If someone you know loses an immediate family member, knowing what to say is a challenge. This is especially true if they lost a brother. Siblings have some of the tightest bonds of all, and saying goodbye to a loved one abruptly is never easy. We always want to offer help in these situations, even if it’s uncomfortable.
One of the best ways to offer sympathy to someone after a loss is through funeral prayers. If they’re religious, they find these words of faith to be a comfort, reminding them that their loved one is now at peace.
Even if they’re not religious, belief systems from across the globe have mastered the art of sympathy and support. By drawing upon these long-held sayings, you evoke that same sense of peace and comfort. These sympathy and grief prayers are perfect for anyone experiencing the loss of a brother.
Tip: Someone who's lost a brother might be tasked with sorting through the complex life he left behind. And that can be extremely challenging when they're already overwhelmed by grief. To lend some practical support, consider sharing our post-loss checklist.
1. “Blessed are those who mourn” from Christianity
Mathew 5:4 reads, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” This gentle reminder assures the recipient that it’s okay to mourn. It’s only by sharing their feelings of grief that they’ll receive the comfort and support they need.
2. “He heals the brokenhearted” from Christianity
Psalms is a great source for sympathy or grief prayers as well as guidance in one’s faith. Psalms 147:3 directly touches upon the pain of heartbreak.
It reads, “He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds.” If one relies on God’s love and support, he or she will always be healed. Though the pain of losing a brother might feel insurmountable, this will slowly heal.
3. “Serenity Prayer” from Christianity
One of the most well-known Christian prayers is a cry for God’s will for leadership. This prayer’s famous lines read, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” Death truly is out of our control, and it’s a natural part of life. With this understanding comes a powerful acceptance and peace.
4. “Weeping may endure” from Christianity
Psalms 30:5b encourages the sorrowful to look for a brighter tomorrow. Though “weeping may endure for the night,” it is certain that “joy comes in the morning.” While it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, with your support, this prayer’s recipient will find their happiness again.
5. “The Lord is my shepherd” from Christianity
God is the great shepherd in Christianity, and from him, all else follows. As the prayer goes, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
For Christians, knowing that their brother rests peacefully with God is a source of strength. They’ll be together again someday, with God as their shepherd.
6. “Mourner’s Kaddish” from Judaism
Judaism has special words and traditions for all of life’s moments. They also have a funeral prayer known as the “Mourner’s Kaddish” that is perfect for someone facing the loss of a brother. While this prayer is in Aramaic, it’s been translated into English.
The prayer reminder the recipient that those who believe in God will “make peace” forever. These ancient words show just how powerful religion is for those who believe.
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7. “El Malei Rachamim” from Judaism
In Judaism, “El Malei Rachamim” is the prayer of the dead. The term translates to “God full of compassion,” and this is a call for peace after death. It is believed in this faith that all souls go to paradise after death. This prayer urges God to give comfort to the dead and to usher them safely into the afterlife.
8. “What is man?” from Judaism
Another common Jewish prayer for the deceased is known as “What is man?” This is a collection of Psalms pieced together into a single, powerful message. It’s a call to action, reminding the recipient that life is short and meant to be spent being kind.
It reads, “Man is like a breath, his days are like a passing shadow.” If you believe in God, then you never truly die. You simply return to Him, and you’ll rest in peace forever.
9. “When All That’s Left Is Love” from Judaism
Rabbi Maller penned a short poem drawing upon his faith that’s commonly recounted today as a prayer for the grieving. This common death anniversary prayer is perfect when your own words don’t seem to capture the true sorrow of this time.
Written in the first person, the poet shares his perspective on death. If he was to die, it’s okay if his loved ones cry and grieve his death. The best way to honor his memory is by letting him “live in your eyes, and not on your mind.”
10. “Funeral Prayer” from Islam
Grieving is a private activity in Islam, but there is a common funeral prayer said to ease the pain felt by families after a loss. This prayer reads, “O Allah, ease upon him his matters, and make light for him whatever comes hereafter.”
Though simple, this prayer wishes safe passage on the loved one as they transition into the afterlife.
11. “Prayer of Love” from Hinduism
In Hinduism, it’s common to pray for the dead. You can also pray for the grieving with a love prayer, showing them that you honor and love them. “Without the wise,” the prayer reads, “ove cannot be born. The dross of the ego cannot be rinsed away. He who recognizes God within, understands the secret of the Word and is happy.“
12. “Celtic death blessing” from Paganism
Though Celtic paganism isn’t practiced in the same manner today, there’s still much we can learn from these wise words. Evoking on other traditions gives a much-needed perspective, and it helps us say sorry for your loss in a new way.
The best gift in a time of grief and pain is to wish someone a life well-lived. The Celtic prayer does just that: “May you have a wonderful urgency to live your life to the full. May you live compassionately and creatively and transfigure everything that is negative within you and about you.”
13. “Grief blessing” from the Apache Tribe
The Apache tribe is an indigenous tribe from the American southwest. Their many blessings were a way to call upon nature to utilize its healing powers. This grief blessing urges for the sun to “bring you everyday.”
Most importantly, it helps the recipient feel closer to their lost loved one by letting them know they “walk gentle through the world...knowing you are never parted in the beating of your heart.”
14. “Blessing” from Ireland
Finally, this blessing belongs to no religion or part of the world. It’s a string of secular worlds, demonstrating that power can be found in any words. In Ireland, there’s a popular phrase that’s said to the grieving.
It reads, “May the road rise to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sunshine warm upon your face.” Though this could have religious undertones, the message belongs to no denomination or faith.
Offer Comfort After a Loss
Losing a brother is one of the worst things someone can experience. However, this is a bond that won’t be easily separated, not even by death. Offering kind words in times of grief and sympathy show that you’re there for someone. You understand what they’re going through, and you want them to know you’re here for them.
Since it’s not always easy to put your thoughts into words, these religious prayers above fill in the blanks. No matter your beliefs, there’s no denying that these prayers carry great power. Let them soothe your loved one during this time of crisis.