A memorial card is a small, personalized pamphlet distributed at a visitation or funeral. It’s used as a memento for the attendees and it usually includes a photograph, birth and death dates, and a prayer, verse, or poem.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Protestant Christian
- Catholic Prayer Card Verses
- Prayer Card Verses from the Torah
- Prayer Card Verses from the Quran
- Prayer Card Verses From Other World Religions
- Non-Religious Prayer Card Verses
People use memorial cards to personalize the funeral. The verses and images that are chosen usually reflect the beliefs of the deceased.
We’ll provide verses and poems that are appropriate for several different faith groups, as well as some secular choices as well. We hope you find a verse or poem on our list that you can use in loving memory of the one you lost.
Protestant memorial cards often include Bible verses, funeral poems, or prayers. Here are some from all three categories to consider. Try to find an option that matches the beliefs and the personality of the deceased.
1. Ecclesiastes 3:3-8
Sometimes we all need a reminder that death is a natural and necessary part of life. This may be difficult to hear, but the Bible reminds us of this truth in the book of Ecclesiastes. You are probably familiar with these verses that begin, “To everything there is a season.”
2. “At the Burial of an Adult” from the Book of Common Prayer
This brief prayer begins, “O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered: Accept our prayers on behalf of thy servant, (name), and grant him an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of thy saints.”
The Book of Common Prayer was written around 1553 in England.
3. “I’m Free”
This poem is written from the point of view of the deceased. It begins, “Don’t grieve for me, for now, I’m free.” This would be an especially good choice for a Christian who suffered from a long illness before dying.
4. Isaiah 41:10
This verse from the Old Testament book of Isaiah reminds the living and the dead not to be afraid. The verse begins, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.”
Catholic Prayer Card Verses
Is your loved one having a Catholic funeral? Here are some verses, funeral prayers, and poems that you may include on his or her memorial card. You may also choose to accompany them with Catholic images.
5. “Prayer for the Dead”
This prayer begins, “In your hands, O Lord, we humbly entrust our brothers and sisters. In this life, you embraced them with your tender love; deliver them now from every evil and bid them eternal rest.”
It’s common for Christians to refer to fellow believers as “brothers and sisters.” This poem does not speak about a familial relationship.
6. “Hail Mary”
“Hail Mary” is part of the Holy Rosary, which is a series of prayers offered by Catholics. The Hail Mary is a Catholic prayer asking for help from the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.
7. “Safely Home”
An unknown author wrote this poem, and the words help take the sting out of death. Instead of thinking about the deceased as being gone forever, it’s a reminder that he or she has merely returned home.
8. “Prayer for the Deceased”
This short prayer’s full text is as follows: “Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.” The phrase “rest in peace” can often be found on headstones.
Prayer Card Verses from the Torah
The Torah is the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, which are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Here are some readings from the Torah that you may use for your loved one’s memorial card. We also included some Jewish prayers as well.
9. Genesis 3:19
This verse reads, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Although many people believe the phrase “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” is found in the Bible, it is simply a prayer based on this verse.
10. Genesis 37:34-35
This verse reminds the believer that even the patriarchs of the faith experienced sorrow at the death of a loved one. You're not meant to be unaffected by loss, but you’re instructed to glorify God even though we may be suffering.
11. Mourner’s Kaddish
A kaddish is a prayer for the dead. They are used to show honor to God, but at the same time, they also express the pain you experience when losing someone you love.
12. El Maleh Rachamim
This prayer asks God to provide rest to your loved one in the next world. Part of the prayer reads, “Oh God, full of compassion, who dwells on high, grant true rest upon the wings of the divine presence.”
Prayer Card Verses from the Quran
The Quran is the holy book of Islam. Here are some verses from the Quran to include on your loved one’s memorial card.
13. Quran 3:145
This verse is a reminder that man is not in charge. Only a higher being knows when a person’s life will begin and end.
14. Quran 55:26-27
This verse is similar to the last one in that it reminds believers that every living thing dies. The only being that avoids death is God. “Everyone on Earth perishes. Only the presence of your Lord lasts. Possessor of majesty and honor.”
15. Quran 41:30
This verse says that those who proclaim God and lead a righteous life will end up in paradise.
16. Quran 39:73
This verse from the Quran states that those who show reverence to God will arrive in paradise and hear the following words: “Peace be upon you; you have won. Therefore, you abide herein forever.”
Prayer Card Verses From Other World Religions
Are you looking for verses from other religions besides Christianity, Islam, and Judaism? Here are some other verses that may assist you in your search.
17. “The spirit is neither born nor does it die...”
In this verse, Krishna reminds believers that even though the body dies, the spirit does not. This is an appropriate verse for a Hindu’s memorial card.
18. “Weapons do not cut this spirit...”
This quote is similar to the previous one. It is a reminder that the spirit cannot be destroyed. It continues, “Fire does not burn it, water does not make it wet, and the wind does not make it dry. The spirit cannot be cut, burned, wet, or dried. It is eternal, all-pervading, changeless, immovable, and primeval.” This can also be used for a follower of Krishna.
19. “Deep Peace to You”
These words were adapted from ancient Gaelic runes. They celebrate the sea, air, earth, and stars.
20. Indian Prayer
This prayer begins, “When I am dead, cry for me a little, think of me sometimes, (but not too much.) The rest of the prayer reminds the bereaved to live in peace and to let the dead lie in peace.
Non-Religious Prayer Card Verses
If your loved one did not have any particular religious affiliation or belief, you might choose to have a secular verse on the memorial card. There are plenty of poems that are appropriate for such instances. Here are some examples.
21. “When I am Dead, My Dearest” by Christina Rossetti
This poem has no mention of the afterlife. Instead, it is a request that the survivors do not sing sad songs or plant roses at the deceased’s head. Christina Rossetti was a rather prolific poet who wrote in London during the 1800s.
22. “The Life that I Have” by Leo Marks
This poem begins, “The life that I have, Is all that I have, And the life that I have, is yours.” There is no mention of any faith or hope in the afterlife in this poem.
23. “Roads Go Ever On” by J.R.R. Tolkien
Although J.R.R. Tolkien was a Christian, these words from “The Lord of the Rings” describe the long journey of life. There are no obvious religious undertones in this piece.
24. “Play Jolly Music at My Funeral” by Richard Greene
This non-rhyming poem is written through the lens of a person thinking about his future funeral. He hopes that the funeral will be full of upbeat music instead of dirges and sad-sounding hymns.
Did You Find the Perfect Verse for Your Loved One?
Memorial cards are so special that you may consider making a memorial gift using the card and additional photographs for someone who recently lost a family member or close friend.
You may notice that some memorial cards have little to do with the deceased’s faith. Other memorial card verses celebrate particular interests, hobbies, or occupations.
Whether your loved one was a quilter, a reader, or a runner, you can find inspiring poetry about each of these hobbies. There’s most likely appropriate poetry to use if the deceased worked as a farmer, police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor, or soldier.
Now, more than ever before, funerals have become personalized experiences. From music to the text on the memorial card, you have the opportunity to celebrate the likes and beliefs of the one you loved through prayer card verses.