August 13, 2022

Whether you are a minister charged with preparing funeral readings for those in your care or a person who is mourning the loss of someone close to you, I pray that the verses from Psalms for funerals below will be a help in your time of need. I invite you to meditate on these 50 verses from Psalms and let the Spirit of God grant you solace, wisdom, and rest.

Well Known Psalms
Catholic Favorites
Sharing in Grief and Outcry
Words of Comfort and Healing
Hope and Strength to Persevere

Well-Known Psalms

1. Psalm 23:4

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (NKJV)

Anyone who has attended a funeral service is familiar with the valley of the shadow of death. This is the place where we face our own mortality, even as we long to be led to green pastures and restful waters. Even though we mourn a loved one, we are reminded of the good news of eternal life and of all the promises of Christ Jesus, our Good Shepherd.

2. Psalm 32:7

“You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah” (NKJV)

Attending a memorial service reminds us of the sting of death. We feel exposed in our earthly tents, each subject to death at our own appointed time. So we take refuge in the presence of the Lord in hard times. He shelters us as the waters roar around us, giving us peace and rest for the days of our lives as He stills the troubles of our hearts.

3. Psalm 34:18

“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.” (NKJV)

These timeless words remind us of the Lord’s unfailing love. Just as little children, when they are frightened or hurt, long for their parent’s arms, we long for our Heavenly Father when our hearts break from grief and loss. And the good news is that God is a faithful and loving Father who knows our needs, hears our cries, and is quick to come alongside us in our brokenness.

4. Psalm 42:5

“Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.” (NKJV)

Sometimes we hurt, and we don’t know why. But when we experience loss, we know all too well why we hurt. Still, we can take that pain and sorrow and place it on the altar of God. We can come before Him, even when our souls are downcast, and He will not turn us away. And for that, even through our tears, we can still praise our Heavenly Father for His goodness.

5. Psalm 57:10

“For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens,
And Your truth unto the clouds.” (NKJV)

Experiencing loss leaves us feeling like we are drowning in the depths of the heart of the sea. But from here, the only place we have to go is up. And the love of God extends not just to the surface, but to the height of Heaven and beyond. The God of all comfort is able to lift us from the depth of our sorrow and carry us to heights that we cannot measure.

6. Psalm 90:4

“For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
And like a watch in the night.” (NKJV)

Losing a loved one causes us to struggle with time itself. The fond memories behind us seem so brief, and the lonely road ahead looks so long. But even as the redemption of our bodies seems a long way off, we are reminded that God surpasses time. Someday, we, too, will enter into His holy city where there is no more waiting and no more reminiscing, but only eternity in our Father’s house.

7. Psalm 93:2

“Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.” (NKJV)

Some losses are sudden. But even when we are prepared, we still feel the sting and disbelief when we lose a loved one. But there are no surprises for God, as He is eternal in all ways. He has existed since before the beginning, and He will remain beyond the ends of the earth. And for this, we can rely on His sovereignty, His power, and His care in the midst of our needs.

8. Psalm 97:12

“Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.” (NKJV)

It’s hard to rejoice when we are in mourning. It’s hard to sing with gladness through tears. It’s hard to raise a loud voice of praise from a lowly body of suffering. But when we rest in the presence of the Lord, we experience His holiness because there is no other like Him. And when we let Him comfort us, He turns our sorrow to joy and our cries to a song.

9. Psalm 121:1-2

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.” (NKJV)

When we are hurting, we look for someone to bear our burdens while we are weak and carry us forward when we are weary. God is the rescuer—the One who gallops swiftly and heroically from the hilltops, drawing near to us. For when we look to the hills, we see the heavens and the earth—the works of His hands, and we can be certain that He has the power to carry us.

10. Psalm 139:14

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.” (NKJV)

The grief of loss reminds us of the frailty of life. The flower of the field withers, and the earthly tents that are our bodies will someday be gone from us, too. Yet each of us is made with the utmost intention and precision by our Father’s hand. And all the works of His hands are marvelous, and we can trust that He will prepare for us spiritual bodies that will last for eternity.

