Prayers for the family of the deceased

Many pray for the hope of their family and relatives, but what about praying for the dead? Those that have died, now live in the kingdom of Christ. Here is a look at some good prayers for the recently deceased that may help encourage you to find the right words you are searching for.

Prayer #1

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.

Prayer #2

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.
Amen.

Prayer #3

Lord Jesus Christ,
by your own three days in the tomb,
you hallowed the graves of all who believe in you
and so made the grave a sign of hope
that promises resurrection
even as it claims our mortal bodies.

Grant that our brother/sister, N., may sleep here in peace
until you awaken him/her to glory,
for you are the resurrection and the life.
Then he/she will see you face to face
and in your light will see light
and know the splendor of God,
for you live and reign forever and ever.
Amen.

Prayer #4

O God,
by whose mercy the faithful departed find rest,
send your holy Angel to watch over this grave.
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Prayer #5

Eternal rest grant unto them , O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them .
May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Prayer #6

O God, Who hast commanded us to honor our father and mother, look in the tenderness of Thy mercy upon the souls of my father and mother and forgive them their sins, and grant unto me the joy of seeing them again in the glorious light of everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer #7

O God, who hast commanded us to honor our father and our mother; in Thy mercy have pity on the souls of my father and mother and forgive them their trespasses; and make me see them again in the joy of everlasting brightness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer #8

O God, who by Thine unspeakable providence was please to number Thy servant Pope (Name here) among the Sovereign Pontiffs, grant, we beseech Thee, that he who reigned as the vicar of Thy Son on earth, may be joined in fellowship with Thy holy Pontiffs forevermore. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the soul of Thy servant Bishop (Name here), which Thou hast taken from the toilsome conflict of this world, may have fellowship among Thy saints. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

O Lord, we pray Thee that the soul of Thy priest, Thy servant (Name here), which, while he abode in this world, Thou didst adorn with sacred gifts, may ever rejoice in a glorious place in heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer #9

Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.

All is well.

Prayer #10

O Loving Father and Savior, send your angels to carry the soul of your servant from this earth to the heavenly place of eternal and everlasting life. Let family and friends who have passed before in faith be reunited in joy with the departed. Forgive any wrongs that have been committed and welcome this beloved spirit into the warm embrace of your unending peace. Amen.

Prayer #11

Grant us, Lord Jesus, always to follow the example of Your holy family, that at the hour of our death Your glorious Virgin Mother with blessed Joseph may come to meet us, and so we may deserve to be received by You into Your everlasting dwelling-place.
Amen.

Prayer #12

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I offer you my heart and my soul. Jesus, Mary, Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul with you in peace.
From sudden and unlooked for death, O Lord, deliver us

Dr. Charles Stanley discusses the topic of praying for the dead in the following video. Dr. Stanley offers the answer to your questions with the Word of the Lord.

connectusfund.org

“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).

The Text

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.

  1. 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.”
  2. That his actions are spoken of in the past tense is perfectly understandable since he was no longer in Rome (17a).
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

References

  • Fee, Gordon. 1988. New International Biblical Commentary — 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus_. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.
  • Kelly, J. N. D. 1987. A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles — Timothy I & II, and Titus_. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.
  • Lenski, R. C. H. 1961. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians, Thessalonians, to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon_. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg.
  • Mounce, William. 2000. Word Biblical Commentary — Pastoral Epistles. Nashville, TN: Word.
  • White, N. J. D. 1956. “The First and Second Epistles to Timothy and to Titus,” The Expositor’s Greek Testament. Vol. 4. W. Robertson Nicoll, ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Scripture References

2 Timothy 1:18; 1 Timothy 1; Ezekiel 18:20; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Luke 16:26; Matthew 25:46

Cite this article

Jackson, Wayne. “Did Paul Pray for the Dead?” ChristianCourier.com. Access date: April 30, 2018.

www.christiancourier.com

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.

Amen.

prayers for the family of the deceased

prayers for the family of the deceased

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.

prayers for the family of the deceased

prayers for the family of the deceased

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 family of the deceased

prayers for the family of the deceased

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.

prayers for the family of the deceased

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.

prayers for the family of the deceased

prayers for the family of the deceased

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.

prayers for the family of the deceased

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,

Amen.

prayers for the family of the deceased

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.

Amen.

prayers for the family of the deceased

prayers for the family of the deceased

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,

Amen.

prayers for the family of the deceased

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.

Amen.

prayers for the family of the deceased

prayers for the family of the deceased

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.

Amen.

prayers for the family of the deceased

See Also: 10 Inspiring Songs To Help With Grief 

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The Church prays for the dead, and this prayer says much about the reality of the Church itself. It says that the Church continues to live in the hope of eternal life. Prayer for the dead is almost a battle with the reality of death and destruction that weighs down upon the earthly existence of man. This is and remains a particular revelation of the Resurrection. In this prayer Christ himself bears witness to the life and immortality to which God calls every human being.

