We all will experience death one day, but that doesn’t make it an easy thing to face. We can so easily fear the end of our lives, or focus our attention on things of this world instead of the glory to come in heaven, but we as believers can take comfort that God cares about our grief and Jesus understands our pain.
Like Job 14:5 says, “A man’s days are numbered. You know the number of his months. He cannot live longer than the time You have set.” God has a specific plan for each and every one of our lives, even if we might wish for a different outcome for ourselves or our loved ones. His plans are perfect and he desires the very best for each of his beloved children. We can find great peace in the presence of our Lord, even in our grief, our fear, our pain, and our final breaths.
Here are 6 prayers for the dying and the mourning:
Prayers for those who are dying
Part one of this article on preparation for death
, we listed numerous prayers for the dying. In this article we will list some more prayers, along with some practical suggestions for Catholics and Christians in preparation for death.
The first and most important step for the dying Catholic is to call a Priest to request the Sacrament of the Sick (also called “Extreme Unction” or “Last Rites”). The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given to those who are normally gravely ill, especially those in danger of death. The Rite in which this Sacrament is offered includes also the Sacraments of Reconciliation (also known as Confession or Penance) and also the Eucharist, known at this time as “Viaticum,” meaning “Food for the Journey”. Catholics especially should desire and welcome the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) to repent of all their past sins and receive God’s mercy and forgiveness.
The Sacrament of the Sick may also be received conditionally up to several hours after apparent death, since we cannot presume to know the moment the soul leaves the body, and can only know with moral certainty that death has occurred after bodily corruption has begun. If the person is unconscious, conditional absolution (forgiveness of sins) and Sacrament of the Sick (Extreme Unction) are offered, without the Eucharist. Here is an
excellent article giving in detail the Sacrament of the Sick
For all Christians, including Catholics:The proper dispositions when death is approaching:The central teaching of Christianity is that we are saved from eternal damnation through the Passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5). Therefore, we are to put our faith and trust in Jesus and His Passion and death. We must remember however, that it was our sins that caused Him to be scourged and then nailed to the Cross in which He hung for three long hours. It is our sins that wound us, and separate us from God. So it is that we must repent of these sins, that is, the sins of our entire lives, and ask God to forgive us in His infinite mercy.
And so we pray, asking the Father for forgiveness for our sins through the infinite merits of the Passion and death of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. –For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world!
Prayers for the dyingThe ConfiteorOh my God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong, and in failing to do good, I have sinned against You whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me into sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us, in His name, my God, have mercy!
Prayer of praise and resignation to the will of GodOh, what return shall I make to the Lord for all that He has done for me? Bless the Lord, O my soul, and let all within me bless His Holy Name. Honour, praise and thanksgiving be for ever given to Thee, King of eternal glory. I offer Thee my whole being, my body with all its senses, my soul with all its faculties. I accept the death that Thou has destined for me with all its pains and sufferings. I unite it to Thy death, I offer it to Thee. Thou hast died for love of me, help me by Thy death. For Thy death is my hope. My Jesus, I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee, and I resign myself to Thy Holy Will.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for me now and at the hour of my death.
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul.
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, assist me in my last agony.
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul with you in peace.
Prayers for Forgiveness and MercyOh my Jesus, forgive us of our sins, and save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls into heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.
Oh Jesus, I have a firm confidence in Thy goodness and mercy, that You will not forsake me in this time of my distress. I ask You to stand by me with Thy grace, and defend me from all evil, and that You prepare my soul for a happy passage to eternity, where with your Angels and your Saints, I may praise You for all eternity. Amen.
Oh my Jesus, You suffered and died a horrible and painful death on the Cross in reparation for my sins and the sins of all of humanity. I pray that as I gaze upon You on the Cross, I may recognise your sufferings and Your infinite love for me. And may I repent of my sins and be forgiven. Amen
Oh my God, forgive me of all my sins and unite my heart wholly to Thee, that with holy resignation I may submit to death in punishment of my sins, and so enter into Thy Kingdom of love. Amen.
Dear God and Father of mine, Lord of life and death, with an immutable decree you have established that, as a just chastisement for our sins, all of us have to die. Look at me here bent low before you. From the bottom of my heart, I abhor my past faults, for which I have merited death a thousand times, a death that I now accept as atonement for my sins and as proof of my submission to your lovable will. O Lord, happily will I die at the moment, in the place, and in the way that you want. And until that day I will take advantage of the days of life that remain in order to fight against my defects and grow in your love, to break the bonds that tie my heart to creatures, and to prepare my soul to appear in your presence; and from this moment on I abandon myself without reserve into the arms of your Fatherly providence.
Prayer for a Happy DeathO my Creator and Father, I beg of you the grace of final perseverance and a holy death. Despite the fact that I have greatly misused the life you have given me, grant me the grace to live it well from this moment on and to end it in your holy love. Let me die as the holy patriarchs died, leaving this valley of tears without sadness, to go and enjoy eternal rest in my true homeland.
