A New Zealand Prayer Book / He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa

Sentences, Prayers, Readings and Hymns
for the Funeral Liturgies


1 The eternal God is your refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27
2 In my heart I know that my redeemer lives,
and at last will stand upon the earth;
and from my flesh I shall look on God
whom I shall see with my own eyes,
I myself and no other. Job 19:25–26
3 Call to remembrance, O Lord, your tender care
and the unfailing love
which you have shown from of old.
  Do not remember the sins and offences of my youth:
but according to your mercy
remember me, Lord, in your goodness.
  You O Lord are upright and good
therefore you show the path to those who go astray.
  You guide the humble to do what is right,
and those who are gentle you teach your way.
  All your ways are loving and sure
to those who keep your covenant
and your commandments. Psalm 25:5–9
4 God is our refuge and strength:
a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
5 You are full of compassion and mercy:
slow to anger and rich in kindness.
  You will not always be chiding:
nor do you keep your anger for ever.
  You have not dealt with us according to our sins:
nor punished us according to our wickedness.
  For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so great is your mercy over those who fear you.
  As far as the east is from the west,
so far have you put away our sins from us.
  As parents have compassion on their children,
so do you Lord have compassion on those who fear you.
  For you know what we are made of:
you remember that we are but dust.
  Our days are like the grass:
we flourish like a flower of the field.
  But as soon as the wind goes over it, it is gone:
and its place shall know it no more.
  But your merciful goodness O Lord
extends for ever toward those who fear you,
and your righteousness to children’s children,
  when they are true to your covenant
and remember to keep your commandments. Psalm 103:8–18
6 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
God’s mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
your faithfulness, O Lord, is great. Lamentations 3:22–23
7 How blest are the sorrowful;
they shall find consolation. Matthew 5:4
8 Jesus said, ‘Set your troubled hearts at rest.
Trust in God always; trust also in me.
  There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house;
if it were not so I should have told you;
for I am going there on purpose to prepare a place for you.
And if I go to prepare a place for you,
I shall come again and receive you to myself,
  so that where I am, you may be also;
and my way there is known to you.
  I am the way; I am the truth and I am the life;
no one comes to the Father except by me.’ John 14:1–4, 6
9 No one of us lives,
and equally no one of us dies,
for self alone.
If we live, we live for the Lord;
and if we die, we die for the Lord.
This is why Christ died and came to life again,
to establish his lordship over dead and living. Romans 14:7–9
10 No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived,
what has been prepared for those who love God. 1 Corinthians 2:9
11 Blessèd is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whose great mercy
we have been born anew into a living hope
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3
12 The Lamb who is at the heart of the throne
will be their shepherd and will guide them
to the springs of the water of life;
and God will wipe all tears from their eyes. Revelation 7:17

