Prayers for funerals services

Losing a loved one can bring about an array of emotions and feelings. Making it through the grieving process starts with the memorial and burial as you carry onward to the next stages of coping. To ease the pain, here is a look at some good opening prayers for funerals to get you started.

Prayers #1

Good afternoon everybody. May I ask that we all bow our heads in prayer.

Our Lord we acknowledge your presence here, and come before your throne this afternoon as friends and family of Adrian Elm. We are here because we love him and miss him and we want to cherish our memories of him, we want to honor his life and honor him and support one another as we grieve his passing – a passing from life here with us to everlasting life there with you O Lord.

God, thank you for Adrian! You formed him, you knew him, you walked with him through 80 years, and even now we have confidence that he is in your presence.

Thank you that you are a God of mercy, who promises to comfort us, particularly when we lose our loved ones, and so in these moments now, and in the weeks and months ahead, please bring comfort and mercy to us as we remember, and share fondly all that Adrian was to us.

In the mighty and holy name of Jesus we pray.
Amen.

Prayers #2

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die:
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to break down, and a time to build up:
A time to weep, and a time to laugh:
A time to mourn and a time to dance:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

Prayers #3

Our father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that 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.

Prayers #4

The Lord is my shepherd: I shall lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in the paths 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 runs over. Surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Prayers #5

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,
for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Prayers #6

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

Prayers #7

Now my soul is deeply troubled. Shall I pray, ‘Father save me from what lies ahead?’ But that is the very reason why I came! Father, bring glory and honor to your name.

Prayers #8

Father,
We are grieving over the unexpected loss of our brother. Lord, just last Sunday he was telling me how excited he was to be part of this church. He was on fire for You, Father. We all saw how joy radiated from him. His love for You was unquenchable and we are mourning the loss of this wonderful man. Father, be with his wife and young children. Raise this congregation up to be the hands and feet of Jesus to this family. Father, love on John’s children. Wrap Your arms around them, for there will be a day when they see him again in Heaven. Father, speak tenderly to his wife and comfort her in this unbearable time of life. Father, this is a very tragic event and yet we know that nothing surprises You. So, in faith we continue to ask and seek Your will in this most desperate time of need. Father, shower this family with love and affection as they grieve through this painful time. We love You, and thank You for Jesus! Amen

Prayers #9

God be in my head,
and in my understanding;
God be in my eyes,
and in my looking;
God be in my mouth,
and in my speaking;
God be in my heart,
and in my thinking;
God be at my end,
and at my departing.
Amen.

Prayers #10

Lord, in weakness or in strength
we bear your image.
We pray for those we love
who now live in a land of shadows,
where the light of memory is dimmed,
where the familiar lies unknown,
where the beloved become as strangers.
Hold them in your everlasting arms,
and grant to those who care
a strength to serve,
a patience to persevere,
a love to last
and a peace that passes human understanding.
Hold us in your everlasting arms,
today and for all eternity;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Check out this one memorial service with a selection of opening prayers that are recited and exchanged.

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prayers for funerals services

Biblical funeral prayers are one important way for Christians to honor God, show their trust and faith in him, and proclaim his goodness and sovereignty over all of life’s affairs. In life and in death our hope is in God and in the saving work of Jesus his Son.

So it is right to pray at a Christian’s funeral service. Prayer is an act of worship, an act of trust, and an act of obedience. As such, funeral prayers are profoundly comforting to believers and a wonderful testimony of the deceased’s faith in Christ.

Additionally, because we believe that the Bible is our rule of faith and conduct, it is good to pray Biblical funeral prayers that are taken directly from the Scriptures. This, again, is a way to honor God by proclaiming his word. The Word and prayer are also means of grace by which the Holy Spirit encourages and comforts his people.

Here are ten beautiful and biblical prayers to pray at a believer’s funeral.

prayers for funerals services

Biblical Funeral Prayers for a Christian Funeral Service

Any of these biblical funeral prayers can be read by a pastor or clergy, by a close friend or family member, or corporately by all attendees. You can divide these up into call-and-response readings, where the leader reads one or more verses and the rest of the funeral service attendees read the next verse or two. Corporate prayers invite participation and allow mourners a way to express grief and faith.