Let me die as did glorious St. Joseph, accompanied by Jesus and Mary, pronouncing those sweetest of names, and in Whose company I hope to enjoy for all eternity.
Let me die as did the Immaculate Virgin, in the purest of love and with the desire of uniting myself to You- the only object of my love.
Jesus, having accepted death for me, grant me the grace of dying in an act of perfect love for You.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for me now and at the hour of my death.
St. Joseph, Guardian and Protector of Jesus and Mary, be with me in my last moments and protect me from the enemy.
Prayer of Commendation for the moment of deathWhen the moment of death seems near, the following prayer may be said:
I commend you, my dear brother (sister), to almighty God, and entrust you to your Creator. May you return to Him who formed you from the dust of the earth. May the holy Virgin Mary, the angels, and all the saints come to meet you, as you go forth from this life.
May Jesus, who was crucified for you, grant You His mercy and His peace. May Christ, who died for you, admit you into His heavenly Kingdom. May the Blood that He shed be your salvation and may He forgive you of all your sins and set you among those whom He has chosen. May you see your Redeemer face to face and enjoy the vision of God for ever.
The Holy Rosary or the Hail Holy Queen may be prayed.
By Brad Andres
Praying with the dying can be an intimidating thing. The time nearing death can be a very stressful and scary time for families and friends of the ill.
Let’s go over some of the basics of praying for someone who is nearing death. We’ve also included some sample prayers for the dying below to help guide you through this process.
If you do not know the individual, then spend some time getting to know them as a person. Ask them about their family, about their life. Find out what they are proud of, ask if they have any regrets. Discover what they believe the afterlife is going to be like.
(Read Bible Verses about Death, and Bible Verses about Heaven)
Once a rapport is established, albeit however small, then you can move onto the praying part. People need to know you care about them before you pray for them, and taking the time to ask about their life is one way to do that.
Therefore, following establishing a relationship, here are a few things to remember which will help guide you when saying prayers for the ill.
1. Do they know Jesus?
This is the most important question which you need to answer before praying with someone as they are about to pass onto the next life. If they do not know Jesus, you need to introduce them to each other as soon as possible.
In all actuality, if they do not know Jesus, then there is not much point in progressing further. Yes, you will still pray with them, for God’s comfort, peace, and rest, but if they are not going to inherit the free gift of eternal life, then what is the point? The point of praying those things is that maybe something will click, possibly the Lord could grab ahold of their hearts before death, and they may encounter Jesus before their passing. And besides, it is just courteous to bless someone in their dark hours of life.
Prayer To Know Jesus Before Dying
Come into my life.
I believe you died and rose from the grave.
I believe you live eternally in heaven.
Cleanse me from all unrighteousness.
Forgive me of all my sins.
Move into my heart.
I make you my Lord and Savior.
Thank you for your sacrifice.
I accept your gift of eternal salvation.
2. Pray for God’s peace.
Death can be frightening for some, and for others, death can be completely natural. Some who know Christ will face death fearlessly, while some others will be terrified. The same goes for those who are not in a relationship with Christ; some will be unafraid and some will be frightened.
As stated earlier, it will be good practice to pray for God’s comfort and peace regardless of that person’s level of relationship with Jesus.
A Comforting Prayer for the Dying
Help discover your peace.
Let them receive your comfort.
Help them to be at rest knowing that you care for them,
and that you love them.
Calm their soul as they move into the afterlife.
May they spend eternity with you;
may they live forever in your presence.
3. Pray for the Family
Just as death may be hard or easy for an individual, so can it be the same for any remaining family or friends. Sometimes when you have the opportunity to pray with the dying, you will be alone. Othertimes, family and friends will be present. Regardless, even if you pray this as you leave, it is still thoughtful to pray for those who will be mourning the person’s passing.
A Prayer for the Family of the Dying
Bring this family peace.
Provide them with your comfort.
Let them know you tenderly care for each and every one of them.
Lead them to be reunited with their loved one some day.
Sit with them in their mourning.
Let your presence provide rest.
Thank you, for the gift of life that brought to the world.
May he rest peacefully with you for eternity.
A final note to remember is that this time is an emotional and stressful time for all associated with the dying person. Therefore, you may be given a chance to pray, and you may not be given a chance to pray. Remember to respect all people’s wishes, and know that as you walk with God into the room, you are inviting His presence into the situation. If you pray these prayers on your way back home alone, it still carries power to allow God into the situation.
And we will finish with my prayer for you.
A Prayer for Those Going to Pray with the Dying
Give this person strength.
Grant this person confidence.
Allow them the opportunity to discover if the passing person knows you.
Give them wisdom to know when to speak and what to say.
Let them bring your presence into the room.
Let them carry your love into the situation.
Encourage them with a special gift or your presence.
