New York State Funeral Directors Association

It’s not uncommon for people to attend funerals for friends and family who don’t share the same religious beliefs – or who don’t have any religion at all.

What if the deceased is religious, but you don’t know how to pray for them?

You can still make sure prayers that individual would appreciate will be voiced.

For those in the growing number of America’s non-religious who don’t know, praying is when people speak to their God, or to other holy figures.

Here are a few sources of prayer for the three most-followed religions in the U.S.

CHRISTIANITY

In the case of Christianity, adherents pray for the dead by asking Jesus, God, the Saints and other holy figures to forgive their sins and let them into heaven.

I’m unsure how much those in the ranks of the “non-religious” know, but for the sake of clarity, Heaven is the place where Christians, for example, believe they will go after death to live eternally with their God and with the people that died before them.

Actually, that’s my basic definition for all “heavens” that I’ve heard of.

Regardless of your religious affiliation, if you want to do something to ensure that prayers take place for a Catholic who has passed away, you can find help online.

The Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Community of Lake George, NY, for example, accepts prayer requests from a contact form on their website.

Just click the “Prayer Request” box and type in the name of your friend or relative for whom you are requesting prayer.

Many churches have this offering, but some are not online. In this case, you may have to make a phone call.

Look up contact information from the faith community your loved one joined. You can contact the officiant – often called a “priest,” a “pastor” or “Father,” and ask them to place your prayer request in the faith community’s Bulletin.

This will ensure dozens or more people will pray for your loved one. They’ll also pray for your friend or loved one if they are ill.Notes are visible in the Western Wall of Jerusalem in Israel

JUDAISM

Members of the organization “Chosen People Ministries” will bring your prayer request to the Western Wall of Jerusalem in Israel – considered by some to be among the holiest of places.

They leave “prayer notes” on paper within the crevices of this historic wall that’s stood for more than 2,000 years.

The online interface only asks for your name and email address and you get up to 150 words to make your request. CLICK HERE to visit “Notes to God,” and make a request.

You can also view the Western Wall, and request a note in the wall, on the website of Aish Ha Torah Israel Programs.

CLICK HERE to visit the Aish.com website.

Western Wall Prayers is another site which offers to have your prayers “heard here for 40 days,” here being the Western Wall. According to the website, you can request Classic Prayers or an entire chapter of a holy book, and a prayer will be composed for you and “pious scholars of Jerusalem” will be chosen as a prayer agent.

The website will also send you daily reminders, if requested, and suggest “good deeds” that you can perform which can strengthen your prayers.

Visit the Western Wall Prayers website AT THIS LINK.

ISLAM

Prayer requests for your Islamic friend can also be made online.

Among the options are the Aisha Mosque website. A recent check on the website revealed 303 prayer requests from individuals – some seeking prayers for healthy recovery of sick friends and relatives, others asking for prayers to pass their final exams.

“Whatever your need, whether for healing for sickness or help with finances, career, or relationships, please give us and our many readers the privilege to pray for you!” the webpage states.

You can visit the Aisha Mosque website AT THIS LINK.

The nonprofit Ziyara Muslim Spiritual Care is dedicated to “meeting the spiritual needs” of patients and works on behalf of their families, dispatching the faithful to hospitals to care for their spiritual needs.

This organization also provides a prayer request form on their website. You can provide some information and a faith community leader, called “Imam,” will make a prayer for you.

Visit the Ziyara Muslim Spiritual Care website AT THIS LINK.

For many, prayer is an important element of life – and death.

If you want to do your part to help with prayers but are unsure what faith to reach out to, just ask the funeral director when you’re at the funeral.


 

EdsPhotoEdward Munger Jr.
Communications & Social Media Specialist
NYS Funeral Directors Association