However, not all who attend a funeral are believers, so unless the funeral is held in a church and officiated by a minister you may want to preface any corporate prayers, readings, or hymns with an invitation to participate but also note that it is not required. This is an excellent opportunity to present the the gospel as you encourage those who cannot pray along with you to at least listen and consider the words of Scripture. See “Example of Call-and-Response Corporate Prayer” at the end of this article for how to do a prayer in this manner.

1. PSALM 23

prayers for funerals services

King James Version (Traditional)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil;
My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

English Standard Version (Contemporary)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths 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 mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

2. THE LORD’S PRAYER

prayers for funerals services

From Matthew 6:9-13, where Jesus taught his disciples how to pray.

King James Version (Traditional)

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.

English Standard Version (Contemporary)

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Amen.

3. I CORINTHIANS 15:51-57

prayers for funerals services

Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet.

For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality.

And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality, then the word that is written shall come about: “Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

4. PSALM 27:1, 3-5

prayers for funerals services

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear:
Though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after;
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion:
In the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me;
He shall set me up upon a rock.

5. ECCLESIASTES 3:1-8

prayers for funerals services

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
A time to search and a time to give up,
A time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
A time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate,
A time for war and a time for peace.

6. II TIMOTHY 2:11-13

prayers for funerals services

This saying is trustworthy:
If we have died with him we shall also live with him;
If we persevere we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful he remains faithful,
For he cannot deny himself.

7. THE RESURRECTION PRAYER

prayers for funerals services

This is an ancient burial prayer taken from multiple Scripture passages. Traditional and anonymous, it is included here because it is simply the words of the Bible in prayer form.

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. John 11:25-26
I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though this body be destroyed, yet shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger. Job 19:25-27
For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For if we live, we live unto the Lord. and if we die, we die unto the Lord. Whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. Romans 14:7-8
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord; even so saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labors. Revelation 14:13

8. THE BEATITUDES

prayers for funerals services

From Matthew 5:3-12, where Jesus pronounced this series of blessings for the encouragement of the saints.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

9. PSALM 116

prayers for funerals services

I love the Lord, because He has heard
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.

The pains of death surrounded me,
And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me;
I found trouble and sorrow.
Then I called upon the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, I implore You, deliver my soul!”

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
Yes, our God is merciful.
The Lord preserves the simple;
I was brought low, and He saved me.
Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

For You have delivered my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
And my feet from falling.
I will walk before the Lord
In the land of the living.
I believed, therefore I spoke,
“I am greatly afflicted.”
I said in my haste,
“All men are liars.”

What shall I render to the Lord
For all His benefits toward me?
I will take up the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord
Now in the presence of all His people.

Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His saints.

O Lord, truly I am Your servant;
I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant;
You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And will call upon the name of the Lord.

I will pay my vows to the Lord
Now in the presence of all His people,
In the courts of the Lord’s house,
In the midst of you, O Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord!

10. PSALM 121

prayers for funerals services

I lift up my eyes to the hills;
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
The Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip;
He who watches over you will not slumber;
Indeed, He who watches over Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you.
The Lord is your shade at your right hand;
The sun will not harm you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm.
He will watch over your life;
The Lord will watch over your coming and going
Both now and forever more.

ADDITIONAL PASSAGES

Here are some additional biblical funeral prayer Scripture passages ideal for reading or prayer at a funeral.

  • Psalm 32
  • Psalm 34
  • Psalm 46
  • Psalm 130
  • Matthew 11:25-30
  • John 5:24-29
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
  • 1 John 3:1-2

EXAMPLE OF CORPORATE CALL-AND-RESPONSE PRAYER

Here is an example of how to do a corporate prayer (where everyone recites the words of the prayer together) in a call-and-response style. From I Corinthians 15:51-57.

Leader

Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet.

All

For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Leader

For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality. And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality, then the word that is written shall come about: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

All

“Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?”

