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21 Beautifully Christ-Centered Funeral Hymns

Beautiful Christian Funeral Hymns

There are few things more powerful, encouraging, and comforting than singing a beloved and Christ-exalting hymn in the midst of a difficult time.

When a Christian dies, they have the solid hope of being together with the Lord, free from sin and pain and the troubles of the world. Yes, it is a grievously sad day, but it is not a sadness without hope. Those of us who remain, including the believer’s family and loved ones, can draw much comfort while expressing our hope and grief through a well-chosen hymn sung in faith.

Here are twenty-one beautifully Christ-centered funeral hymns for a Christian’s memorial service or funeral.

21 Beautiful Funeral Hymns

First, here is the list of the funeral hymns. Continue scrolling down to see the full text and a music video for each of these hymns, plus author, date, and a brief note on the relevance of each song for a Christian’s funeral service.

  1. Abide With Me
  2. All Must Be Well
  3. Amazing Grace
  4. Be Still My Soul
  5. From the Depths of Woe
  6. Give Me Jesus
  7. How Can I Keep From Singing?
  8. How Great Thou Art
  9. How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds
  10. I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
  11. In the Sweet By and By
  12. It Is Well With My Soul
  13. The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want
  14. O Heart Bereaved and Lonely
  15. O Love That Will Not Let Me Go
  16. The Old Rugged Cross
  17. On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I Stand
  18. My Shepherd Will Supply My Need
  19. Rock of Ages
  20. This is My Father’s World
  21. To God Be the Glory

21 Christ-Centered Hymns for a Christian Funeral Service

Abide With Me

1847 – Henry Francis Lyte

Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away.
Change and decay in all around I see.
O Lord who changes not, abide with me.

I need your presence every passing hour.
What but your grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who like yourself my guide and strength can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.

I fear no foe with you at hand to bless,
though ills have weight, and tears their bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, your victory?
I triumph still, if you abide with me.

Hold now your Word before my closing eyes.
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Abide With Me is the classic funeral hymn. A standard in the United Kingdom and also to a lesser extent across the United States, this is one of the most famous and well-known Christian hymn in the English language.

While the entire hymn is a plea for the presence of Jesus to “abide with me” in all of life’s various trials, which include death, the last stanza in particular is pertinent to the end of life. When the believer’s eyes are closing for the final time, our hope is in the Word, which points us in the way to heaven as we abide in Christ.

All Must Be Well

1847 – Mary Bowley Peters

Through the love of God our Saviour, all will be well.
Free and changeless is his favour, all, all is well.
Precious is the blood that healed us,
Perfect is the grace that sealed us,
Strong the hand stretched forth to shield us, all must be well.

Though we pass through tribulation, all will be well.
Ours is such a full salvation, all, all is well.
Happy, still in God confiding,
Fruitful, if in Christ abiding,
Holy, through the Spirit’s guiding, all must be well.

We expect a bright tomorrow, all will be well.
Faith can sing through days of sorrow, ‘All, all is well.’
On our Father’s love relying,
Jesus every need supplying,
Yes, in living or in dying, all must be well.

An incredibly comforting message of God’s love and care for his blood-bought children. Such a full salvation! “Yes, in living or in dying, all must be well.”

This little-known gem is making a comeback through the “retuned hymns” movement, and Matthew Smith’s wonderful rendition in particular.

Amazing Grace

1779 – John Newton

Amazing grace (how sweet the sound)
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come:
’tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
his word my hope secures;
he will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease:
I shall possess, within the veil,
a life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
the sun forbear to shine;
but God, who called me here below,
will be forever mine.

The most famous and beloved hymn in the English language, John Newton’s ode to the grace of God is often sung a Christian funeral services. It is highly singable, with a stepwise tune drawn from American folk music that can be somehow both mournful and joyful.

More than just the tune, the lyrics themselves run the course of a believer’s life. From lost sinner to found saint, from safe guidance through life’s trials to safe passage to eternity, this is a hymn that reviews the life of faith and looks forward to its great expectation.

Be Still My Soul

1855 – Kathrina von Schlegel

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
leave to thy God to order and provide;
in ev’ry change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
thro’ thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
to guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice, who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
and all is darkened in the veil of tears,
then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
from His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
when we shall be forever with the Lord,
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul. This is a prayer for those of us who remain behind. Remember that in this trying time, when it feels like the ocean of grief is threatening to overcome you, “the waves and wind still know His voice, who ruled them while He dwelt below.” The one whose word can command the sea is on your side!