Gathering in the Presence of the Body

When the family first gathers around the body, before or after it is prepared for burial, all or some of the following prayers may be used. It is most fitting that family members take part in preparing the body for burial.

All make the Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

Then one member of the family reads:

My brothers and sisters, Jesus says: “Come to me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.”

The body may then be sprinkled with holy water.

The Lord God lives in his holy temple
yet abides in our midst.
Since in Baptism N. became God’s temple,
and the spirit of God lived in him (her),
with reverence we bless his (her) mortal body.

Then one member of the family may say:

With God there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
Let us pray as Jesus taught us:  Our Father.

Then this prayer is said:  Into your hands, O Lord,
we humbly entrust our brother (sister) N.
In this life you embraced him (her)
with your tender love;
deliver him (her) now from every evil
and bid him (her) enter eternal rest.
The old order has passed away:
welcome him (her), then, into paradise,
where there will be no sorrow,
no weeping or pain,
but the fullness of peace and joy
with your Son and the Holy Spirit
for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

All may sign the forehead of the deceased with the Sign of the Cross. One member of the family says:

Blessed are those who have died in the Lord;
let them rest from their labors,
for their good deeds go with them.

V. Eternal rest grant unto him (her), O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon him (her).

V. May he (she) rest in peace.
R. Amen.

V. May his (her) soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

All make the Sign of the Cross as one member of the family says:

May the love of God and the peace
of the Lord Jesus Christ
bless and console us
and gently wipe every tear from our eyes:
in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

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 brother (sister).

Lord Jesus, holy and compassionate,
forgive N. his (her) sins.
By dying you opened the gates of life
for those who believe in you:
do not let our 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.  
R. Amen.

Prayers at the Graveside

Aside from the time of mourning, the month of November, including especially All Saints’ day and All Souls’ day, is a traditional time for visiting graves, as is the anniversary of death. Some or all of the following prayers may be used at the graveside of a family member or friend.

All make the Sign of the Cross. The leader begins:

Praise be to God our Father, who raised Jesus
Christ from the dead. Blessed be God for ever.

All respond:

Blessed be God for ever.

The following Scripture text may be read:  2 Cor 5: 1

We know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven.

After a time of silence, all join in prayers of intercession, or in one of the litanies or other prayers. All then join hands for the Lord’s Prayer:  Our Father.

Then the leader prays:

Lord God,
whose days are without end
and whose mercies are beyond counting,
keep us mindful that life is short and the hour of death is unknown.
Let your Spirit guide our days on earth
in the ways of holiness and justice,
that we may serve you in union with the whole Church,
sure in faith, strong in hope, perfected in love.
And when our earthly journey is ended,
lead us rejoicing into your kingdom,
where you live for ever and ever. 
R. Amen.

or:

Lord Jesus Christ,
by your own three days in the tomb,
you hallowed the graves of all who believe in you
and so made the grave a sign of hope
that promises resurrection,
even as it claims our mortal bodies.
Grant that our brother (sister) N.
may sleep here in peace
until you awaken him (her) to glory,
for you are the resurrection and the life.
Then he (she) will see you face to face
and in your light will see light
and know the splendor of God,
for you live and reign for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

V. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.

V. May they rest in peace.
R. Amen.

V. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

All make the Sign of the Cross as the leader concludes:

May the peace of God,
which is beyond all understanding,
keep our hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God
and of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
R. Amen.

Additional Prayers for the Dead

V. Do not remember my sins, O Lord,
R. When you come to judge the world by fire.

V. Direct my way in your sight, O Lord, my God,
R. When you come to judge the world by fire.

V. Give him (her) eternal rest, O Lord, and may your light shine on him (her) for ever,
R. When you come to judge the world by fire,

V. Lord, have mercy,
R. Christ, have mercy, Lord, have mercy.

All : Our Father . . . trespass against us.

V. And lead us not into temptation,
R. But deliver us from evil.

V. From the gates of hell,
R. Deliver his (her) soul, O Lord.

V. May he (she) rest in peace.
R. Amen.

V. Lord, hear my prayer,
R. And let my cry come to you.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And also with you.

Let us pray. 
Lord, welcome into your presence your son (daughter) N., whom you have called from this life. Release him (her) from all his (her) sins; bless him (her) with eternal light and peace; raise him (her) up to live for ever with all your saints in the glory of the Resurrection.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

For a parent:

Let us pray.
Almighty God, you command us to honor father and mother. In your mercy forgive the sins of my (our) parents and let me (us) one day see him (her) again in the radiance of eternal joy.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

For a brother or sister:

Let us pray.
God, our Maker and Redeemer, in your mercy hear my (our) prayer. Grant forgiveness and peace to my (our) brother (sister) N. and N., who longed for your mercy.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

V. Give him (her) eternal rest, O Lord.
R. And may your light shine on him (her) for ever.

V. May he (she) rest in peace.
R. Amen.

V. May his (her) soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

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