Additional Prayers

1 Heavenly Father,
the strength of all who believe in you,
comfort this family in their sorrow
at the death of (their child) N.
May they find hope in your steadfast love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
2 Creator of all,
we thank you for the gift of life you gave to N.
In our confusion and grief
help us to remember the joy
which s/he brought us in the short time that s/he lived,
and guide us through our present darkness
to the light of your unfailing love,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
3 Father, the death of N brings an emptiness into our lives.
We are separated from her/him
and feel broken and disturbed.
Give us confidence that s/he is safe
and her/his life complete with you.
Help us by your constant presence to know
that Jesus bridges the gap
between death and life.
This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
4 We commend into your keeping, heavenly Father,
this your child,
whose life on earth we wanted to share.
Unite us with her/him in your unending love,
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
5 God our Creator,
from whom all life comes,
comfort this family,
grieving for the loss of their hoped-for child.
Help them to find assurance
that with you nothing is wasted or incomplete,
and uphold them with your love,
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
6 We thank you loving Father
for taking N from sickness into health,
and from suffering into joy.
Grant that those whom s/he has left
may be strengthened
by your continuing presence,
and share with her/him your gift of eternal life.
7 Jesus our Saviour,
comfort us with the great power of your love
as we mourn the sudden death of N.
Give us a patient faith in this time of darkness
and help us to understand and know your ways.
Strengthen us in our faith that s/he is with you for ever.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
8 Compassionate God,
we ask you to receive N,
who has died by her/his own hand.
Grant that the knowledge of your love and mercy
may comfort those who grieve for her/him,
strengthen our assurance of your redeeming purpose
for all your children,
through Jesus Christ your Son.
9 God of hope,
we come to you in shock and grief and confusion of heart.
Help us to find peace
in the knowledge of your loving mercy
to all your children,
and give us light to guide us out of our darkness
into the assurance of your love.
10 Almighty God,
your love embraces all people;
to you we commend your servant N,
whom we have lost in death.
Grant us a firm faith in your loving purpose,
and the comfort of your presence,
now and always.
11 Lord Jesus,
we ask you to be close to the children of this family,
whose lives have been changed by sorrow.
Give them courage to face their loss,
and comfort them with your unchanging love.
12 Please listen, God,
while we talk to you about N who has died.
Take care of her/him, and please take care of us too.
Thank you for the times we had together.
Thank you for Jesus, who shows us your love.
He is close to N, and he is close to us.
Thank you, God.
13 Father of all,
we pray to you for those we love but see no longer.
We thank you
for the peace and light you bestow upon them;
in your loving wisdom and almighty power
continue to work in them
the good purpose of your perfect will,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
14 God of all comfort,
we pray to you for those we love but see no longer.
Grant them your peace;
let light perpetual shine upon them;
and in your loving wisdom and almighty power
work in them the good purpose of your perfect will,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
15 Living God,
we rejoice in your promises of blessing
to those who die in the Lord;
so strengthen our understanding of the light and peace
which they now enjoy in Christ,
that we may find consolation in our sorrow,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
16 Support us, Lord, all the day long of this troubled life,
until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes,
the busy world is hushed,
the fever of life is over, and our work is done.
Then, Lord, in your mercy, give us safe lodging,
a holy rest, and peace at the last.
17 You have ordered this wondrous world, O God,
and you know all things in earth and heaven:
so fill our hearts with trust in you that by day and by night,
at all times and in all seasons,
we may without fear commit those who are dear to us
to your never failing love,
for this life and the life to come,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
18 Merciful God,
we remember those who have gone before us,
who have stood by us and helped us,
who have cheered us by their sympathy
and strengthened us by their example;
help us so to live, that in dying,
we may rejoice with them in the promise
of a glorious resurrection;
through your Son our Redeemer.
19 Jesus, our friend and Redeemer,
on the first Easter Day you stood among your disciples
as the conqueror of sin and death,
and spoke to them of your peace.
Come to us in your risen power
and make us glad with your presence;
and so breathe your Holy Spirit into our hearts
that we may be strong to serve you,
for the glory of your great name.
20 Father in heaven,
your Son Jesus Christ wept at the grave of Lazarus;
show your compassion now to those who mourn.
Supply their needs,
and help them to trust for ever in your fatherly care.
21 Risen Saviour,
you comforted your disciples when you were going to die;
now set our troubled hearts at rest and banish our fears.
You are the way to the Father:
help us to follow you.
You are the truth:
bring us to know you.
You are the life:
give us that life with you, now and for ever.
22 God of heaven and earth,
help us to entrust our loved ones to your care.
When sorrow darkens our lives, teach us to look to you.
May we on earth always rejoice in your presence,
and share with them the rest and peace you give,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
23 Glorious God,
with your whole Church we offer you our thanks and praise
for all you have done for humanity through Jesus Christ.
By giving him to live and die for us
you have disclosed your gracious plan for the whole world,
and shown that your love has no limit.
By raising Jesus from the dead you have promised
that those who trust in him will share his resurrection life.
For the assurance and hope of our faith,
and for the saints you have received into eternal joy,
we thank you heavenly Father.
And especially now we lift up our hearts in thanksgiving
for the life of N, now gone from us;
for all your goodness to her/him through many days,
for all that s/he was to those who loved her/him
and for everything in her/his life
that reflected your goodness and love,
blessed be your name, O God.
24 Gracious God,
surround us and all who mourn this day
with your continuing compassion.
Do not let grief overwhelm your children,
or be unending,
or turn them against you.
May we travel more peacefully because of today,
and come at last, in the fellowship of all your people,
to the haven where we long to be;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
25 Almighty God,
from whom neither life nor death
can separate those who trust in your love,
and whose love holds in its embrace
your children in this world and the next;
so unite us to yourself,
that in our fellowship with you
we may always be united to our loved ones.
Give us courage, constancy and hope;
through him who died and was buried and rose again for us,
Jesus Christ our Saviour.
26 God of mercy,
as we mourn the death of N
and thank you for her/his life,
we also remember times
when it was hard for us to understand,
to forgive, and to be forgiven.
Heal our memories of hurt and failure,
and bring us to forgiveness and life.
27 God grant to the living, grace;
to the departed, rest;
to all the world, peace and concord;
and to us and to every faithful servant, life everlasting:
and the blessing of God almighty,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
be with you and remain with you for ever.
28 The God of peace,
who by the blood of the eternal covenant
brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ,
that great shepherd of the sheep,
make you perfect in every good work,
  working in you that which is pleasing and good,
through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
29 To God’s gracious mercy and protection we commit you;
the Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you
and give you peace:
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be with you, now and always.
30 To God’s gracious mercy and protection we commit you;
God bless you, keep you and be gracious to you;
The Lord’s face shine upon you;
the light of God’s countenance lift you up
and give you peace.
31 Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them
that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory
for ever and ever.   Amen.

