Committal Service after a Death During a Pandemic

Dearly beloved:
We are gathered here today in the sight of God,
under this spring sky, to lay (name) to rest.
For everything there is a season,
and a time for every purpose under heaven.
There’s a time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pick up what is planted,
a time to laugh and a time to weep.
Today is a time to say good-bye.

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Prayer for the Critically Ill in a Pandemic (when you can’t be physically there)

God of infinite care,
how we long for your presence in this heavy time.
Our loved one, (name), is so sick, they may be dying;
we know they are suffering,
and we cannot be at their bedside to hold their hand.
Like so many other family members
who are separated from the sick through travel restrictions,
or levels of quarantine,
our hearts are torn open with grief and anguish.
We need your presence at that bed,

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Prayer in Virulent Times (after St. Patrick)

We bind onto ourselves
the loving power of God our Creator,
the enlivening power of the Spirit of Truth,
and the steadfast faithfulness of Jesus Christ.
We bind onto ourselves 
the glories of the earth, this gift:
the power of heaven,
the light of the sun,
the brightness of the moon,
the splendour of fire,
the flashing of lightning,

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Pandemic Prayer

Great God,
you are an ever-present help in times of trouble,
and that’s why we’re praying now.
We are troubled and we’re worried things
are going to get more troubling.
This virus is spreading around the world:
so many are seriously ill
or will be seriously ill,
so many health care systems are stretched
or will be stretched.

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Prayer for Those Addicted to Drugs

Lord, we are praying for those we love
whose lives are chained by the power of drugs.
They have sacrificed everything to this cruel master :
work, home, relationships, honesty,
even love seems barely to matter.
And still more is demanded of them:
we fear it will take their very life.
We need a miracle
because we’ve done everything we can think of.
Where there is recklessness, bring caution,
where there is compulsion, bring freedom,
where there is desperation, bring hope,
where death looms,

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Prayer for the Scientific Method

Thank you for human ingenuity, God,
for our ability to think and reason
and figure things out.
Thank you for people who toil away
year after year in laboratories,
hypothesizing and testing,
and re-hypothesizing and re-testing.
The result is a world largely free from small-pox,
free from epidemics of polio,
free from the scourge of mumps, measles, tetanus,
and scores more diseases.
Thank you for countries rich enough
to devote money to universal health-care,
and for the doctors and nurses
who give and track vaccines.
In a world where some of our worst enemies

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Prayer for Those Living with HIV/AIDS

Immanuel, thank you for being with us in our HIV/AIDS filled world.
We pray expecting your presence among us!
Be with all who live with the effects of this disease.
Be with those who wait to die because they have no access to medication.
Be with children who received HIV as a legacy from their parents.
Be with orphans and families who have lost loved ones.
Be with countries who have millions of citizens with HIV/AIDS.
Be with all who are stigmatized and ignored because they have this virus.
Be with researchers and scientists who work to find a cure.
Be with corporate executives who control access to affordable medications.
Be with healthcare workers and caregivers who comfort and encourage.

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A Prayer for Those Contemplating Suicide

For each of your beloved children
who this night are poised to take their own life,
we pray this prayer.
For those plagued by despair,
for those haunted by hopelessness,
for those immersed in mind-numbing pain,
for those confused by bewildering delusions,
for those mired in violent memories,
for those pushed to the edge by grief,
for those bullied because of their sexuality,

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My life is a guesthouse
and each day brings its visitors.
Years of regular customers,
rational and sensible,
ordered and predictable—
they cause no trouble.
Steady Contentment, calm Happiness,
busy Industry, pleasant Enjoyment.
Every once in a while Temper checks in,
turning the whole house upside down for a while,
but he doesn’t stay long…..

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About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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