10+ Hymns for Funerals

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It’s traditional to sing hymns at Christian funerals, but if a particular hymn holds special meaning for you or your loved one, there’s no reason why it can’t be a part of any type of non-religious funeral service.

Hymns often offer comfort, bring people together, and unite them in grief and hope. The hymns might also have deeper meanings for the person who passed away or the loved ones who are planning the funeral.

Funeral hymns can be a key part of setting the tone for the ceremony. Some are very sombre, while others are more celebratory of life and relationships with God.

In this guide, we’ll help you find the right music to make your funeral arrangements more personal. We’ve included both popular funeral hymns and traditional choices, as well as a more modern selection of hymns, too.

Abide With Me

‘Abide With Me’ is a very popular Victorian hymn that was written by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte in 1847. It’s a prayer to God, asking him for comfort in dark times. It is traditionally sung on Anzac Day and is popular across different denominations.

You’ll often hear it at military services around the world, at sporting events, and at state funerals. Since 1927, the first and last verses of the hymn have been sung at the FA Cup Final before kick-off. It has also been sung prior to the kick-off at every Rugby League Challenge Cup Final since 1929.

Lord of All Hopefulness

‘Lord of all Hopefulness’ is a 1930s hymn written by Jan Struther. It is set to the tune of an Irish folk song called Slane. Traditionally, you can hear it at liturgy, weddings, and at the beginning of funeral services.

It’s a popular choice for a funeral, but also a wedding or baptism because it asks for God’s presence with us at all times.

The King of Love My Shepherd Is

‘The King of Love my Shepherd Is’ ties in closely with another popular funeral hymn, ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’. They both derive from different versions of Psalm 23. This hymn is based on the Welsh version and set to music written by John Bacchus Dykes.

Lead, Kindly Light

‘Lead, Kindly Light’ is a very traditional and poignant funeral hymn. It has been sung at important moments throughout history. It was sung on the RMS Titanic before it collided with an iceberg, and the morning after while the lifeboats and survivors waited to be rescued. It was also sung by soldiers during World War I before entering the trenches.

This funeral hymn was written by John Henry Newman and is usually set to music by John Bacchus Dykes called Lux Benigna.

Be Not Afraid

The words for this hymn were written by Bob Dufford and it’s one of the most popular modern religious songs from the folk revival. It talks about finding strength and comfort in God through times of difficulty and despair.

‘Be Not Afraid’ is joyful and uplifting and the words encourage the person not to be afraid because they are walking with God.

Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind

This funeral hymn is based on a poem called ‘The Brewing of Soma’ by an American Quaker poet, named John Greenleaf Whittier. The poem tells of priests brewing and drinking Soma (a sacred ritual drink), in an attempt to experience divinity.

There are several different tunes it can be sung to, but the most common was composed by Hubert Parry.

It’s a beautiful hymn for a funeral because it suggests that we pursue peace and selflessness in order to hear the ‘still, small voice of calm’ or the voice of God.

Amazing Grace by John Newton

The text for this hymn was written in 1779 by the English poet and cleric, John Newton. He was a former slave trader who found faith after a violent storm. ‘Amazing Grace’ tells of forgiveness and redemption, through the mercy of God.

It’s a suitable hymn for a funeral as the words focus on God’s grace and knowing that He is with us at all times. The words also focus on finding peace in death, knowing that God is with us.

All Things Bright and Beautiful

‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ is one of the most well known Christian hymns. It’s a Victorian one that gives thanks for everything God has created.

It is also an Anglican hymn that is often sung and celebrated by many different Christian churches. Rather than focusing on mourning, it is about celebration and has remained a popular funeral song for many years.

The Day Thou Gavest Lord is Ended

‘The Day Thou Gavest’ is a hymn that focuses on the worldwide fellowship of the church. It uses the metaphor of day and night, reflecting the passage of time.

It was selected to be sung as part of the celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. It is also the official evening hymn of the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy.

Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer

This hymn was written in 1745 by William Williams. He uses imagery from the book of Exodus to conjure up a theme of God’s guidance through struggle. The tune ‘Cwm Rhondda’ was written by John Huges in 1905. It is most effective in its use of repeated words for greater emphasis of the text.

‘Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemers’ is used regularly at funerals because it brings comfort with its wonderful reminder of a God who provides for those in need and who brings us safely to heaven at the end of our lives.

I Watch the Sunrise

This is a folk-style hymn that was written in 1970 by the Roman Catholic priest and poet, John Glynn. It is set to an unnamed tune by Glynn’s friend Colin Murphy. It has been recorded by various artists and works well for a funeral because it speaks of reflection, peace, and faith.


‘Jerusalem’ is a hymn that’s based on William Blake’s famous poem about Jesus travelling to England. It’s a favourite hymn for many different occasions. It was sung at Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton, as the opening hymn for London Olympics 2012, and as the anthem of the England cricket team. It is also known especially from the Last Night of the Proms.

‘Jerusalem’ is very popular in the UK and seen by many as an alternative and unofficial national anthem for England. It was written to lift the spirits of people during the first World War. Its inspiring lyrics and happy melody make it a popular hymn for a funeral.

Organising a funeral can be a very overwhelming and stressful thing to do when emotions are high. People choose to include hymns for nostalgic reasons, or to simply enjoy the choice of music.

You can choose to sing or play hymns at a funeral whether you’re religious or not. In addition, you might also want to include some of the best funeral songs for the occasion.