Catholic Favorites

11. Psalm 24:3-4

“Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.” (NKJV)

What beautiful imagery. The holy mountain of God rises above the sufferings of this present time. All who have overcome the power of sin are invited to ascend the hill where the glory of the Father is visible. What a joy it is to know that by the love of Christ, the paths of righteousness have been revealed to us. Through Him, we may be with the living God forever.

12. Psalm 25:6

“Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.” (NKJV)

The love of God is an unfailing love. From eternity past, God’s love has endured. And His love will remain until the coming of the Lord on the last day. God is steadfast and faithful. He rescues us for His name’s sake. And when the new Heaven and new earth are revealed, His love will still remain, and we will be as little children, gently led into rest by our Father’s hand.

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13. Psalm 27:13-14

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (NKJV)

It hurts to lose a loved one, but the Lord assures us that our pain is temporary. As the Psalmist declares, we will see His goodness in the land of the living. What a wonderful promise, to know that strength, comfort, and hope wait for us still in this life. So let us patiently seek the Lord and gain strength for each new day until we fully realize His promise.

14. Psalm 37:18

“The Lord knows the days of the upright,
And their inheritance shall be forever.” (NKJV)

We mourn our loved ones because we miss them, and it hurts. But we can take comfort in entrusting them to the Lord. Our heavenly Father knows our hearts and cares for His own. And He is faithful to His promises. So we have the assurance that our loved ones, even though they are gone from this life, shall receive their lasting inheritance as heirs of God.

15. Psalm 63:2

“So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.” (NKJV)

When we can’t see past our grief and pain, God invites us to pause and remember the things that we have seen. In the house of the Lord, we have seen His glory. God has not hidden His face from us when we have sought after Him. So let us take a moment to know that even in our sadness, His face still shines on us with love and watchfulness.

16. Psalm 103:13-14

“As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.” (NKJV)

The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is Father to us all. He knows us completely, for He made us. He has adopted each of us as His own son or daughter. And like a loving earthly father, He covers us with compassion in our sorrow and pain. We can trust our Heavenly Father to see us through this present season of loss and difficulty through His comfort and care.

17. Psalm 116:15

“Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His saints.” (NKJV)

In times of loss, our sorrow weighs heavily on us. But God’s promise of eternal life strengthens us and keeps us from falling into despair. For even though we miss our loved ones, we take heart knowing that in the kingdom of God, celebration abounds for a saint entering into victory. So we take comfort in knowing that eternal rest awaits not only the one that we mourn, but all who trust in God.

18. Psalm 122:8

“For the sake of my brethren and companions,
I will now say, ‘Peace be within you.’” (NKJV)

Peace be with thee. Such a simple thing to say, yet full of profound truth. As we wrestle with grief, peace easily eludes us. Our hearts become restless, and our thoughts conflicted. So God invites us to the restful waters of His peace, where His calm assurance settles our hearts and quiets our minds. Let us not only experience the peace that passes understanding but let us pass it on to others.

19. Psalm 130:5

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.” (NKJV)

In the pain of loss, we are reminded that life changes in the twinkling of an eye. When we feel the sting of death, we seek relief and healing. Like the Psalmist, we sing “my soul waits for the Lord” as we long for comfort, relief, and assurance. And His Word, which endures forever, sustains us in our waiting, inviting us to rest on the promises of God’s unfailing love.

20. Psalm 143:10

“Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.” (NKJV)

Losing a loved one sometimes causes us to examine our own lives. We search our hearts, asking ‘am I a good person?’ and ‘will I receive eternal life?’ So we call on the Spirit of God to fill us anew, guide our steps, and direct us on the paths of righteousness. Let us draw nearer to God so that we may know His healing, and His strength, as His Spirit leads us forward.

Sharing in Grief and Outcry

21. Psalm 4:1

“Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.” (NKJV)

In times of loss, we long to know that we are not alone. In a loud voice, our hearts cry, “O God!” And we hope for even a small sign that our cries reach the house of the Lord and fall on the ears of our heavenly Father. Surely, the God who did not spare His own son hears our cries and understands our anguish. Surely He will answer us.

