The Feast of All Saints takes place on November 1. Because this day calls Christians to remember and celebrate all members of the body of Christ throughout time, we bring an array of feelings and prayers to All Saints’ Day. Joy, comfort, and gratitude for those who light our way and accompany us in faith. Numbness and grief for those who have died and for relationships strained or severed. Fear and anxiety about our own mortality and the unknowns that lie ahead. Hope for a future life with God beyond death.
Below are some prayers that may resonate with various feelings, experiences, and needs among members of your community on All Saints’ Day. As you use or share them, please give credit to the original sources.
A Prayer for Following the Way of Holiness
“God of unfailing light,
in your realm of glory
the poor are blessed,
the hungry filled,
and every tear is wiped away.
Strengthened by this vision,
may we follow in the way of holiness
that your Son made known in life and death. Amen.”
From “All Saints Day, Year A: Prayers,” The Revised Common Lectionary Vanderbilt Divinity website (additional prayers are also available at this link)
A Prayer for God’s Transformative Blessings
“Blessed are you, O God,
for you are holy, gracious, and good,
the hope of all the faithful.
Empower the meek
and encourage the poor.
Comfort those who mourn
and fill humble hearts with gladness.
Give food to the hungry,
drink to the thirsty,
peace to the peacemakers,
mercy to the merciful,
and honor to the despised.
Sustain your saints in ministry,
until at last they see their reward:
the joy of eternal life with you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“Matthew 5:1 – 12, Year A,” in “Prayers for All Saints’ Day” by the Office of Theology and Worship, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Presbyterian Mission website (Mar. 29, 2011) (prayers for Years B & C are also available in the link)
A Prayer for Those Who Mourn
“Almighty God, Father of mercies and giver of comfort: Deal graciously, we pray, with all who mourn; that, casting all their care on you, they may know the consolation of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
From “The Burial of the Dead: Rite II,” The Book of Common Prayer (1979)
A Prayer for Remembering Those We Carry with Us
“God of the generations,
when we set our hands to labor,
thinking we work alone,
remind us that we carry
on our lips
the words of prophets,
in our veins
the blood of martyrs,
in our eyes
the mystics’ visions,
in our hands
the strength of thousands.”
“God of the generations” by Jan Richardson, in “Inspired: On the Feast of All Saints,” The Painted Prayerbook (Oct. 29, 2011); originally published in Jan Richardson, In Wisdom’s Path: Discovering the Sacred in Every Season (Orlando: Wanton Gospeller, 2012)
All Saints Blessing
“May Almighty God, to whose glory we celebrate this festival of all the saints, be now and evermore your guide and companion in the way. Amen.
“May God, who has bound us together in the company of the elect, in this age and the age to come, attend to the prayers of [God’s] faithful servants on your behalf, as [God] hears your prayers for them. Amen.
“May God, who has given us, in the lives of [God’s] saints, patterns of holy living and victorious dying, strengthen your faith and devotion, and enable you to bear witness to the truth against all adversity. Amen.
“And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you for ever. Amen.”
From The Book of Occasional Services (2018)
Featured image “Communion of Saints – Baptistry – Padua 2016” is by José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro on Wikimedia Commons and is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International; image has been cropped from original