We pray for those who have passed before us so that their souls might find eternal rest with our Heavenly Father. Here are 17 powerful prayers for the repose of the soul.
Prayer for Eternal Rest
Almighty and eternal God, who desires not our death and suffering but our conversion and safe arrival into eternal happiness, I ask You to have mercy on us, sinners. Grant that the sins of those gone before us may be remitted, that the dying may have the gift of final perseverance in their faith and in Your grace, and that us yet living may prepare for a good and holy death, worthy to be welcomed into Your bosom when our day comes. Amen.
Prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory
Lord God, maker of Heaven and Earth, I place myself here before You and contemplate Your mercies, especially that You are willing to receive us into Your glory, even if we still have some guilt on us that, for now, makes this union impossible. Lord, have mercy on the dead, and after the necessary period of purification, give them a place in that refreshing coolness, light, and peace that they have always desired. Amen.
Prayer for Our Rest in Jesus
Jesus, my way, truth, and life, I cannot thank You enough for the offer of redemption You gave us in the sacrifice of the cross and Your sweet presence here on Earth, for they are far beyond what we deserve. But most of all I thank You for being that key which opens Heaven for us. You said that when You are lifted up from Earth, You will draw all of us to Yourself. Therefore, let me in this life cleave to Your sacramental presence, the promise of future glory. Never let me separate myself from You, so that I may one day see You face to face with the Father and the Holy Spirit and sing Your praises forever. Amen.
Prayer for Someone Dear
My God, who through the pouring out of the Holy Spirit taught us about true charity, have mercy on my deceased friend (here, name the person or persons). As I took pleasure in their company here on Earth, I now beseech You to give them heavenly graces and blessings so that they, now resting from their labors, may see You, and that I may one day regain their friendship in Heaven. I offer these prayers to Your Divine Majesty so that they may obtain remission of their sins and purification. Saint Lazarus of Bethany, friend and companion of Jesus, please pray for my deceased friends. Amen.
Prayer for Someone No One Prays for
Lord Jesus, Word Incarnate, who shared our human nature and became like us in everything but sin, I ask You to pardon those that do not have any intercessors. You were lonely in the Garden of Gethsemane before Your death, and in another place, You told us that the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. Because You shared our sufferings, I dare to ask You to help those most helpless and most in need of Your mercy. Amen.
Prayer for Those Closest to Being United with God
My God, who marvelously made humankind, and more marvelously redeemed us, give pardon to those of the dead who are closest to being cleansed of their sins and attaining union with You. In baptism, they became a new creation, pleasing in Your sight and, though unworthy, were called Your children. These souls have now run the course of their earthly lives. Summon the divine power You once showed them and let them who are so near to You finally meet You in Heaven. Amen.
Prayers for Those Far Away from Heavenly Bliss
My God, Lord over the living and the dead, I ask You to have mercy on Your servants who are yet far from shedding their sins and joining the choir of angels and saints that continuously adore You in Heaven. They too were created to love You, serve You and forever be happy with You. Therefore, I ask You to graciously hear my prayers for their benefit and the benefit of all the faithful departed. Amen.
Prayer for Deceased Parents
O God who gave us the family to serve as an image of Your Holy and Undivided Trinity, and whose mercy endures forever, I ask You to look kindly on my parents (or father/mother) who now rest in the sleep of peace. Let me never forget charity, the bond of perfection, with which I tried to serve them in this life, and which now calls me to keep their memory. May he/she/they be received into the everlasting home now occupied by the Holy Family, and may Your mercy find us all worthy to be united one day in You. Amen.
Prayer for My Deceased Benefactors
Lord, searcher of hearts, You know better than I do how many graces, as well as spiritual and material goods, I received because of others’ prayers and actions. Be favorable to my friends, teachers, leaders, and companions, through whom You once were favorable to me. May they who on Earth joined their voices to all who praise You and dedicated their services to my benefit, now enter into the fellowship of the heavenly choir. Amen.
Prayer to Saint Joseph for a Good Death
Dear Saint Joseph, who passed onto eternal life surrounded by Jesus and Mary, help me in my necessities, first and foremost, at the hour of my death. May I, alongside all who call on your foster Son Jesus’ name, die in the arms of the virtues of faith, hope, and love. Inspire me to have contrition for all my sins, and a disposition ready to give my life back to Him that made me. Pray for me to be welcomed into the joy that is now yours forever. Amen.