Readings and Psalms Suitable for Funeral Liturgies

Proverbs 31 In praise of a good woman
verses may be selected
Ecclesiastes 3:1–14 A time for everything
Isaiah 25:6a, 7–9 Death shall be swallowed up in
Isaiah 40:28–31 The Lord is an everlasting God
Lamentations 3:(17–21), 22–26 The steadfast love of the Lord
2 Esdras 2:42–48 The faithful are exalted in heaven
Wisdom 3:1–6, (7, 8), 9 The souls of the righteous are
in the hands of God
Wisdom 4:7–9, (10–12), 13–15 Age is not length of time


Selected verses may be used from the following.

Psalms 23; 25; 27; 46; 103; 121; 130; 139.

Romans 6:1–11 Dead to sin but alive in Christ
or: 3, 4, 8, 9 for a child
Romans 8:31b–39 God’s love in Jesus Christ
1 Corinthians 13 Faith, hope and love remain
1 Corinthians 15:12–19 The assurance of a resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:20–22, 35–38
42–44, (53–58)
Our resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:20–27a Our resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:51–58 Our resurrection
2 Corinthians 1:3–5 Consolation in Christ
2 Corinthians 4:7–14 Perplexed, but not in despair
2 Corinthians 4:13–5:10 At home with the Lord
Philippians 3:8–21 Our citizenship is in heaven
Philippians 3:20–4:1, 4–7 Rejoice in the Lord
1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14, (15–18) Raised with Jesus
also suitable for a child
1 Peter 1:3–9 A living hope
Revelation 7:9–17
also suitable for a child
The great company of the
Revelation 21:1–7 A new heaven and a new earth
also suitable for a child

Matthew 5:3–10 True happiness
Mark 10:13–16 Let the little children come to
Luke 15:11–32 The parable of the lost son
Luke 23:44–49; 24:1–7 The death and resurrection of
Luke 24:13–19, (20–26), 27–35 Jesus known in the breaking of
John 5:19–29 Eternal life in Christ
John 6:36–40 Nothing lost
John 6:46–58 Jesus the bread of life
John 10:1–15 (or 11–16) The good shepherd
John 11:(17–20), 21–27 The resurrection and the life
John 12:23–26 Where I am, there shall my
servant be
John 14:1–6 Jesus the way to the Father

Hymns suitable for Funeral Liturgies

Abide with me
All creatures of our God and King
Blessed assurance
Blest are the pure in heart
Christ the Lord is risen again
For the beauty of the earth
Guide me, O thou great Redeemer
He who would valiant be
How great thou art
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