If you’d like to submit a prayer request for someone who is ill, please do so below.
Brand Andres is a licensed minister and his passion is to help people understand the Bible and maximize
their God given potential for life.
Find him at BradAndres.com, and follow him on Twitter and Google.
Prayers for the Dying – Overcoming the Fear
Are you intimidated to offer prayers for the dying? Death is close at hand and you are there to bring comfort. Can you do it? Do you know how? The very fear you have and the grief you feel is also in the heart and mind of the one who is facing death. Don’t fight that, but embrace it and share it. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” As you mourn with someone who is dying or with someone who’s experiencing the death of someone close to them — you give them comfort, you uplift, you are blessed because you are blessing someone else, and you too will experience comfort.
Prayers for the Dying – Clinging to Life
As you offer prayers for the dying, you may see a struggle in their spirit to live. The health of our spirit is interestingly tied to our struggle to cling to life. The sick and the weak, those with little left to hang onto in the physical realm; will still cling to their life when their spirit is strong. Fighting a fight that seems like a losing battle; the dying will take any kind of quality of life that is offered them.
What are they truly clinging to? What is life? Jesus said He is life (John 14:6); He gives life abundantly or to the full (John 10:10); He said that His words are spirit and they are life and that the flesh is of no avail (John 6:63); and He promises that all who believe in Him have eternal life (John 6:47). The life that we truly cling to and struggle to have is found in Jesus right now; and is fulfilled just beyond the horror of death.
Death comes when the struggle to cling to the flesh gives way. The dying will come to accept the journey that their spirit needs to take. And Jesus knows that journey. He went through it. He conquered it for you and for me (John 11:25). Jesus alone is the judge of who inherits eternal life. So leave it in His loving, righteous, gracious, and worthy hands.
Prayers for the Dying – Offering Hope
There is hope and good news that you can offer in your prayers for the dying. The good news is that death is now swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). We have hope because of Jesus! The return of Jesus to gather His people to Himself and the promise of eternal life is our hope. The Bible often reminds us of how we should long for its coming and cling to its promise to keep us going when life is difficult. For the believer, death is the gateway into the promise of eternal life as we shed our earthly bodies to enter into the presence of God (1 Corinthians 15:50-53).
”Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:3-9, ESV)
Offer this hope to the dying so they can find peace. Jesus will meet them right in their moment of death just as He did the thief on the cross in Luke 23:39-43. Our faith comes up against the fear of death and brings comfort and even joy.
”May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).
Prayers for the Dying – A Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, With heavy hearts we come to You. You are Almighty Creator God; holy and full of grace and love. Our hearts are heavy because of a life that is leaving us. Death engulfs us Lord. Fear is waiting to take us down. Thank You Father, that because of Jesus, You know our pain and sorrow intimately. Thank You that Jesus knows the way through this dark shadow. Take the hand of our dear sister/brother and make Yourself known. Guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Keep that which is Your own and take it into eternity to be with You. In Jesus, death is but a shadow. Jesus has swallowed up its sorrows and pain. Thank You Jesus for the cross. Thank You Jesus for the resurrection. Lord, we are before You, confessing that You are Lord of all; the gate keeper to eternal life. Your grace and love abound even as our sin seems ever increasing. Take our hands Lord and lead us through. We lay our fears at your feet. Your promise is that You — and You alone — will come to take us home. As it says in Psalm 23:4: “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” (ESV).
Thank you for the comfort we find in Your presence. Through the Holy Spirit we know Your presence is with us. Send us Your peace Lord; the peace that passes all understanding. Don’t let us waiver and doubt. Give us a faith that is everlasting. We release our lives into Your hands. As we wait and watch, we know Lord that none of us will escape this journey through death. Teach us how to embrace it with faith. Give us strength to hold up those who are stepping closer to seeing You face to face. Take away the fear in the heart of our loved one who will soon see You; let them find peace in Your grace, comfort in Your love, and strength in Your mighty power over death. Comfort us as our grief seems to over power us.
You are a good, just, righteous, and loving Father. Don’t let us grow bitter in this shadow of death. But pierce our hearts with a joy that we can not fathom or understand. A joy that is above all that is corrupted here on earth. Jesus you wept over death and so too, we weep. But it is a grief and a mourning that holds joy on the other side. You are conqueror of all; and so we trust You. We trust that You will do what is right, what is loving. Whether in death or in life Your will is accomplished and You are sovereign. May we know Your presence, Lord. Keep us ever aware of Your loving hand guiding us through all things. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.
Learn More About Dealing With Death
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
– We have all
and deserve God’s judgment.
, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him.
, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He
for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was
rose from the dead
according to the
. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your
, declaring, “
Jesus is Lord
,” you will be saved from
and spend eternity with God in heaven.
What is your response?
Yes, today I am deciding to follow JesusYes, I am already a follower of JesusI still have questions