Prayer for Mary’s Maternal Care
Sweetest and most caring of mothers, Mary, I ask you to take me and all souls, living and dead, into your maternal care, for the greater glory of your Son. At the hour of His death on the cross, He looked at you, and said to us: “Behold your mother!” Therefore, I come to you full of confidence in your unfailing intercession. Pray to your Son for us sinners now and at the hour of death so that He who once turned water into wine at your request welcomes us all into that eternal feast we so strongly desire to celebrate. Amen.
Prayer for a Spiritual Offering for the Dead
Lord, just and merciful judge, I ask You to hear my prayer. You gave us instruction in the words of Your Sacred Scripture when You called praying for the dead holy and wholesome. Let me offer You prayer, penance, good deeds, almsgiving, and request priests to say Holy Mass for the benefit of all who died in Your name. I know that the dead now rely on our prayers; let me, therefore, keep them in mind. Good and merciful God, have mercy on my deceased family members, friends, enemies, benefactors, and spiritual leaders, and grant them eternal rest. Amen.
Prayer against Sudden and Unexpected Death
Lord Jesus, You gave us Your Church and Your Sacraments so that Your saving ministry never ceases on Earth. You gave Your apostles and their successors the power to forgive sin and commanded them to anoint the sick. I thank You for Your great mercy in giving us these gifts we have not merited. Please grant that I may make use of them before my death. Free my heart from the temptation of evil thoughts so that, in my most vulnerable and critical hour, I have the chance, if confession is unavailable, to at least invoke the holy names of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and to be contrite for my sins, and only desire union with You. Let me here and now consecrate not only my life but my death also to You, so that after the weary labors I have been through, I can meet You as prepared as I can be. Amen.
Prayer in Preparation for Sleep and Death
Lord, behold, at the end of the day I retire to my bed. Although I expect I will live for many more years, You alone know when I will meet You. Therefore, let me for a moment imagine that this rest is my final one. I repent of all my sins. I am sorry for having offended You. Just as I desire earthly rest and sleep now, I would one day like to rest in You. Before the day comes, let me labor tirelessly in Your vineyard. Lord, maker of night and day, and of all Your servants, grant us a quiet night, a perfect end, the forgiveness of sin and eternal rest for the dead. Amen.
Prayer for Final Perseverance
Lord, allow me for a moment to contemplate that strange and fateful moment in life when the soul prepares to leave the body: the final moments we have on Earth. What will my thoughts be? Will I be loyal to You to the very end? At that moment, willpower will not be enough, because I will need Your grace too. But I also need to say “Yes” to Your salvation to gain it. Therefore, knowing that You do not desire our death but our conversion and union with You, let me ask You to remove all fatal temptations. My beloved maker and redeemer, slow to anger and abounding in love, flood me with Your light and show me the ugliness of sin in that moment, so that I may with my last breath say Yes to everything You want me to be. Amen.
Prayer in Preparation for Life’s End
Lord Jesus, You admonished us to keep watch always and pray because we do not know the hour we meet You. To prepare myself a little, let me now take stock and make sure You do not find me asleep when You come. Do I hold You to be my everything in life? Let me prefer You to everything else around me. Have I always confessed Your name? Let me proclaim You with my words and my deeds. Have I always stayed loyal to You? Let me repair my friendship with You through a good examination of conscience and sacramental confession. Jesus, You made sure that we have everything we need to come to You safely. Help all Your servants watch and pray so that, even in this valley of tears, we are comforted by Your presence, and look forward eagerly to the life we will spend with You. Amen.
Prayer in Expectation of the Resurrection
My God, who not only made humankind but also redeemed it, You promised us through Your own mouth and through the writings of Your servant Saint Paul that one day we will rise from the dead. Those that eat the bread come down from Heaven will live forever. Many abandoned You because of this hard saying. I would like to humbly follow You regardless. Although I do not know what my resurrection will be like, I am certain that when You died You destroyed death and when You rose again, You restored life. My risen Savior, let me fervently and with ever-increasing faith desire this wonderful promise, so that one day, I can sing with You, the firstborn from death, and all the saints: “Where, O death, is your victory?” Grant all of Your servants a perfect and total remission of sins so that we will see the day. Amen.
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Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.