Immortal, invisible, God only wise
Jesu, lover of my soul
Jesu, son of Mary
Jesu, the very thought of thee
Jesus lives! thy terrors now
Just as I am
Lead us, heavenly Father
Let saints on earth in concert sing
Lord it belongs not to my care
Lord of the living
Love divine, all loves excelling
My faith looks up to thee
Mā te mārie
Now thank we all our God
O God our help in ages past
Piko nei te Mātenga
Praise, my soul, the King of heaven
Rock of ages, cleft for me
Te Ariki hei au koe noho ai
The Church’s one foundation
The day thou gavest
The king of love my shepherd is
The Lord’s my shepherd
The strife is o’er, the battle done
Thine be the glory
Thine for ever, God of love
Think, O Lord, in mercy
Through all the changing scenes of life
Through the night of doubt and sorrow
Whakarongo ki te kupu
When all thy mercies

Additional Directions

Arrangements for the Funeral

In general, a church or a marae is the appropriate place for the funeral of a Christian.

It may be helpful if the minister, having visited the family at home, meets the chief mourners at the entrance to the church or wherever the service will be held, and accompanies them to their places.

The service on pages 826 to 838 provides for the whole funeral to be in the church or on the marae, with The Committal as the conclusion, either in the church or at the hearse.

However, provision is made in the rubrics for the committal to take place elsewhere. In this case, the service in church or on the marae concludes with The Commendation, and The Blessing of Peace; and the form of committal on page 839 is then used. Alternatively, the whole service may be used at the graveside or in the crematorium chapel.

When the coffin is brought to the church or marae before a funeral the minister may meet the coffin at the entrance, and may read one of the psalms from pages 841–846 while it is carried to its place. If prayers are to be used, suitable ones will be found under Additional Prayers, from pages 855–863.

During the Service

Optional sections are noted by the use of the word ‘may’ in the rubrics. In The Committal, sections may be omitted at the graveside when the weather is inclement.

Phrases in any of these services which are inappropriate in particular circumstances may be omitted or varied at the discretion of the minister.

Where there is provision in the service for the use of the name of the person who has died, the minister may substitute ‘our brother’ or ‘our sister’, if it seems more appropriate, although their name (not necessarily the whole name) should be used at least once.

Words printed in italics in the text indicate pronouns and other words that may require to be changed according to the circumstances.

Suitable places for hymns are

Before The Readings – page 831
Before or after The Address – page 831
After The Blessing – page 838

On appropriate occasions the minister may invite another person to speak.

Non-liturgical farewells may take place after the blessing at the end of The Committal, or at some other appropriate point.

If the Funeral Service is used with The Liturgy of the Eucharist the following order is recommended:

The Funeral Service up to and including The Prayers;
the Eucharist from The Ministry of the Sacrament;

when the Prayer after Communion has been completed,
The Funeral Service continues with The Commendation.

When children are among the mourners, it may be suitable to ask them to place flowers either on the coffin during the service or into the grave after the committal, or on the coffin at the crematorium.

When the committal takes place at sea, the minister shall substitute for the words

to the ground . . . dust to dust

the following:

to the sea, to be turned again to its elements.

When the ashes are disposed of at sea, the minister concludes
The Committal with the words,

and we commit the ashes of her/his mortal body to their
resting place in the deep.

A Memorial Service

For a service of remembrance when the body of the person who has died is not present, one of the following orders may be used

The Funeral Service without The Committal;

a Liturgy of the Eucharist with appropriate prayers;

The Funeral Service combined with a Liturgy of the
Eucharist as directed above, without The Committal;

Morning or Evening Worship with appropriate prayers.

A lighted candle or other symbol may be placed where the coffin would usually stand.

Prayers and readings from pages 853 to 865 may be used.

Those parts of the service providing for actual burial or cremation should be omitted.

In particular, in The Funeral Service the following may be substituted for The Greeting on page 827

We have come together
to remember before God the life of N,
to give thanks for all s/he has meant to us,
to commend her/him to God her/his creator,
and to affirm our faith in the saving power
of the death and resurrection of our Redeemer Jesus Christ.