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PRAYER

The significance of prayer in Christian bereavement cannot be overestimated.

While prayer from the heart is probably best at such times, it can be difficult to express one’s feelings in words. Here books (see bibliography) can help, also prayer cards (if a particularly appropriate one is found, more copies can usually be ordered through a Christian bookshop – list at end of bibliography).

Prayer cards can be included with letters of sympathy, as can quotations which have come to have a special meaning for us.

Short prayers or quotations can be inserted in parish magazines at the end of a register of recent deaths.

Service books from different Christian traditions will also provide appropriate and meaningful prayers for private use or for use during the funeral service.

Do not look forward to what might happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father, who cares for you today, will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.

St Francis de Sales, 1567-1622

Bring us, O Lord God, at our last awakening into the house and gate of heaven, to enter into that gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence, but one equal music; no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession; no ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity; in the habitations of Your glory and dominions world without end.

John Donne, 1572-1613