A Prayer for the Dying

Gracious Father,
your holy Word tells us
that our times are in your hands.
Hear our prayers for __________ and for his family
as he nears the end of his earthly life.
Comfort them with your gracious promises
of the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body
and the life everlasting;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Paul C. Stratman, 2018

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The Beginning and the End

O Lord, the First and the Last,
the Beginning and the End,
you were with us in our birth,
be with us through our life.
You are with us through our life,
be with us at our death.
Because your mercy will not leave us then,
grant that we do not die,
but rise to the life everlasting
with you and in you;
who lives and reigns
in the glory of the eternal Trinity,
one God, now and forever.

Source:  Eric Milner-White (1884-1963) in A Cambridge Bede Book1936

O Lord, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, who wast with us in our birth, be with us through our life; thou who art with us through our life, be with us at our death; and because thy mercy will not leave us then, grant that we die not, but rise to the life everlasting with thee and in thee; who livest and reignest in the glory of the eternal Trinity, one God, world without end.

In the Midst of Life We Are in Death

In the midst of life we are in death.
To whom may we look for help,
but from you, O Lord,
who for our sins
are justly displeased?

Yet, O Lord God most holy,
O Lord most mighty,
O holy and most merciful Savior,
deliver us from the bitter pains of eternal death.

Source: Notker the Stammerer, battle song from the year A. D. 912, based on the English translation in the Book of Common Prayer.

Most versions render the last line, “deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.”

Original in Latin:

Media vita in morte sumus
quem quaerimus adjutorem
nisi te, Domine,
qui pro peccatis nostris
juste irasceris?

Sancte Deus,
sancte fortis,
sancte et misericors Salvator:
amarae morti ne tradas nos.

Book of Common Prayer 1559 text in traditional English:

In the midst of life we be in death: of whom may we seek for succor but of thee, O Lord, which for our sins justly art displeased. Yet, O Lord God most holy, O Lord most mighty, O holy and most merciful savior, deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.

Martin Luther expanded this prayer into a hymn, Mitten wir in leben sind.

1. In the midst of earthly life
Snares of death surround us;
Who shall help us in the strife
Lest the Foe confound us?
Thou only, Lord, Thou only.
We mourn that we have greatly erred,
That our sins Thy wrath have stirred.
Holy and righteous God!
Holy and mighty God!
Holy and all-merciful Savior!
Eternal Lord God!
Save us lest we perish
In the bitter pangs of death.
Have mercy, O Lord!

2. In the midst of death’s dark vale
Powers of hell o’ertake us.
Who will help when they assail,
Who secure will make us?
Thou only, Lord, Thou only.
Thy heart is moved with tenderness,
Pities us in our distress.
Holy and righteous God!
Holy and mighty God!
Holy and all-merciful Savior!
Eternal Lord God!
Save us lest we perish
In the bitter pangs of death.
Have mercy, O Lord!

3. In the midst of utter woe
All our sins oppress us,
Where shall we for refuge go,
Where for grace to bless us?
To Thee, Lord Jesus, only.
Thy precious blood was shed to win
Full atonement for our sin.
Holy and righteous God!
Holy and mighty God!
Holy and all-merciful Savior!
Eternal Lord God!
Save us lest we perish
In the bitter pangs of death.
Have mercy, O Lord!

This prayer has its own page on Wikipedia.

At the Death of a Christian Brother or Sister

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O Lord God, Lord of life and death,
you turn man to dust and say,
“Return, O children of men,”
we give you thanks for all the mercies
which during his life you bestowed
on this our beloved brother, now fallen asleep.
Especially do we praise you
for having brought him to the knowledge
of your dear Son Jesus Christ.
Comfort the survivors
with your everlasting comfort,
and cheer them with the sweet hope
of a blessed reunion in heaven.
Grant to the lifeless body
rest in the bosom of the earth,
and hereafter, together with us all,
a joyful resurrection to life everlasting.
Teach us all to number our days
that we may apply our hearts to wisdom,
and finally be saved;
through Jesus Christ, your beloved Son,
our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Source: Liturgy and Agenda (1921), p. 134

Two Prayers for the Dying

Almighty, eternal God, heavenly Father,
comfort and strengthen this your servant
and save him through your goodness.
Deliver him from all anguish and distress,
release him in your grace,
and take him to yourself in your kingdom;
through Jesus Christ your dear Son,
our only Lord Savior and Redeemer.
Amen.

Almighty, eternal God,
have compassion on the anxious sighs
and groanings of this dying person.
Receive him into your kingdom
that you have mercifully prepared for him
and all believers from the beginning of the world.
Graciously release him, O Lord,
and comfort him eternally with the elect;
through your dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Source: Modified from The Abridged Treasury of Prayers: An Epitome from the Larger Gebets-Schatz, 1906,  #63

A Prayer for a Dying Person

O almighty and merciful God,
you are our rod and staff in the shadow of death.
We pray, visit this sick person,
his body and soul,
with your mercy,
and graciously to forgive all his sins.
Take the sacrifice of the innocent death
of Jesus Christ your dear Son
as payment for his transgressions
since he was baptized in Christ’s name
and cleansed by Christ’s blood.
Deliver him from bodily pains or shorten them.
Sustain him against the accusations of conscience
and all attacks of the wicked one
that he may fight a good fight and overcome.
Grant him a blessed departure for the life everlasting.
Send your holy angels
that they escort him to the gathering
of the elect in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.

Source: The Abridged Treasury of Prayers: An Epitome from the Larger Gebets-Schatz, 1906,  #61

“you are our rod and staff in the shadow of death” is a reference to Psalm 23:4

“Take the sacrifice of the innocent death of Jesus Christ your dear Son as payment for his transgressions” is a reference to Isaiah 53:5

“Sustain him against the accusations of conscience and all attacks of the wicked one” may be a reference to Ephesians 6:16

“that he may fight a good fight and overcome” is a reference to 1 Timothy 6:12

“Send your holy angels” is a reference to Luke 16:22

Prayer Before a Funeral

Lord Jesus,
help us to remember you,
your holy life,
your innocent death,
your glorious resurrection,
all that you did to redeem us
and make us your own.

Lord Jesus,
help us to remember your holy Word,
that those who believe in you
have crossed over from death to life,
and that you will raise us up on the last day.

Lord Jesus,
help us to remember
what your gracious promises tell us
about what is to come,
that nothing in all creation
will separate us from your love,
and that one day you will wipe away all our tears
in your kingdom
where there will be no more mourning
or crying or pain.

Make these your truths our solid, and unmovable comfort,
so that with steadfast faith
we face any hardship,
and in spite of our tears,
find joy in you, your Word, your promise.
Amen.

Source: © 2016 Paul C. Stratman

This translation is licensed by Paul C. Stratman under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International LicensePlease contact for permission for any commercial use.