Few of us know what to do when it comes time to prepare for a funeral. Knowing what to do when someone dies can be very challenging when loved ones are struggling with their own emotions, comforting others, and trying to settle practical issues.
The right prayers, Scripture passages, or poems can help mourners process their grief and find solace in the most difficult of times. They can also be a great addition to a card and funeral flowers. For some inspiration, browse these 35 funeral prayers of all different types of religions, cultures, and belief systems.
Whether you’re speaking at or planning a funeral, below is a collection of funeral prayers for a variety of different religions:
Christian funeral prayers
- We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8)
- He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new! (Revelation 21:4-5)
- Thank you God that you are surely with us … thank you that you care … thank you that your Presence is close … and that you weep with those who weep. We need you. We know and believe beyond any doubt, that your power and love will never fail. In Jesus’ Almighty Name above all Names, Amen.
- He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3)
- You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. (Psalm 56:8)
Catholic funeral prayers
- To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. (Psalm 25:1)
- Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, We fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins my Mother; to thee do we come, before thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer them. Amen. (CCP-7 Memorare)
- Though I should walk in the valley of the shadow of death, no evil would I fear, for you are with me. (Psalm 23:4) Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. (CCP-9 Saint Michael Prayer)
- Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. (CCP-3 Glory Be)
Jewish funeral prayers
- Oh God, full of compassion, who dwells on high, grant true rest upon the wings of the Divine Presence, in the exalted spheres of the holy and pure … Therefore, may the All-Merciful One shelter him with the cover of His wings forever, and bind his soul in the bond of life. The Lord is his heritage, may he rest in his resting place in peace; and let us say: Amen. (El Maleh Rachamim)
- May His great name be kept magnified and sanctified in the world that is to be created anew, where He will revive the dead, and raise them up to eternal life; and rebuild the city of Jerusalem; and establish His Temple in its midst; and uproot alien worship from the earth and restore the worship of Heaven to its place. May the Holy One, blessed be He, reign in His sovereignty and glory, during your life ring your days. (Mourner’s Kaddish)
- My protector, You are our abode, one generation to the next, Since before the mountains came to birth, before the birth pangs of the land and world. From eternity to eternity, You are divine. Truly, a thousand years are in your eyes like yesterday — so quickly does it pass — or like the watchman’s nighttime post. You pour upon them sleep, they sleep … At dawn, life blossoms and renews itself; at dusk, it withers and dries up. (Psalm 90)
- Those who are worn out and crushed by this mourning, let your hearts consider this. This is the path that has existed from the time of creation and will exist forever. Many have drunk from it and many will yet drink. As was the first meal, so shall be the last. May the master of comfort you. Blessed are those who comfort the mourners. (Blessing of the Mourners)
- The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He has me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters. He revives my soul; He guides me on paths of righteousness for His glory. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no harm, For you are with me … Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, And I shall abide in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)
- 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. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
- For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35, 37- 39)
- 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 … (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4)
- Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 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 14:1-3)
Funeral And Memorial Poems
Looking for a poem instead? These funeral and memorial poems can be a great source of inspiration as you’re crafting your funeral or memorial prayer:
- “Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. (Henry Scott Holland)
- No winter without a spring, and beyond the dark horizon, our hearts will once more sing…. for those who leave us for a while have only gone away, out of a restless, careworn world into a brighter day. (Helen Steiner Rice)
- Warm summer sun, shine kindly here, warm southern wind, blow softly here. Green sod above, lie light, lie light. Good night, dear heart, good night good night. (Walt Whitman)
- I love you, Mother, I have woven a wreath, of rhymes wherewith to crown your honored name. In you, not fourscore years can dim the flame, of love, whose blessed glow transcends the laws, Of time and change and mortal life and death. (Christina Rossetti)
- I hold it true, whate’er befall; I feel it, when I sorrow most; ‘Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. (Alfred Lord Tennyson)
- If I should die before the rest of you, break not a flower nor inscribe a stone; Nor, when I’m gone, speak in a Sunday voice, but be the usual selves that I have known. Weep if you must; Parting is hell. But life goes on, so sing as well. (Joyce Grenfell)
- You can shed tears that she is gone, Or you can smile because she has lived, You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back, Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left; Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her; Or you can be full of the love that you shared. (David Harkins)
- One shade the more, one ray the less, Had half impaired the nameless grace; Which waves in every raven tress, Or softly lightens o’er her face; Where thoughts serenely sweet express, How pure, how dear their dwelling-place. And when the stream that overflows has passed, A consciousness remains upon the silent shore of memory; Images and precious thoughts that shall not be, And cannot be destroyed
- Think of him faring on, a dear, in the love of There as the love of Here. Think of him still as the same. I say He is not dead — he is just away. (Whitcomb Riley)
Nonreligious Funeral Prayers
If you prefer a nonreligious funeral prayer, you can use these quotes and poems below as inspiration:
- I think, no matter where you stray, that I shall go with you a way. Though you may wander sweeter lands, you will not soon forget my hands. (Dorothy Parker)
- Dear lovely Death, that taketh all things under wing — never to kill — only to change. (Langston Hughes)
- Do not stand at my grave and weep; I am not there. I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. (Mary Elizabeth Frye)
- Remember me when I am gone away, gone far away into the silent land; when you can no more hold me by the hand, nor I half turn to go yet turning stay. (Christina Rossetti)
- “Our revels are now ended. These our actors, as I foretold you, were all spirits and are melted into air, into thin air.” (William Shakespeare)
Additional Funeral Prayer Resources
Still need some more ideas? Check out these funeral prayer resources for additional tips and prayers.
- Funeral Prayers for Mourners: Click through this slideshow to find prayers to God that may help mourners put their feelings into words.
- Poems for Funerals: Poetry can help people express feelings that are difficult to convey. The Academy of American Poets has compiled poems about death suitable for reading at a memorial service, incorporating both classic and contemporary works.
- Memorial Poems & Prayers: These passages are suitable for in memoriam cards.
- Five Uplifting Readings About Death: Coming up with the right words to mourn someone while celebrating the life that they lived can be difficult, but these passages from poems can help.
- Memorial Poems, Death Poems, and Sympathy Quotes: This page gives you heartfelt ideas on what to write in sympathy cards or what to say in
Plan Ahead For Your Funeral And Compare Funeral Coverage
Incorporating funeral prayers into the final farewell or obituary is a powerful way to seek solace, find strength, and offer comfort during a time of loss. Whether rooted in religious traditions or personal spirituality, these prayers provide a means to express our deepest emotions, find guidance, and connect with the collective support of those gathered. They can also be a great addition to a card, along with funeral flowers.
If you’ve lost a loved one and are looking into planning a funeral, Choice Mutual can help. Use our funeral cost calculator to take some stress out of planning.