Prayers, Readings and Music

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Prayers and Scriptures

FuneralPartner has compiled the following collection of prayers that could be used as part of a funeral or memorial service or gathering, for example to be read aloud by someone of your choosing.

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Prayers and Scriptures

There is a wide variety of prayers and scriptures and sacred text that could be used in a funeral or memorial service or gathering. Below is a small sample of prayers and scriptures to consider, for example to be read aloud by someone of your choosing.

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May the Lord support us
all the daylong
Till the shadows lengthen
and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over
and our work is done!
Then in His mercy
may He give us a safe lodging,
and a holy rest, and
peace at the last!
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, forever and ever.
Amen.
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 darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek 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.
The Lord bless you and keep you.
May He show His face to you and have mercy.
May He turn His countenance to you and give you peace.
The Lord bless you!
Almighty God, You love everything You have made,
And judge us with infinite mercy and justice.
We rejoice in Your promises of pardon, joy and peace to all those who love You.
In Your mercy turn the darkness of death into the dawn of new life,
And the sorrow of parting into the joy of heaven;
Through our Saviour Jesus Christ, who died, rose again, and lives for evermore.
Amen.
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.
God our refuge and strength,
close at hand in our distress;
meet us in our sorrow and lift our eyes
to the peace and light of Your constant care.
Help us so to hear Your word of grace
that our fear will be dispelled by Your love,
our loneliness eased by Your presence
and our hope renewed by Your promises
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.
Lord, we pray for those who mourn,
for parents and children, friends and neighbours.
Be gentle with them in their grief.
Show them the depths of your love,
a glimpse of the kingdom of heaven.
Spare them the torment of guilt and despair.
Be with them as they weep beside the empty tomb of our risen Saviour,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Naked I came from my mother's womb,
And naked I shall depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
May the name of the Lord be praised.
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.
Blessed are you when people reproach you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor, with what will it be salted? It is then good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men.
You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can't be hidden. Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house.
Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Jesus said “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. You know the way to the place where I am going."
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
May Christ support us all the day long,
Till the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes,
And the busy world is hushed,
And the fever of life is over and our work is done.
Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging,
And holy rest and peace at the last.
Amen.
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.


Readings

Below is a small collection of longer readings that could also be used as part of a funeral or memorial service or gathering.

Those special memories of you will always bring a smile
if only I could have you back for just a little while.
That we could sit and talk again just like we used to do,
you always meant so very much and always will do too.
The fact that you’re no longer here will always cause me pain
but you’re forever in my heart until we meet again.
To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of the intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
to know that one life has breathed easier
because you lived here.
This is to have succeeded.
Some people come into our lives and quickly go.
Some people move our souls to dance.
They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom.
Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon.
They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.
I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when the day is done.
I’d like to leave an echo, whispering softly down the ways.
Of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve to dry before the sun
and to remember happy memories that I leave behind when the day is done.
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there were one set of footprints.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering
from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see one set of footprints.
So I said to the Lord, "You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?"
The Lord replied, "The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand, is when I carried you.
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.
I am sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
A limb has fallen from the family tree
I hear a voice that whispers,
‘Grieve not for me’
Remember the best times,
the laughter, the songs
The good I lived while I was strong
Continue my heritage, I’m counting on you
Keep on smiling, the sun will shine through.
My mind is at ease, my soul is at rest
Remembering all…how I was truly blessed
Continue traditions, no matter how small
Go on with your lives, don’t stare at the wall
I miss you all dearly so keep up your chin
Until that fine day we’re together again.
I am the dust in the sunlight.
I am the ball of the sun.
I am the mist of morning,
the breath of evening.
I am the spark in the stone,
the gleam of gold in the metal,
the rose and the nightingale
drunk with its fragrance.
I am the chain of being,
the circle of the spheres,
the scale of creation,
the rise and the fall.
I am what is and is not.
I am the soul in all.
God looked around his garden,
And found an empty place.
He then looked down upon the earth,
And saw your tired face.
He put his arms around you,
And lifted you to rest;
God's garden must be beautiful-
He always takes the best.
He knew that you were suffering,
He knew you were in pain;
He knew you would never get well
on earth again.
He saw the road was getting rough
And hills were hard to climb
So he closed your weary eyelids,
and whispered, "Peace be thine."
It broke our hearts to lose you,
But you didn't go alone,
For a part of us went with you,
The day God called you home.ot.
Life is but a stopping place,
A pause in what's to be,
A resting place along the road,
to sweet eternity.
We all have different journeys.
Different paths along the way,
We all were meant to learn some things,
but never meant to stay...
Our destination is a place,
Far greater than we know.
For some the journey's quicker,
For some the journey's slow.
And when the journey finally ends,
We'll claim a great reward,
And find an everlasting peace,
Together with the Lord.
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 comfort you.
Blessed are those who comforts the mourners.
At the rising sun and at its going down;
We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter; We remember them.
At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring; We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer; We remember them.
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn; We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends; We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as We remember them.