22. Psalm 38:9

“Lord, all my desire is before You;
And my sighing is not hidden from You.” (NKJV)

When we feel the weight of loss, there is no covering up our grief. Our perishable bodies feel weak as our souls thirst for the God of all comfort to deliver us. Even as we cry, “O death, I can fight you no more!” the eyes of the Lord are on us, and His ears hear us. Just as He endured the death of His son, He endures with us in our grief.

23. Psalm 44:25-26

“For our soul is bowed down to the dust;
Our body clings to the ground.
Arise for our help,
And redeem us for Your mercies’ sake.” (NKJV)

Loss brings us to our lowest point in life. We cling to the ground and taste dust, desperate to be lifted to our feet once again. Yet even in this lowly place, we are not out of the reach of our Father’s hand. His unfailing love comes to us where we are and raises us above the earth, giving us air to breathe and the strength to stand again.

24. Psalm 56:8

“You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?” (NKJV)

As much as we long to be free of the pain that we feel when we lose a loved one, we take comfort in knowing that God remembers every tear. He does not forget our sorrows and heartaches. He faithfully bears with us in the pain. Our hurt heals with time, but the memory of the presence of the Lord in the midst of our pain reminds us of His steadfast love.

25. Psalm 77:2

“In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord;
My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing;
My soul refused to be comforted.” (NKJV)

At times, our pain is so great that even sleep escapes us. All night we hope for relief, but we don’t find any. And we wonder if God hears us in the night, if He sees us in the darkness. But God has not abandoned us. He quietly invites us to remember the light of past days and trust that He will bring the warm peace of new light in the morning.

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26. Psalm 86:3

“Be merciful to me, O Lord,
For I cry to You all day long.” (NKJV)

“Have mercy on me!” What honest words to cry out in our time of grief. The pain of loss is deep, and the wound does not heal quickly. Hour after hour, we cry for mercy to bring calm to the troubles of our hearts. And as we wait, we trust, for we know that God’s mercy knows no bounds and that His help comes in His time.

27. Psalm 88:2

“Let my prayer come before You;
Incline Your ear to my cry.” (NKJV)

Grief prompts us to call out to God in a loud voice. We long desperately to be heard. We cry out in the hope that the Spirit of God might carry our plea to the altar of God, offering Him a lowly and contrite heart. We wait patiently for words of comfort, trusting, and hoping that God, in His unfailing love, will turn His ear to us and hear us.

28. Psalm 102:2

“Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble;
Incline Your ear to me;
In the day that I call, answer me speedily.” (NKJV)

Losing a loved one means never again hearing their voice or seeing their face. So as we struggle through the pain of our loss, we long to see the face of God. We desire to open our eyes and see His love shining on us, and His glow brings warmth to our cold loneliness. We long for the loving and understanding gaze of the God of all comfort.

29. Psalm 119:28

“My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word.” (NKJV)

Grieving takes its toll on us. We lose sleep, we don’t eat right, and our minds are so scattered that we cannot focus on the basic tasks of life. Loss saps our strength and leaves us weakened. God knows the weakness of sorrow, and He has given us His word, by which we know His peace, comfort, and hope. When we wait on Him and call to Him, He renews our strength.

30. Psalm 142:2

“I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him my trouble.” (NKJV)

God does not grow weary of hearing from us. Even when we are overcome with pain and sorrow, God invites us to unload our hearts on Him. In the presence of the Lord, we have the freedom to speak all of our anguish and turmoil. His hands are infinite, able to hold all of the emotion that we pour into them. He knows our hearts and welcomes us even in our brokenness.

Words of Comfort and Healing

31. Psalm 16:8

“I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” (NKJV)

Losing a loved one reminds us that life is fragile. In the twinkling of an eye, we could leave the land of the living. Where can we find comfort in these mortal bodies? The right hand of God is our present help, firm and sure. By His righteous right hand, the Lord God sustains our lowly bodies, giving us shelter in the storms of loss and mourning.

