Prayers at a memorial service

Prayers are often incorporated into funerals and memorial services.  They can be used as a part of a speech, tribute, prayer, eulogy or reading.   Prayers are also used in funeral and memorial printing , such as funeral programs, order of service programs, funeral and Memorial bookmarks and memorial prayer cards. Below are several funeral prayers that can be used in your Christian funeral services and funeral stationery.

prayers at a memorial service

The Resurrection Prayer
I am the resurrection and the Life,
Saith the Lord: He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die.
I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
and though his body be destroyed, yet shall I see GOD: whom I shall see for myself,
and mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger.
We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.


The Twenty-Third Psalm
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake. 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. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord – forever.


The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory. for ever and ever. Amen

Alternative Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours. Now and for ever. Amen

The Serenity Prayer God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with
Him forever in the next.
Amen.

PEACE Lord, Make me a channel of thy peace- That where there is hatred, I may bring love; That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness; That where there is discord, I may bring harmony; That where there is error, I may bring truth; That where there is doubt, I may bring faith; That where there is despair, I may bring hope; That where there are shadows, I may bring light;

That where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted; To understand, than be understood; To love, than be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to find – Eternal Life.


Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of Your Peace; Where there is hatred, let me sow Love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may seek not so much to be consoled,
as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

A Season To everything there is a season,

and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.


A Prayer For The Dead
God our Father,

Your power brings us to birth,
Your providence guides our lives,
and by Your command we return to dust.

Lord, those who die still live in Your presence,

their lives change but do not end.
I pray in hope for my family,
relatives and friends,
and for all the dead known to You alone.

In company with Christ,

Who died and now lives,
may they rejoice in Your kingdom,
where all our tears are wiped away.
Unite us together again in one family,
to sing Your praise forever and ever.
Amen.

Lord Of All We Praise You Lord of all, we praise you

for all who have entered into their rest
and reached the promised land where you are seen face to face.
Give us grace to follow in their footsteps
as they followed in the way of your Son.
Thank you for the memory of those you have called to yourself:
by each memory, turn our hearts from things seen to things unseen,
and lead us till we come to the eternal rest
you have prepared for your people,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Now I lay me down to sleep Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

The Beatitudes Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the

Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which hunger and thirst
after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall
obtain mercy.

Little Angels When god calls little children to dwell with Him above,

We mortals sometimes question the wisdom of His love.
For no heartache compares with the death of one small child,
who does so much to make our world seem wonderful and mild.
Perhaps God tires of calling the aged to His fold,
so He picks a rosebud, before it can grow old.
God knows how much we need them, and so he takes but few
to make the land of heaven more beautiful to view.
Believing this is difficult still somehow we must try,
the saddest word mankind knows will always be “Goodbye”
So when a little child departs, we who are
left behind must realize God loves children,
angels are hard to find.
(Author unknown)

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prayers at a memorial service

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The atheists aren’t the only ones making a stink about the goings-on at Ground Zero; the former Deputy Mayor under Rudy Giuliani is lambasting Mayor Bloomberg for excluding religion from the upcoming 10th anniversary ceremony at the World Trade Center. “This is America, and to have a memorial service where there’s no prayer, this appears to be insanity to me,” Rudy Washington tells the Wall Street Journal. “I feel like America has lost its way.”

Bloomberg has never let spiritual leaders hold prayers or sermonize at any of the annual 9/11 gatherings, but Washington, who organized an interfaith ceremony at Yankee Stadium after the attack in 2001, says he’s “very upset” Bloomberg isn’t making an exception this year (it being the diamond anniversary and all). And Washington’s not the only God-fearing fulminator: City Council Member Fernando Cabrera, a pastor at New Life Outreach International in the Bronx, says he’s just plain “shocked” the clergy isn’t on the list.

www.patheos.com

Excerpted from “Remembering Well” by Sarah York. c 2000 by Sarah York. Used with permission.

Not long ago, I attended a memorial service that was planned and conducted by a friend of the bereaved family. It was in many ways a satisfying ceremony, providing space for people to share their memories of the person who had died. But the service leader conducted the service as if he were the master of ceremonies introducing one act after another. A memorial service is less like a variety show and more like a musical composition or a woven fabric. Each part, from beginning to end, is a part of the whole and contributes to the rhythm and mood of the entire service. Each part has a purpose, and participants need to know how they fit into the larger design, the fuller meaning.

Four elements are essential to nearly all ceremonies (with additional readings or music included as desired):

  1. Opening remarks
  2. Honoring and remembering the person who has died
  3. Invoking a spirit of gratitude, healing, and love (as in a litany or a prayer)
  4. Offer words of blessing and inspiration for the living

Setting the Tone

Opening remarks set the tone and create space for what people are feeling. When you enter a space to honor someone who has died, you don’t want to wait long before hearing what it is that has brought you there. And you want to hear a name–“dearly departed one” or “the deceased” just doesn’t cut it.

The words that open a service define the space as holy and the time as sacred. This is particularly important when the space itself is not a traditional religious setting. The opening words invoke a spirit of love and healing to prevail. They may be offered in an informal setting but should never be offered casually. The first words spoken set the tone for the entire service.

What tone or style will be in keeping with the spirit of the person who is being remembered? Should it be dignified, warm, creative, pious, earthy, sophisticated, homespun? Whatever it is, it will come across as much in the presence of the person speaking and in the preparation of the meeting space as in the words spoken. Often there is something in the opening words that invites the spirit of the person who has died into the space.

Readings and Music Readings and music nourish the soul, ground the spirit, and invite emotional release. They are not essential to the basic structure of a service, but they are often included for their power to offer spiritual nourishment and to touch universal chords of human feeling. Because of their power, they need to be carefully chosen, with an eye and ear towards being as inclusive as possible of the various perspectives that people in attendance will have.

Any readings used in a memorial service should be selected intentionally and used sparingly. Most people do not come to a funeral to hear a sermon or philosophize about death. They come in the presence of death to grieve and reflect on what is meaningful in life; they come to be comforted and uplifted in their time of loss. Reading–a short poem, a scriptural selection–should be brief and should be chosen to serve a very specific purpose at a particular time in the service:

  • At the start of the service, to define sacred space and invoke a holy presence for the time together
  • As part of a eulogy or personal remarks, to invoke the person’s presence–especially if the selection was written by the person, especially meaningful to the person, or particularly reflective of the person’s life
  • Before a selection of music, to comfort or offer reflection
  • To lead into a time of meditation or prayer
  • At the close of the service, to uplift and offer peace, hope, and promise

Music is the language of the soul–a powerful source of healing. Its selection will be dictated by individual tastes and by the tone or style the family wants for the service.

Use music once or at most twice during the service, as relevant. It may be introduced as something requested by or composed for the deceased. It may just be a quiet reflective piece following a prayer or reading. If music is likely to evoke powerful emotions, it should be used only

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