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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“Does Paul’s prayer for Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 1:18) provide Bible authority for praying for the dead?”
Some have sought to argue this position. Roman Catholic theologians frequently appeal to the text in an attempt to establish their case for praying on behalf of the dead. Regrettably, even some Protestants have yielded to this position, in spite of a total lack of solid evidence for the case, and in spite of evidence which is decidedly against it.
First, the following article, from The Catholic Encyclopedia (online) presents an authoritative position regarding the matter.
“In his Second Epistle to Timothy (i, 16-18; iv, 19) St. Paul speaks of Onesiphorus in a way that seems obviously to imply that the latter was already dead: ‘The Lord give mercy to the house of Onesiphorus’ — as to a family in need of consolation. Then, after mention of loyal services rendered by him to the imprisoned Apostle at Rome, comes the prayer for Onesiphorus himself, ‘The Lord grant unto him to find mercy of the Lord in that day’ (the day of judgment); finally, in the salutation, ‘the household of Onesiphorus’ is mentioned once more, without mention of the man himself. The question is, what had become of him? Was he dead, as one would naturally infer from what St. Paul writes? Or had he for any other cause become separated permanently from his family, so that prayer for them should take account of present needs while prayers for him looked forward to the day of judgment? Or could it be that he was still at Rome when the Apostle wrote, or gone elsewhere for a prolonged absence from home? The first is by far the easiest and most natural hypothesis; and if it be admitted, we have here an instance of prayer by the Apostle for the soul of a deceased benefactor” (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04653a.htm).
In 2 Timothy 1, there is a form of prayer on behalf of the family of Onesiphorus (v. 16). Subsequently, in verse 18, the apostle prays for Onesiphorus himself. He petitions the Lord that this brother might “find mercy” in “that day,” which obviously is the day of Judgment.
Because the verbs regarding the brother are all in the past tense, and since only his family is alluded to later in 4:19, some have assumed that Onesiphorus was dead (White, p. 159; Fee, p. 237; Kelly, p. 171). The latter argues that this reflects a New Testament example of prayer on behalf of the dead. N.J.D. White also contended that the apocryphal 2 Maccabees (12:44-45) would allow an orthodox Jew to pray for the dead (p. 159). Fee is more cautious.
In response, this must be noted.
- There is no concrete evidence at all that Onesiphorus was dead. The arguments for his demise are all based upon inferences, none of which are “necessary.”
- That his actions are spoken of in the past tense is perfectly understandable since he was no longer in Rome (17a).
- The fact that Paul did not mention him in 4:19, in sending greetings to those in Ephesus, is not troubling — if Onesiphorus himself was somewhere other than in Ephesus.
- The fact that Paul prayed for this brother is proof within itself that he was not dead, since there is not a shred of evidence in the New Testament that prayers for the dead are acceptable. Lenski is emphatic that the “analogy of Scripture” is against the idea of any Christian praying for the dead (p. 776). If the brother was dead, why did the apostle offer no word of comfort to the family? (Note: While some deny that this was a “prayer” (Mounce, p. 494), most scholars affirm that it is, and even Mounce later calls it a “wish prayer” (p. 496).
- The writers of the New Testament did not consider the apocryphal books as inspired and authoritative. Though they had access to them (since they were “bound up” with the Greek Old Testament), they never quoted from them; this is powerful evidence that they did not view them as in the same class with the Old Testament documents.
- If Onesiphorus, as a godly man, was dead, there would be no need to petition God for mercy on his behalf; he would have been a recipient of that mercy already.
- If the brother died as an apostate (of which there is no evidence), Paul’s prayer for “mercy” would be worthless inasmuch as mercy will be bestowed on the basis of one’s personal relationship with the Lord, not on that of another’s actions (Ezekiel 18:20; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Moreover, the wicked dead cannot leave their place of torment (Luke 16:26), and their punishment is “eternal” in duration (Matthew 25:46).
Accordingly, these texts in Paul’s second epistle to Timothy do not come remotely close to providing the coveted evidence for the validity of prayers for the dead.
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).
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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)
“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)