32. Psalm 18:28

“For You will light my lamp;
The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.” (NKJV)

Losing a loved one is like seeing a candle snuffed out. Our souls wait in the darkness of loneliness, hoping that the darkness will not hide us from the sight of the Lord. Yet even in this darkness, God keeps our lamps burning, granting us a tiny flame to restore us in the newness of life. Even the darkness and solitude of death cannot hide the face of God from us.

33. Psalm 22:24

“For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from Him;
But when He cried to Him, He heard.” (NKJV)

When we cry out in grief, God never fails to hear us. He responds to the downtrodden with a listening ear of love. The face of God shines on those in pain because His unending love compels Him to draw us near to Him. For God promises comfort to those who mourn, so we trust that in our affliction and mourning, He will hear our cries, and we will see His face.

34. Psalm 33:20

“Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.” (NKJV)

Waiting is hard, especially when we are waiting for pain and grief to subside. But our waiting is not hopeless because even in the midst of our grief, God shields us. The very presence of the Lord provides a buffer for our hearts against the storms of anguish. He shields our minds from the hopelessness of despair as He holds us close in our time of suffering.

35. Psalm 54:4

“Behold, God is my helper;
The Lord is with those who uphold my life.” (NKJV)

Loss often instills in us a sense of distance. When a loved one is gone from us, all joy and peace- even the world- seem a little farther away. Yet God is not distant from us. He comes alongside us as our helper. His hands hold us up, His word strengthens us, and His light guides us each day. When we cannot carry ourselves forward, He is faithful to sustain us.

36. Psalm 73:26

“My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (NKJV)

When we grieve a loss, weakness takes hold of us. The passing of a loved one makes us aware of our own perishable bodies, and we feel the limits of our own strength. In these times when our own strength fails us, the God of all comfort is our portion. He lifts us up and leads us forward, providing exactly what we need for the day ahead.

37. Psalm 91:1

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (NKJV)

Rest eludes us when we feel the pain of loss. The sufferings of this present time rob us of sleep, and our souls thirst for even a taste of relief. Taking shelter in the house of God, we are surrounded by the stillness of His care. His presence provides us shade from the scorching sun, bringing relief for our tired eyes and rest for our weary hearts.

38. Psalm 94:19

“In the multitude of my anxieties within me,
Your comforts delight my soul.” (NKJV)

It is hard to settle our minds in times of mourning. Our minds race from dashed hopes to unanswered questions to worries about the unknown. We long to settle our anxiety as it spirals out of control. Yet God does more than just relieve our stirring minds. His words of comfort transform our thoughts with a newness of life that bring joy as we rest in His presence and trust in His promise.

39. Psalm 117:2

“For His merciful kindness is great toward us,
And the truth of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!” (NKJV)

Sorrow is heavy when we experience it, but we take comfort knowing that our sorrow is only temporary. Our Heavenly Father is a God whose kindness and faithfulness know no bounds. We know that our loved one, though gone from us, is carried now by our eternal God. And we trust that one day we, too, will see the glory of the Father and the peace of eternity.

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40. Psalm 138:3

“In the day when I cried out, You answered me,
And made me bold with strength in my soul.” (NKJV)

In our mourning, it comforts us to meditate on the love of Christ and to remember the times that we have cried out to Him in pain and anguish. We remember how He heard us and gave us boldness and strength to move through and beyond the pain of the moment. So again, we call out to Christ Jesus, confident in His faithfulness and assured that His love will reach us again.

Hope and Strength to Persevere

41. Psalm 17:15

“As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” (NKJV)

The Lord God is a good father. And as children of God, we depend on His goodness. He is the God of Jacob, who led His children to the Promised Land. And by His Holy Spirit, He leads us on His right paths to the kingdom of Heaven. After the last trumpet, we will see His face in glory. And we will know death, pain, and tears no more.

