What Is an Appropriate Opening Prayer for a Christian Funeral?

According to the Church of England, appropriate opening prayers for Christian funerals include prayers for thanksgiving for the life of the deceased, prayers for those who mourn and prayers for comfort in the face of death. Some prayers for those who mourn are tailored to accommodate different methods of death.

Prayers for those who mourn are divided into different categories depending on how the deceased perished. These categories include a violent death, after a long life, after a short life, after a suicide, after a long illness and after a sudden death. Prayers for those who mourn commonly ask for relief from grief, guilt and fear in the event of the death of a loved one. These prayers often ask for God to show love and give guidance to those who mourn the deceased.

Prayers of absolution offer an appropriate option for the opening prayer of a funeral service, particularly if the service takes place in conjunction with holy communion. Prayers for the deceased often have the same theme, asking for the deceased's soul to be allowed to enter the Christian heaven, be forgiven of sin and granted eternal rest.

During a Christian funeral service, it is also common for a pastor or priest to combine opening prayers with the recitation of passages from Psalms, particularly Psalm 23 which begins "The Lord is my Shepherd."