Leader

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

All

But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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prayers for funerals services

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OPENING PRAYER

God who creates and re-creates us,

God who laughs with us and weeps with us,
God who walks with us each step of the way, carrying us when our strength fails,
we gather today with hearts breaking with grief, with voices crying out words of lament.
And so we ask that you would move in and around us today.
As we gather to remember and say good bye to NAME,
be the shoulder we can cry on, the arm we can lean on,
help us to see through the veil of tears that there is hope
for life continuing.
Gracious God, as mysterious and wondrous as you are,
you are also a compassionate God,
as attentive as a hen with her chicks,
as tender as a mother with a newborn child,
as watchful as a shepherd with the sheep,
as protective as a father’s warm embrace.
and so we come into your presence to grieve NAME’s death,
asking that your Holy Spirit would be here to ease our pain.
As we give thanks for all that he/she added to the lives of those around her/him,
as we release our tears and anger,
as we say our good-byes, remind us that we are not alone.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

PRAYER FOR GRACE

God of life and death and life beyond death,
we gather together today all too aware of the fragility of life.
We gather today all too aware of the pain in the world,
and of the ways we may not respond to that pain.
We know that we are not perfect,
that we do not always live out Your love as we truly could.
There are times we carry guilt for things we have done,
for things we have not done but could have,
and for things that we only see in hindsight.
Some of this guilt is warranted, and some of it is not,
sometimes we take on things that are not ours.
To deal with the guilt we have earned and the guilt we place on ourselves, we need your grace.
As we open ourselves to you, naming in silence the times we think or feel that we have come short, move in our hearts, remind us that we live in Your grace, remind us that we are loved and forgiven and accepted.

…time of silent prayer… Here is the Good News! Nothing in death or life separates us from the love of God. We are loved. We are accepted. We are forgiven. Thanks be to God. Amen.

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Funeral prayers are a spiritual way to lift up all who are attending the memorial product. It is especially encouraging for the immediate family and mates. The death of a loved one can be a tremendous blow to everyone. Funeral service prayers may be written in a contemporary format, traditional or like a poem however, the most effective resource of course, could be the Holy Bible.

The funeral prayer can be given individually, pronounced in a group in unison or just handed out printed on funeral prayer cards for a memorial of the dearly departed. Prayer readings are typically component of funeral programs and play a significant uplifting role in the memorial services. There are a large number of prayers you can pick from. Depending on the denomination that the deceased belonged to, may dictate the types of selections you will have.

There are traditional prayers such as the Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 1 or the Serenity Prayer. Any one of these will work nicely for the ceremony or imprinted within the funeral program itself. Also, they are well used within these types of services. Often the officiant or clergy are able to offer prayers before the assistance, during and afterwards. They will read from scriptures or only offer the prayer from their own wording.

You can also ask a family member or friend to say an opening word of prayer if you ever desire. It isn’t necessarily restricted to members of the clergy. Anyone can offer a word of encouragement should it be something that is burning within their hearts. If the service is performed in the church, ensure you check with the church clergy to adjust to it into the company. It is important that friends and family members do not leave behind to comfort children, even if they cannot understand what death suggests. They know something happened to their loved one, and quite possibly not coming back. Reading children poems to aid kids understand and cope with their grief will help them progress with their lives.

Religious people will read verses that help comfort together with soothe their emotions, since themselves are closely watching across them. Families who are religious often find ways to handle their grief when these people read a poem. Handing out poems to everyone at the funeral service helps visitors to comfort themselves when they’ve already a difficult time providing their feelings to others.
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Memorial verses for plans, prayer cards or memorial bookmarks can be so comforting to the friends and family who attend either a funeral or a commemorative service for this beloved. And these sayings may be religious or non-religious or even a combination.

There are a variety of calming and meaningful verses in the Bible that say exactly what you are looking to express to people attend to pay their own respects, or scriptures that outline the personality and life with the one who’s passed on.

The bible verses of Psalm 23 in the Bible is frequently used for many memorial verses with funerals or memorial solutions. Funeral Service Prayers

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