Poems, Readings & Prayers
- Hymns & Music for Funeral Service
- Singers & Musicians for Funeral Service
- Personal Touches for Funeral Service
- Organising Stationery for Funeral Service
- Informing Family and Friends About a Funeral
- Live Streaming, Photography & Videography
- Writing a Eulogy
- Choosing Flowers for a Funeral Service
- Transport for a Funeral Service
- Pallbearers for a Funeral Service
- Deciding What the Deceased Will Wear
- Signage for a Funeral Service
Including Funeral Poems, Readings and Prayers in a Service
The death of someone close to us is a profoundly difficult experience, leaving an ache in our hearts that may seem impossible to heal. However, amidst the sorrow and grief, there is solace to be found in beautifully crafted words.
Well-chosen funeral readings, poems or prayers are a lovely way to convey feelings and to remind us of the shared experience of grief. They offer a chance during a funeral service for contemplation and reflection.
However sometimes it can be hard to find the right words or choice of reading. There are so many options, it is difficult to know where to start.
First, it is always important to check whether the person who has died left a record of their funeral wishes. If they have, it is nice to incorporate some or all of the choices they made into the service. Having said that, most people only intend their wishes to be a guide and are happy for their loved ones to make the final decisions.
Finding the Right Funeral Poem or Reading
Funeral poems can capture the essence of a life lived, and give voice to our deepest emotions. They speak of love, loss, and the beauty found within memories.
Throughout history, many renowned funeral poems have touched hearts and souls. These timeless classics resonate deeply with diverse audiences and connect us through shared experiences.
Some notable examples include:
- “Death is Nothing at All” by Henry Scott Holland reminds us that those who have died are still with us, albeit in a different form.
- “Funeral Blues” by W H Auden speaks of the deep sorrow and loss that can be felt following a death.
- “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep” by Mary Elizabeth Frye entreats loved ones not to mourn, but to find their loved one in the beauty all around them.
In addition to these well-known, popular funeral poems, there is a vast array of other traditional and modern verses.
Choosing Funeral Readings
A Funeral reading might be an extract from a book or other written work, or it may be a poem or verse. Readings often offer words of wisdom, reminding us that even in death, lives continue to touch ours, leaving lasting imprints on our hearts.
Non-religious Funeral Readings
For those seeking non-religious or secular funeral readings there are lots of options, focusing on themes such as love, nature, or personal memories.
These readings can provide an inclusive space for individuals from various backgrounds to reflect on their loss and celebrate the unique qualities that make each person special. They may be something taken from traditional or modern writings, or perhaps an excerpt from a book or story that the person who died loved, or that particularly resonates with their personality or life.
Some popular funeral readings include:
- “Gone From My Sight” by Henry Van Dyke” emphasises the presence of the person is so many other ways, despite the absence of a physical closeness.
- “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams” reflects on the enduing nature of being truly loved.
- “All the World’s a Stage” by William Shakespeare reflects on the transient and finite nature of life.
If the funeral is being held in a place of worship, it is important to talk to the faith leader to make sure that they are happy with your selection.
Otherwise, as long as the reading or poem is not offensive or inappropriate, the choice is yours.
You can find some of the most popular funeral readings in our Inspiration Readings and Quotations section and in Inspiration Poems. If you wish, these can be ‘hearted’ and saved to a personalised Ideas Folder to help you keep track of your choices.
Religious Funeral Readings, Psalms and Prayers
For many, prayers hold significant importance in a funeral service as they provide an opportunity for reflection and connection with a higher power. The serve as beacons of hope, guiding us towards healing and peace during this difficult journey of grief.
Consider including prayers that resonate with the beliefs of both the deceased and those attending the ceremony, fostering unity among mourners while offering support through collective spirituality.
Each religion or faith tends to have particular prayers that are traditionally included in a funeral service. Many places of worship will allow some degree of choice, but it is good to talk to the faith leader or to whoever is conducting the service to see whether there are any requirements or restrictions.
To find out more about funeral prayers and funeral content for different faiths, please also see Religious Funerals.
Crafting a Meaningful Farewell
Incorporating funeral poems, readings and prayers into a farewell ceremony adds depth and comfort during a challenging time. Whether you seek famous and popular funeral poems, non-religious readings, or traditional prayers, find words that resonate with your emotions and evoke cherished memories, helping you through your grief.
This guide is just the beginning; it is meant to inspire you on your journey to creating a personalised and meaningful tribute. Feel free to explore further options based on your preferences, or consult with professionals, such as a faith leader, funeral director or celebrant, who specialise in planning funeral ceremonies.
How whiteballoon Can Help
Items and images from our Inspiration pages can be saved to a personalised Ideas Folder in our Planning Tools section. The whiteballoon Planning Tools are free to use. Just Register to securely save information to your folder.
These folders can be printed out and, if you wish, shared with family, friends, your celebrant or funeral director.