Because of this, “when dearest friends depart, and all is darkened in the veil of tears,” Jesus himself will come to soothe your sorrows and fears. And even now the time is coming when we, too, shall be forever with the Lord, and all disappointment, grief, fear, and sorrow are forgotten, change and tears are past. Then, with our loved one in the presence of the Lord, we shall be safe and blessed at last.

From the Depths of Woe

1523 – Martin Luther

From the depths of woe I raise to Thee 
The voice of lamentation; 
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me 
And hear my supplication; 
If Thou iniquities dost mark, 
Our secret sins and misdeeds dark,
O who shall stand before Thee?

To wash away the crimson stain, 
Grace, grace alone availeth; 
Our works, alas! Are all in vain; 
In much the best life faileth; 
No man can glory in Thy sight, 
All must alike confess Thy might,
And live alone by mercy

Therefore my trust is in the Lord, 
And not in mine own merit; 
On Him my soul shall rest, His word 
Upholds my fainting spirit; 
His promised mercy is my fort, 
My comfort and my sweet support;
I wait for it with patience

What though I wait the live-long night, 
And ’til the dawn appeareth, 
My heart still trusteth in His might; 
It doubteth not nor feareth; 
Do thus, O ye of Israel’s seed, 
Ye of the Spirit born indeed;
And wait ’til God appeareth

Though great our sins and sore our woes 
His grace much more aboundeth; 
His helping love no limit knows, 
Our upmost need it soundeth. 
Our Shepherd good and true is He, 
Who will at last His Israel free
From all their sin and sorrow

The death of a loved one is perhaps the epitome of being in “the depths of woe.” This hymn, written by Martin Luther and based on Psalm 130, gives a voice to the cry of your heart: “From the depths of woe I raise to Thee the voice of lamentation; Lord, turn a gracious ear to me and hear my supplication.”

The hymn (and the Psalm) walks through the steps of a prayer of grief, leading to a hope and trust in the one who is good and true, who will at last His Israel free from all their sin and sorrow. A beautiful lament, modernized in a plaintive recording by Indelible Grace:

Give Me Jesus

Traditional Spiritual

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus

Refrain
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus

When I am alone
When I am alone
When I am alone, give me Jesus [Refrain]

When I come to die
When I come to die
When I come to die, give me Jesus [Refrain]

A simple prayer: Give me Jesus. Sometimes all we need is a few words sailing on a beautiful melody to give voice to the cries of our heart.

How Can I Keep from Singing?

1868 – Robert Lowry

My life flows on in endless song;
above earth’s lamentation,
I catch the sweet, though far-off hymn
that hails a new creation.

Refrain
No storm can shake my inmost calm
while to that Rock I’m clinging.
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
how can I keep from singing?

Through all the tumult and the strife,
I hear that music ringing.
It finds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing? [Refrain]

What though my joys and comforts die?
I know my Savior liveth.
What though the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night he giveth. [Refrain]

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
a fountain ever springing!
All things are mine since I am his!
How can I keep from singing? [Refrain]

The Christian’s life is marked by singing. I know my Savior liveth; what though the darkness gather round? Songs in the night he giveth. This hymn looks forward to the New Creation in which we will be raised again to live with Christ our Savior.

How Great Thou Art

1949 – Carl Gustav Boberg, trans. Stuart K. Hine

O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

And when I think of God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And lead me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow with humble adoration
And then proclaim, my God, how great Thou art

Sometimes the most fitting hymn for a funeral is a well-known chorus that everyone can join in on. “How Great Thou Art” fits the bill perfectly, expressing praise at the wonders – and mysteries – of our great God. He, who sent His son to die, holds our loved one in His hands and we too will someday see Him face to face.

How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds

1774 – John Newton

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the troubled breast;
‘Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary, rest.

Dear Name, the Rock on which I build,
My Shield and Hiding Place,
My never failing treasury, filled
With boundless stores of grace!

Jesus! my Shepherd, Saviour, Friend,
O Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
Accept the praise I bring.

Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I’ll praise Thee as I ought.

Till then I would Thy love proclaim
With every fleeting breath,
And may the music of Thy Name
Refresh my soul in death!

The name of Jesus is the greatest comfort of all, because it is in His name that we rest in the hope of being raised again in Him. That is not only our hope, but the hope of those who – in Christ – have gone before us.

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

1846 – Horatius Bonar

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down
Thy head upon My breast!”
I came to Jesus as I was,
So weary worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting-place,
And He has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one,
Stoop down, and drink, and live!”
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“I am this dark world’s Light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise,
And all thy day be bright!”
I looked to Jesus, and I found
In Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that Light of life I’ll walk,
Till all trav’ling days are done.

