important ministry you can do.
For example, when somebody’s dying, they usually don’t feel well. They’re often in pain. What do you do when somebody’s in that situation? Whatever you can do. You want the lights on? You want the lights off? Can I get you some ice chips? Can I rub your back? You do anything. The little things you do will show love. You offer practical assistance to relieve pain and discomfort.
Fortify them with emotional support.
When someone is dying, they’re carrying a heavy burden. Don’t let them carry it alone. Provide emotional support. How do you carry somebody else’s emotional burden? Pray for them aloud.
How do you pray for them? Whatever they say, mirror it back to them in a prayer. When the person who is dying says, “This really frustrates me…” You pray, “Lord, Susie’s really frustrated by this…” When the person says, “I’m really angry and irritated,” you pray, “God, Bob is really having a tough time right now. He’s upset and angry. He’s frustrated.”
When you do that, you’re lifting their burdens. When somebody is sick, sometimes they just don’t have enough energy to pray. So you pray for them. That’s what intercession is all about.
Open them up with questions.
When people are dying, they’re carrying an enormous emotional load. They’re carrying worry, fear, doubt, shame, guilt, regret, joy, sorrow, and anxiety. Help them get that out. How? Ask open-ended questions they can’t answer with just “yes” or “no.”
Your open-ended questions will often start with their questions. Let me give you three of them that are almost always asked in some manner by a person who is dying: Why me? Why now? Why this? Nobody knows the answers to those three questions. They are unanswerable on this side of eternity. The Bible tells us that in eternity we will see how it all fits together. But we don’t right now.
Whenever you get asked a question that is unanswerable, ask it back to them. Just rephrase it. Why? You don’t want to answer the question. You want to get them talking.
For example, if someone who is dying asks, “Am I going to die?” Don’t answer that question. You don’t know for sure. Rephrase the question back to them and ask something like this: What does dying mean to you? Then wait. That will get them talking and help them talk about some things that they need to talk about.
By the way, if they don’t want to talk about death, that’s O.K. Some people don’t want to talk about it. It’s not good for them to bottle it up, but don’t force them to talk.
Remember the family has needs too.
You can be helpful to the whole family – not just to the person who is dying. For example, you can ask questions that the family might feel uncomfortable asking. It’s perfectly O.K. to ask the dying person if they’ve made any preparations for their death. Somebody’s got to find that out, and you’d help the family by asking. Friends take care of friends, and they take care of friends’ family as well.
Turn them to Jesus.
More than anything else, you want the dying person to accept God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. You want them to be at peace with God.
Tell the dying person that Jesus loves them, that he died for them, that they can spend eternity with him, and that you’d be glad to pray with them about this.
It’s the most important prayer the person will ever pray – one that turns death to life.