How to Pray When Dying
During the height of the COVID pandemic I got a text message from a patient who was dying. She was about 30 days into an isolation stay and the medical team had given up hope of being able to do anything to help.
The patient was a nurse and we texted during her hospitalization, most recently her texts were an honest reflection on dying. On this one particular day, her text was simply, How should I pray while dying?
I read it twice if not a third time because I have never ever been asked that before. How should I pray while dying? My mind immediately began to think through my knowledge of the Bible for any examples or verses that may apply.
I could only recall one instance in Scripture and it was the account of Jesus on the cross when He prayed, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost” (Luke 23:46).
So I shared this with the patient. I texted If you think you are truly on the verge of death, pray as Jesus prayed “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Find comfort by focusing on God, talk to Him about giving your life to His care.
Fortunately the patient lived and recovered, but to this day that question resounds as one we all may need to ask ourselves. In the moment of dying, we all ought to commend our spirit to the Lord. Ecclesiastes 12:7 states regarding death “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
When Jesus was dying on the cross He said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” and if we have presence of mind at the time of our death, it seems good to follow Jesus’ example of committing ourselves to God’s care.