The voice of Jesus is our greatest comfort. Each stanza’s theme in this beloved funeral hymn is taken directly from Scripture, building from God’s word to our response. A beautiful minor-key traditional tune pairs perfectly with the words, and is very singable. Jesus proclaimed that He is the light of the world, and “in that Light of life I’ll walk, till trav’ling days are done.”

In the Sweet By and By

1868 – Sanford Fillmore Bennett

There’s a land that is fairer than day,
and by faith we can see it afar;
for the Father waits over the way
to prepare us a dwelling place there.

Refrain
In the sweet by and by,
we shall meet on that beautiful shore.
In the sweet by and by,
we shall meet on that beautiful shore.

We shall sing on that beautiful shore
the melodious songs of the blest;
and our spirits shall sorrow no more,
not a sigh for the blessing of rest. [Refrain]

To our bountiful Father above
we will offer our tribute of praise
for the glorious gift of his love
and the blessings that hallow our days. [Refrain]

A meditation on the sweet promise of coming to meet the Father – and those who have gone before us in Christ – when we shall sorrow no more. The traditional Americana folk sound of this classic hymn tune works perfectly as an upbeat-celebration or a peaceful and plaintive meditation.

It is Well With My Soul

1873 – Horatio Gates Spafford

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
“It is well, it is well with my soul.”

Refrain
It is well with my soul;
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control:
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And has shed his own blood for my soul. [Refrain]

My sin oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! [Refrain]

O Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend;
Even so, it is well with my soul. [Refrain]

One of the sweetest heart-cries in Christian hymnody, the claim “it is well with my soul” is not a denial of grief or tragedy, but rather a statement of faith. As such, this song is a treasure for the church and is ideal for use at a Christian’s funeral.

The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want

1650 – Francis Rous

The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want;
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.

My soul He doth restore again
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
E’en for His own name’s sake.

Yea, tho’ I walk in death’s dark vale,
Yet will I fear no ill;
For Thou art with me, and Thy rod
And staff me comfort still.

My table Thou hast furnished
In presence of my foes;
My head Thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.

Goodness and mercy, all my life,
Shall surely follow me;
And in God’s house forevermore
My dwelling place shall be.

This traditional metrical psalm is not quite as well-known today as it has been in years past, but it is still one of the most famous hymns in the English language. In simple terms the hymn walks us through Psalm 23 and allows us to pray the Scripture as a congregational song.

O Heart Bereaved and Lonely

1899 – Fanny Crosby

O heart bereaved and lonely, Whose brightest dreams have fled 
Whose hopes like summer roses, Are withered crushed and dead 
Though link by link be broken, And tears unseen may fall 
Look up amid thy sorrow, To Him who knows it all

O cling to thy Redeemer,Thy Savior, Brother, Friend 
Believe and trust His promise, To keep you till the end 
O watch and wait with patience, And question all you will 
His arms of love and mercy, Are round about thee still

Look up, the clouds are breaking, The storm will soon be o’er 
And thou shall reach the haven, Where sorrows are no more 
Look up, be not discouraged; Trust on, whate’er befall 
Remember, O remember, Thy Savior knows it all

A little-known gem from Fanny Crosby, this is a word of hope to the bereaved and a call for all to cling to Jesus. His arms of love and mercy are ’round about thee still.

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

1882 – George Matheson

O Love that will not let me go, 
I rest my weary soul in thee; 
I give thee back the life I owe, 
That in thine ocean depths its flow 
May richer, fuller be.

O Light that followest all my way, 
I yield my flickering torch to thee; 
My heart restores its borrowed ray, 
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day 
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain, 
I cannot close my heart to thee; 
I trace the rainbow through the rain, 
And feel the promise is not vain, 
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head, 
I dare not ask to fly from thee; 
I lay in dust life’s glory dead, 
And from the ground there blossoms red 
Life that shall endless be.

The words to this hymn are soaked through with a complete trust in Christ. The prayer says, O Jesus, whose name is Joy, you seek me through the pain, and I cannot close off my heart to thee. When I trace the rainbow – that great sign of the promise of salvation – through the rains of this trial, I truly and deeply feel that the promise is not vain. The morning will come, and it will be free of tears.

The Old Rugged Cross

1913 – George Bennard

On a hill far away, stood an old rugged Cross
The emblem of suff’ring and shame
And I love that old Cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain

Refrain
So I’ll cherish the old rugged Cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged Cross
And exchange it some day for a crown

Oh, that old rugged Cross so despised by the world
Has a wondrous attraction for me
For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary [Refrain]

In the old rugged Cross, stain’d with blood so divine
A wondrous beauty I see
For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above
To pardon and sanctify me [Refrain]

To the old rugged Cross, I will ever be true
Its shame and reproach gladly bear
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away
Where his glory forever I’ll share [Refrain]

A true gospel hymn giving expression to the value of the cross of Christ, which Christians cling to until we exchange it, someday, for a crown.

