Praying for Those Who have Died
For some, it seems odd that we should pray for the dead. "After all," they say, "the Lord will take care of them one way or another."
But this just doesn't make any sense. At a higher level, if we take at all seriously Christ's prayer "that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 17:21) - then we can reasonably assume that God has made it possible for us to remain continually connected to Him and to each other through the power of His Divine Energies. As the consecration of the Eucharist demonstrates, the past, present, and future become as one through the power of the Holy Spirit.
At a more personal, human level this means that we must find ways to offer ourselves to God and each other. And the most basic form of that human self-gift is the genuine, deeply personal prayer. So, intercessory prayers for the living and the dead are a natural and necessary fulfillment of the relationship we hold with each other and with God.
So next time you pray, please remember those who have died. The following vocal prayer will guide you what to say. Of course, any prayer about death provides a natural meditation on your own mortality and on the world to come.
"Remember, O Lord, our parents, relatives and friends, who have fallen asleep in the hope of resurrection, and all those who have ended their lives in piety and faith; forgive them all their transgressions, both voluntary and involuntary, committed by them in word, deed, or thought. Set them in bright places of light, in places of green pasture, in a place of rest where all pain, sorrow, and sighing have fled away, and where the light of Your countenance shines and gladdens forever Your saints. Grant unto them and unto us Your Kingdom and participation in Your ineffable and eternal blessings, and to delight in Your unending and blessed life. For You are the Life, the Resurrection, and the Repose of Your servants who have fallen asleep, O Christ our God, and we render glory to You, with Your eternal Father, and with your All-Holy Spirit, good and life-giving, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen."
- Taken from The Divine Liturgy Service Book in English, Church Slavonic, and Serbian, 3rd ed., 2011, based on the existing and church-approved liturgical texts compiled by V. Rev. Bozidar Dragicevich, M.A. with the blessings of His Grace Right Reverend Bishop of New Gracanica and Midwestern America Longin.