When we are weary and in need of strength;
We remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart;
We remember them.
When we have decisions that are difficult to make; We remember them.
When we have joy we crave to share;
We remember them.
When we have achievements that are based on theirs;
We remember them.
For as long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as,
We remember them.
When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rite in a gloom-filled room.
Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little but not too long
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared,
Miss me but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone.
It’s all a part of the Master’s plan,
A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.
Miss me but let me go.
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to 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 the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity nor sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of 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 that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
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 around the corner.

All is well.
The truest end of life, is to know the life that never ends.
He that makes this his care, will find it his crown at last.
And he that lives to live ever, never fears dying:
nor can the means be terrible to him that heartily believes the end.
For though death be a dark passage, it leads to immortality,
and that’s recompense enough for suffering of it.
And yet faith lights us, even through the grave,
being the evidence of things not seen.

And this is the comfort of the good,
that the grave cannot hold them,
and that they live as soon as they die.
For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.
Death, then, being the way and condition of life,
we cannot love to live, if we cannot bear to die.

They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it.
Death cannot kill what never dies.

Nor can spirits ever be divided that love and live in the same Divine Principle,
the root and record of their friendship. If absence be not death, neither is theirs.
Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas;
they live in one another still.

For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is omnipresent.
In this divine glass, they see face to face; and their converse is free, as well as pure.
This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die,
yet their friendship and society are,
in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free
I’m following the path God laid for me,
I took His hand I heard Him call
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way
I found that place at the close of day.

If my parting has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
Ah yes, these things, I too, will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow.
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savored much.
Good friends, good times,
A loved one’s touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me
God wanted me now, He set me free.
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.
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'll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her only that she is gone,
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what she'd want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
You can only have one mother,
patient, kind and true;
no other friend in all the world,
will be the same to you.
When other friends forsake you,
to mother you will return,
for all her loving kindness,
she asks nothing in return.
As we look upon her picture,
sweet memories we recall,
of a face so full of sunshine,
and a smile for one and all.
Sweet Jesus, take this message,
to our dear mother up above;
tell her how we miss her,
and give her all our love.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let the aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods:
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Music

Music is often an important aspect of a service, for example to be played as a musical prelude or recessional music, or sung. Start by considering the deceased's favourite music or songs that were special to him or her. The following is a selection of popular music and songs to consider. It's a good idea to check that your funeral director has an appropriate licence to be able to play any copyrighted music at the funeral (such licences are usually obtainable through their professional associations).

  • Amazing Grace, by various artists
  • Angels, by Robbie Williams
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water, by Simon and Garfunkel
  • Can You Feel The Love Tonight, by Elton John
  • Deep Peace, by Aled Jones
  • Down To The River To Pray, by Alison Krauss
  • Goodbye, by Lionel Richie
  • Goodbye's the Saddest Word, by Celine Dion
  • Hallelujah, by Jeff Buckley or Leonard Cohen
  • Hero, by Mariah Carey
  • In The Arms Of An Angel, by Sarah McLachlan
  • My Way, by Frank Sinatra or Michael Buble'
  • Sailing, by Rod Stewart
  • Scotland The Brave, by various artists
  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow, by Judy Garland or Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
  • Unforgettable, by Nat King Cole
  • Tears in Heaven, by Eric Clapton
  • The Rose, by Bette Midler
  • The Way We Were, by Barabra Streisand
  • Time to Say Goodbye, by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli
  • Up Where We Belong, by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
  • What a Wonderful World, by Louis Armstrong
  • Wind Beneath My Wings, by Bette Midler
  • Yesterday, by The Beatles
  • You Raise Me Up, by Josh Groban
  • You'll Be in My Heart, by Phil Collins
  • You'll Never Walk Alone, by Gerry and the Pacemkaers
  • Abide With Me, by various artists
  • Amazing Grace, by various artists
  • Ave Maria, by Celine Dion
  • Be Thou My Vision, by various artists
  • Down to the river pray, by Alison Krauss
  • Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
  • Jesus Loves Me, by The Bodyguard / Whitney Houston
  • The Lord's My Shepherd
  • The Old Rugged Cross
  • Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  • Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, by Monty Python
  • Another One Bites the Dust, by Queen
  • Bye Bye Baby , by Bay City Rollers
  • Dancing Queen, by ABBA
  • Highway to Hell , by AC/DC
  • If You Don’t Know Me By Now , by Simply Red
  • I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, by Bon Jovi
  • (I've had) The Time of My Life , by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane , by John Denver
  • Albinoni: Adagio in G Minor
  • Bach: Orchestral Suite#3 in D
  • Bach: Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring
  • Barber: Adagio for Strings
  • Beethoven: Funeral March
  • Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata
  • Beethoven: Symphony No.9 "Ode to Joy"
  • Debussy: Claire de Lune
  • Elgar: Nimrod (Enigma Variations)
  • Faure': Requiem (Pie Jesu)
  • Mahler: Symphony#5 in C Sharp Minor - Adagietto
  • Pachelbel: Canon and Gigue in D
  • Ravel: Piano Concerto in G
  • Vivaldi: The Four Seasons (Winter)