On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I Stand

1787 – Samuel Stennett

On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand, 
and cast a wishful eye 
to Canaan’s fair and happy land, 
where my possessions lie. 

Refrain
I am bound for the promised land, 
I am bound for the promised land; 
oh, who will come and go with me? 
I am bound for the promised land. 

O’er all those wide extended plains 
shines one eternal day; 
there God the Son forever reigns, 
and scatters night away. [Refrain]

No chilling winds or poisonous breath 
can reach that healthful shore; 
sickness and sorrow, pain and death, 
are felt and feared no more. [Refrain]

When I shall reach that happy place, 
I’ll be forever blest, 
for I shall see my Father’s face, 
and in his bosom rest. [Refrain]

“Crossing over the Jordan” is an ancient Biblical metaphor for death, crossing from life here on earth into new life in the Promised Land. This hymn text has been revitalized and re-popularized in the “retuned hymns” movement with the pairing of the 200+ year old poem with a contemporary and folksy tune. At a funeral, it is incredibly meaningful to stand together with brothers and sisters in Christ and sing, “I am bound for the Promised Land.”

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need

1719 – Isaac Watts

My Shepherd, you supply my need,
most holy is your name;
in pastures fresh you make me feed,
beside the living stream.
You bring my wand’ring spirit back.
when I forsake your ways;
you lead me, for your mercy’s sake,
in paths of truth and grace.

When through the shades of death I walk,
your presence is my stay;
one word of your supporting breath
drives all my fears away.
Your hand in sight of all my foes,
does still my table spread;
my cup with Blessings overflows,
your oil anoints my head.

Your sure provisions, gracious God,
attend me all my days;
oh, may your house be my abode,
and all my work be praise.
Here would I find a settled rest,
while others go and come;
no more a stranger, nor a guest,
but like a child at home.

A beloved setting of Psalm 23 from the father of English hymnody, Isaac Watts. This peaceful folk tune combined with the iconic imagery of the twenty-third Psalm provides a melody of peace and comfort for the believer.

Rock of Ages

1776 – Augustus Toplady

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, 
Let me hide myself in thee; 
Let the water and the blood, 
From thy wounded side which flowed, 
Be of sin the double cure; 
Save from wrath and make me pure. 

Not the labors of my hands 
Can fulfill thy law’s demands; 
Could my zeal no respite know, 
Could my tears forever flow, 
All for sin could not atone; 
Thou must save, and thou alone. 

Nothing in my hand I bring, 
Simply to the cross I cling; 
Naked, come to thee for dress; 
Helpless, look to thee for grace; 
Foul, I to the fountain fly; 
Wash me, Savior, or I die. 

While I draw this fleeting breath, 
When mine eyes shall close in death, 
When I soar to worlds unknown, 
See thee on thy judgment throne, 
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, 
Let me hide myself in thee.

Another one of the most beloved, cherished, and beautiful hymns in the English language, the perfect marriage of text and tune. The hymn is an admission of utter dependency on the work, grace, and love of Christ, who is our Rock. Sung at the funeral of a faithful Christian who has died, the final verse takes on even more power as we consider the wonder of being clothed in Christ’s righteousness.

This is My Father’s World

1901 – Maltbie D. Babcock

This is my Father’s world,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas–
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world:
The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
Declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world:
He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world:
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King: let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let earth be glad!

A familiar hymn is sometimes the best for times of grief and sorrow. This classic is a reminder that, though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet. Why should my heart be sad? Well, yes, it should; the loss of a loved one is a very sad thing. But should we be fully, finally, and always sad? The Lord is King, we can trust in Him because He reigns.

To God Be the Glory

1875 – Fanny Crosby

To God be the glory, great things he hath done;
so loved he the world that he gave us his Son,
who yielded his life an atonement for sin,
and opened the life-gate that all may go in.

Refrain
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father through Jesus the Son,
and give him the glory, great things he hath done.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
to every believer the promise of God;
the vilest offender who truly believes,
that moment from Jesus a pardon receives. [Refrain]

Great things he hath taught us, great things he hath done,
and great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
but purer, and higher and greater will be
our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see. [Refrain]

This hymn is a fitting and beloved benediction for a Christian’s funeral. Great things he hath taught us, great things he hath done, and – even in the midst of sorrow and grief – great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son. And it will be even better when we see Jesus face to face.

Some additional contemporary funeral hymns

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Christ-centered funeral hymns

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