Commendation of the Dying

When a Christian is near death, the following Order may be used. If no Minister is present it may be used by the head of the family or by any other Christian.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Then shall all present say:

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, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.


Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

The Minister says:

O Lord God, our heavenly Father, graciously accept this your servant, _______. Forgive him all his sins, mercifully defend him in the hour of his death, and grant him eternal life; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


O Christ, Son of God, for _______ you bore the pain of the cross and died for his sins, have mercy on him, forgive him all his sins, and keep him steadfast in faith. Amen.

Then one or more Psalms or Scripture Lessons may be read.

Psalm 16 (ESV)

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
    in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
    their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
    or take their names on my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 23 (ESV)

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

John 10, selected verses (ESV)

14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, butI lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” …  27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

John 14:1-4 (ESV)

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

When the end is near, the Agnus Dei and/or the Nunc Dimittis may be said.


O Christ, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us.
O Christ, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us.
O Christ, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; grant us your peace. Amen.


Lord, now you let your servant depart in peace according to your word. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.

The Minister lays his hand on the head of the dying believer, and says:

Depart in peace, ransomed soul,
in the name of God the Father almighty who created you,
in the name of Jesus + Christ, the Son of the living God, who redeemed you,
in the name of the Holy Spirit, who sanctified you.

Come now to Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,
and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven.

The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalm 121:8) Amen.

The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord look on you with favor and + give you peace. Amen.

When the soul has departed, the following Prayer may be said:

Lord Jesus, Prince of Life, we thank you that you kept our brother steadfast in repentance and faith, and that you have now taken him to yourself. Comfort us who remain. Help us to the end of life to bear its burdens and trials patiently, and when our last hour comes, be the strength of our heart and our portion forever; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever. Amen.


Almighty, eternal and most merciful God, you summon and take us out of this sinful and corrupt world to yourself  through death  so that we may not perish or continue in sin, but pass through death to life eternal. Help us to know and believe this with our whole heart that we may rejoice in our departure and at your call cheerfully enter your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord. Amen.

The blessing of almighty God, the Father, the + Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with us all. Amen.

Source: Modified from Common Service Book, 1888, 1917. Elements from other commendation rites are also included.

“O Christ, Son of God, for _____ you bore…” “Depart in peace, ransomed soul…” through Psalm 121:8, and the prayer “Almighty, eternal and most merciful God…” are modified from The Lutheran Hymnal, p. 119


Published by


Lutheran pastor serving St. Stephen's in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

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