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Jan 12, 2024 7:43:00 AM

5 Prayers for the Dying: How to Pray for Your Loved Ones While Grieving

Death and grieving are unfortunate and inescapable human experiences. But, we can find hope in scripture and in prayer during those hard times. That's why we put together a list of prayers for the dying, prayers for those in hospice care and prayers for the family members left behind. We hope that these prayers give you hope, comfort and facilitate the grieving process when experiencing loss.

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For more encouragement and comfort when grieving the loss of a loved one, in addition to these prayers for the dying, we hope you'll watch the Great American Pure Flix Original series "Going Home," whose second season is currently being released. "Going Home" is a show about loss, but it's equally about hope that has been described as "uplifting, lighthearted and healing."

Prayer for The Dying

In "Going Home," hospice nurse Charley tries to give each of her patients a "good death." This means that she helps them reconcile with anyone or anything they need to before going on to the other side. She prays for patients, knowing it's important they experience peace and comfort during this time.

This beautiful prayer, modified from “A Book of Collects in Two Parts”, references Luke 24:13-35 and can be said for those we know who are nearing the end of their earthly life.

O God, our heavenly Father, have pity on your children in great bodily weakness who are drawing near the gates of death. Send your dear Son to meet with them on the way, and to stay with them, or the day is now far spent, that he may comfort them with the Word of your goodness, and break with them the bread of eternal life; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Prayer for Hospice Patients

Chaplain Barry Pennington shares this prayer he often prays when visiting hospice patients. We, too, can pray the same prayer for those we may know in hospice, or when we hear of someone entering hospice care:

God, thank you for being with us right now. We confess that we don’t understand why things happen the way they do. We don’t understand why illness comes into our lives, but we do know that you walk every path of life with us. Remind [insert name] that you are walking with him/her right now. Remind [insert name] that you love him/her, no matter what he/she is going through. I also pray for [insert name]’s family. Give them your strength as they care for [insert name]. God, we thank you that you never leave us, that you never forsake us, but you love us. We trust you, and pray this in your name. Amen.

As we see in the Original series "Going Home," hospice care can be very healing and comforting to not only the patients entering a hospice facility but their families as well. Sometimes, hospice care is viewed as a last resort or the patient may be resistant to go.

In the second season, we meet Jocelyn, a successful podcast host who is choosing to not undergo anymore cancer treatments but, instead, wants to enjoy her last days peacefully at Sunset House. In contrast, Mason is unhappy about being at Sunset House and wants to be left alone. While both feel differently about their situation in hospice care, it's important to still pray for them both as they grieve and go "home."

Prayer of Commendation

As death approaches, a Rite of Committal, which is the final act in the community of faith for a person's body, may take place. During this Rite, it is common to pray this Prayer of Commendation for the soul of the dying. In this prayer for the dying, it is Christians expressing their union in Christ and understanding of the paschal character of Christian death.

Go forth, Christian soul, from this world in the name of God the almighty Father, who created you, in the name of Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who suffered for you, in the name of the Holy Spirit, who was poured out upon you, go forth, faithful Christian. May you live in peace this day, may your home be with God in Zion, with Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, with Joseph, and all the Angels and Saints. Amen.


Prayer for the Family and Mourners of The Dying

Losing a loved one can be difficult for the entire family. In season one of "Going Home," we meet Charley's long lost friend, Cat, who has entered Sunset House to spend her last days there with Charley and her family. Charley comforts Cat's husband and two teenage children as they reconcile the fact that their mother is dying.

Everyone who passes this life has people who care about them. It's important to remember their loved ones and lift them up during this difficult time as well.

This prayer by Brad Andres asks God to comfort and care for the family during their grief:

God, 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 [insert name] brought to the world. May [they] rest peacefully with you for eternity. Amen.


Prayer for Those Who Have Passed

The staff at Sunset House in "Going Home," enter the reflection room together and pray over every patient after they have passed. Even after they have passed, their souls are still worthy of our prayers and petitions as they face Judgment on their journey home.

Even after a loved one leaves us, they still are worthy of prayers, including at their funeral or service. This suggested prayer can be said specifically at someone’s graveside:

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, [insert name], 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.


We hope that this list of prayers helps you or your family through this time of transition and loss. Our show "Going Home," streaming exclusively on Great American Pure Flix, deals with hope and healing at the end of life. Become a Great American Pure Flix member today to access this heartfelt and inspiring show.


Marissa Zimmet

I was born and raised just across the bay from Tampa, Florida (Go, Lightning!) and attended college at ECU in Greenville, North Carolina. I am a devout Catholic and am active in my parish in Charlotte, North Carolina. Outside of work, I love to run, hike, watch movies and hockey, and spend time with my dog, Rose, and my cat, Toasty, who are both rescues.