42. Psalm 30:11

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,” (NKJV)

Loss hurts for a time, but in the presence of the Lord, our cries turn to song. With the Psalmist, we will shout “O Lord! You have clothed me in joy!” In our Father’s house, joy will reign, and the former things will be gone. No more mourning, no more sorrow, no more death. For we will dwell forever in new glorious bodies in the house of God.

43. Psalm 43:5

“Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.” (NKJV)

Even in the midst of grief and sorrow, God still softly reminds us that He is our salvation. As He comforts our downcast souls, we know that He has not abandoned us or forgotten us. And so, even in our pain, we still praise Him. Though our voices are faint and our bodies weary, even a whisper of praise helps us to remember our ultimate victory and look forward in hope.

44. Psalm 48:14

“For this is God,
Our God forever and ever;
He will be our guide
Even to death.” (NKJV)

Losing a loved one brings change to our lives. A familiar face, voice, and embrace are gone from us forever. Our daily routines and future plans will look different. And so we turn to God, eternal and unchanging, to steady us in the time of change. For He is God in all times, and He remains with us through all things and will carry us through our days and into eternity.

45. Psalm 58:11

“So that men will say,
‘Surely there is a reward for the righteous;
Surely He is God who judges in the earth.’” (NKJV)

At a memorial service, we take comfort in hearing and sharing stories about our departed loved ones. Stories about what a good person he or she was not only brighten our sorrow with fond memories, but they remind us that our God, the God of all comfort, has prepared a place of rest for His faithful. And so we celebrate the life that was lived with an eye on eternity.

46. Psalm 61:2

“From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (NKJV)

Sorrow weighs us down and slows our steps as if we’ve gotten stuck in the mud. But we are never out of God’s reach, and when He lifts us from the mire of despair, we can look forward to having solid ground beneath our feet. He gives us a place to stand, where we can rest, regain our strength, and prepare for moving forward on the sure footing of solid rock.

47. Psalm 62:1

“Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.” (NKJV)

Rest eludes us in times of loss. It is not just our bodies that grow weary, but even our souls wait for relief as our sorrow reaches deep within us. As we wrestle with questions, we can take comfort in knowing that our salvation is secure in our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. So let us rest in the knowledge of our eternal hope as we prepare for the days ahead.

48. Psalm 84:12

“O Lord of hosts,
Blessed is the man who trusts in You!” (NKJV)

Losing a loved one reminds us that we are here for an appointed time. As we contemplate our own mortality, we long for something permanent to hold on to. And that is why we trust in the Lord, the One who has been from eternity past and will remain beyond the last trumpet. He is the One that we can depend on to lead us to the kingdom of Heaven.

49. Psalm 100:5

“For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.” (NKJV)

Parents, grandparents, and countless generations have come before us. And our children and grandchildren will carry on after us. May the God who carried the prior generations be the legacy that we pass onto the next ones. Let us rest in the knowledge of His faithfulness to those who have come before us as we trust Him to see us through this difficult time and all of the days that remain.

50. Psalm 146:5-6

“Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,” (NKJV)

When grief makes us weak, we look beyond ourselves for strength. There is none stronger than the God of Jacob, whose help remains with us even today. His powerful hands formed the heavens and the earth, and He has proved His strength and His faithfulness across all time and history. So we trust in His mighty hand to be the help we need as we look to life beyond our present sorrow.

Closing

Grief is a unique journey for each of us. And as we’ve journeyed through the Psalms together, our prayer and hope are that one or more of these Bible readings speaks to you and to those in your care. Someday our individual journeys will lead us all to the holy mountain of God, where we all see the full glory of our Father.

The loss of a loved one is a trying time for all of us. Whether we’ve had time to endure an illness and say goodbye or we’ve received unexpected and tragic news, we are never fully prepared for the range of emotions and grief that we are sure to experience. Whether you seek strength, comfort, or hope, or just need to hear the familiar yet timeless words of scripture, may the God of all comfort keep you and uphold you as your journey continues. May the love of Christ keep you as He leads you on the paths of righteousness to restful waters.