A friend was asked to speak at a memorial a few days ago but didn’t know what to say. Since I was the only theologian he knew, he contacted me for advice. The Psalms have always been my go-to in my darkest days.
Their words are comforting since many were composed during the Psalmists’ darkest times. I suggested seven Psalms he could use to comfort the bereaved.
Our conversation inspired this article, where I share the best Psalms to read at a memorial service.
7 Best Psalms for a memorial service
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
King David compares his relationship with God to that of a shepherd and sheep. He teaches that God meets all your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
The words of this Psalm offer hope that God will be with you through the valley of despair, making it a favorite in memorial services.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”
David proclaims that God is his light and salvation. He calls Him the stronghold of his life. This Psalm offers hope to mourners. It encourages them to trust in God through the uncertainty death created. The Psalm points them to God’s unfailing love, which comforts believers.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
The Psalmist declares that God is his refuge and strength. He reflects on the changing nature of life and chooses to focus on God’s unfailing love.
The Psalm encourages mourners to focus on God amidst their struggles and sorrow.
“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
Moses calls God a dwelling place throughout the generations. In this Psalm, he reflects on God’s eternal nature and humanity’s short existence.
His Psalm helps mourners get perspective on life’s brevity. It encourages wisdom and discernment in living out their days. Additionally, it helps them accept that death is part of life.
“I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘Lord, save me!'”
The Psalmist declares his love for God. He acknowledged God’s help when trouble came. The Psalm looks forward in hope but acknowledges the present suffering.
It’s perfect for memorial services because it encourages the bereaved to cast their sorrows on the Lord. This Psalm helps them focus on meeting the Lord at the end of their lives.
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”
The Psalm declares that God is your help and protects you from harm. It offers hope that mourners aren’t alone in their despair. It encourages them to call out to the Lord amidst their sorrow.
“I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land. Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”
David begs God for help. This prayer aptly communicates the sorrow and despair of losing a loved one. It teaches and encourages mourners to turn to God for comfort.
It’s best used as a prayer during a memorial service.
What Psalm is for remembering loved ones?
Psalm 23 is a favorite for remembering loved ones and comforting those left behind. It teaches about God’s presence and love in the darkest places.
Believers associate it with the idea that God watches over those who’ve passed on, which comforts the bereaved. It’s easier to move on knowing that God cares for the departed.
Are these Psalms appropriate for a funeral?
Yes. These Psalms can be used as sermons, prayers, and as part of the last rites. They offer comfort and help mourners reflect on God’s sovereignty, eternality, and love.
Additionally, they encourage mourners to live wisely, knowing their stay on Earth is temporary.
As a theologian, I have always been curious to learn more about the Christian Faith. That is why I pursued a Certificate in Christian Studies, Certificate in Christian Foundations and a Masters in Theology. I also have an immersive experience in editing for numerous websites. I have worked as an editor for over a decade and am currently the editor-in-chief at Christian Faith Guide. I enjoy working as an editor and feel privileged to share my expertise and help spread God’s word. You can read more about me on the about us page.