This “time of death prayer of thanksgiving and hope” can be used to pray with families and friends saying their final farewells to a loved one who has just died.  This prayer can be useful to hospital chaplains, hospice workers, medical workers, pastors, family and friends because it helps bring God’s care to loved ones soon after someone’s death.  It can also be used at a funeral prayer.

Time of death prayer of thanksgiving and hope  

Loving Lord, I know that right now you and all of ________’s loved ones who have gone on before have welcomed (her/him) Home.

Thank you for receiving ______and releasing (her/him) from (her/his) well-worn body.

And while the body is just a suit of clothes that _____put on when God brought (her/him) into this world, it is (her/his) suit of clothes that gave hugs and smiles and laughter, and that is hard to say goodbye to.

So, I ask that you surround (her/his) family and friends with your love and with loving memories of ________. May they be sustained by the knowledge that because you show your love in infinite ways, each one of them had a relationship with _______that no one else shares.

In the days ahead, may they continue to see and feel the lasting effects that (she/he) has forever given to this world.

Lord, thank you for the gift of life here on Earth, thank you for your promise of eternal life in Heaven, but mostly, thank you for sharing _______with us.  Amen

About this time of death prayer

I wrote the prayer 15 years ago when I was a doing my chaplain training at The University of Tennessee Medical Center. I was envious of the Catholic priests who often recited prayers from prayer books – Catholicism being very rooted in liturgy.

As a Methodist, I felt like I had to come up with “new material” every prayer. Then, I realized I didn’t. Just as “The Lord’s Prayer” or “The Serenity Prayer” have meaning despite repetition, I realized that a prayer that  captured the emotions of loved ones present at the time of death (or during a funeral) while also honoring a life well-lived and the promise of eternal life could also be used in many settings, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the death.

Since writing this prayer (and with the past 10 years in hospice – it has definitely been used often!), I have had doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals as well as funeral home directors ask for copies. I am very honored to get the chance to share it with your audience.

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