Gospel music is about sharing feelings as a community in both joyful and sad times and having an ecstatic experience as a group that helps deal with the emotional ups and downs of life. Gospel is also about taking comfort in the good news that God loves us, especially in times of trial. It’s no wonder then that there are so many beautiful gospel funeral songs.
Here are 55 of the most powerful, moving, and cathartic gospel funeral songs:
1. When We All Get to Heaven — Richard Smallwood
This beautifully arranged, lush, and harmonically interesting gospel song incorporates elements of soul and R&B. The choir parts tug at your heartstrings with their counterpoint harmonies that constantly build tension. The lyrics express happy anticipations of getting to heaven.
2. I’m Free — Reverend Milton Brunson & The Thompson Community Singers
This ecstatic gospel tune expresses joy and happiness in the face of death. The lyrics talk about how dying is a kind of freedom because it involves being lifted out of the mortal world.
3. All We Ask — Donnie McClurkin
“All We Ask” is a humble plea to God, asking him to provide the single comfort of taking mortal souls home to heaven after death. This prayer provides comfort when loved ones die or when thinking about mortality.
4. Jesus Promised Me a Home Over There — Jennifer Hudson
Gospel music is about spreading Christianity’s good news, and one part of that good news is the guarantee of life after death, which comforts the living. This song expresses the certainty that there will be a home in heaven for us.
5. Take My Hand, Precious Lord — Mahalia Jackson
This song has a rich history, and it was adapted from a tune written in 1844 by composer George N. Allen called “Maitland.” Martin Luther King Jr. was known to love this song, and the most recent popular version of it was recorded by Mahalia Jackson.
6. Till We Meet Again — Kirk Franklin
Gospel music offers the comforting promise that we’ll all meet again after death in heaven, and “Till We Meet Again” is a hymn to a dying person or someone who you’re parting with forever.
7. Can the Circle Be Unbroken — Carter Family
A classic folk gospel tune, “Can The Circle Be Unbroken” is about a funeral for the singer’s mother, and it describes the funeral procession. It has been recorded by numerous artists of all genres, but it was released in 1935.
8. I Can Only Imagine — MercyMe
A touching remembrance of the singer’s late father, “I Can Only Imagine” was inspired by the singer’s father changing from an abusive person into a kind and loving figure just before his unexpected death in the singer’s late teens.
9. Stand — Donnie McClurkin
The Gospel can be about calling upon God to help us through trials, and “Stand” is about feeling as though life is impossibly hard and asking Him for the strength to see things through. It was released in 1996.
10. God Is Here — Karen Clark Sheard
Sometimes, the Gospel is about invoking the feeling that God is near and present, and “God Is Here” could be described as a song about the presence of the holy spirit. Creating a feeling of holiness is a powerful way to heal from loss.
11. Bye and Bye — The Georgia Mass Choir
Another song about the promised land that exists after death, “Bye And Bye” is a joyful, rollicking tune that captures the hope and comfort of the afterlife. It describes how all the trials and pains of life will end.
12. What a Day That Will Be — Southern Raised
Continuing the theme of a promised land, but this time more in a country-influenced gospel style with fiddle accompaniment, “What A Day That Will Be” is about how all worldly sorrows will be over after death.
13. If I Don’t Wake Up — The Williams Brothers
This smooth, soul-influenced gospel tune with its cool guitar-accompanied arrangement is about feeling prepared for death because of the promised life after death that’s a part of Christianity. Its simple refrain of “It’s gonna be alright” hammers home this feeling of security.
14. Is My Living In Vain — The Clark Sisters
The promise of gospel music lets us feel secure and happy in our trials during mortal life. This gospel tune’s refrain continually asks if all the trouble, pain, fasting, and praying in a religious life is in vain, and answers with a triumphant “No, of course not.”
15. Trouble of the World — Mahalia Jackson
The promise of an end to suffering and the ultimate meaning to all of the problems of the world runs through gospel music, and this song’s refrain, “Soon it will be done, Trouble of the world” is a prime example.
16. If You Could See Me Now — Bishop Paul S. Morton
A tune written from the perspective of someone who’s gone up to heaven, this song offers comfort in the face of loss by making us feel secure that our loved ones are happy up in heaven.
17. Walk Around Heaven — Pati LaBelle
“Walk Around Heaven” starts with a melancholy meditation on the fact that death is sure to come and that life is short. But “…won’t be very long” turns into “When I get to Heaven, I’m gonna jump and shout,” ending in the triumphant promise of eternal life with God.
18. The Battle is The Lord’s — Yolanda Adams
Jesus’ constant care and empathy for all suffering people is another theme of gospel music, and this song reminds us that Jesus is there to comfort us and feel the sorrows of loss alongside us. It also reminds us that even loss is part of God’s plan.
19. Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) — Chris Tomlin
A near universally known gospel tune, “Amazing Grace” has been covered by nearly every famous artist, from country to pop to rock and roll, and of course, gospel. It dates back to 1772 when the English poet and clergyman John Newton put lyrics to the traditional tune.
20. Swing Low (Sweet Chariot) — Etta James
Where this tune came from is unknown, but it’s another universally known gospel and African-American spiritual tune that’s been covered in every style by a host of musical artists. It epitomizes the gospel theme of redemption and transcendence after death.
21. You Raise Me Up — Southern Raised
Composed by Norwegian-Irish folk outfit Secret Garden in 2001, this song wasn’t widely known until American singer-songwriter Josh Groban released a version of it in 2003. The song is an ode to the strength to face suffering that comes from faith in God.
22. Well Done — Deitrick Haddon
Often, the next world can seem better and more beautiful than this one, and “Well Done” is all about the longing for the ease and happiness of heaven. It’s also about longing to see those we’ve lost in this life in the next world.
23. Down to the River to Pray — Alison Krauss
While this song isn’t explicitly about death or loss, it invokes a spirit of holiness and closeness to God with its lyrics that call upon everyone from sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, and even sinners to partake in His blessings. It’s been covered and performed by different artists, but Alison Krauss’s version is particularly powerful and popular.
24. Cry Out to Jesus — Third Day
A redemptive gospel tune that’s dedicated to those who have lost someone too early, this song comforts sufferers with the promise of Jesus’s love. It reminds the listener that Jesus is a constant presence.
25. More Than I Can Bear — Kirk Franklin & God’s Property
This gospel song is a reminder that as hard as life gets and as many trials as you face, you’ll still have the strength to carry on because God won’t put more on you than you can bear.
26. All I Need — Danny Chambers
“All I Need” is about the feeling of total freedom, completeness, and ease that God can provide. It’s a great song for the weary of heart or those experiencing loss because it reminds them of the ease that He gives.
27. I Want to See Jesus — Margaret Allison & The Angelic Gospel Singers
Sometimes, a simple reminder of Jesus’s love is enough to lift up a weary heart, and that’s what this song gives to mourners. “I Want To See Jesus” invokes the presence of God in a prayer setting.
28. I Trust You — James Fortune & Fiya
Doubt is something that most people, even the religious, experience at times, and it can grow in times of loss when life seems incomprehensible and unjust. “I Trust You” is about trusting in God despite the pain.
29. You Waited — Travis Greene
Even if your faith doesn’t remain strong throughout life, God will always remain open to you, allowing you to rediscover faith later in life. “You Waited” is about this fact, and mourning can be a time for many to rediscover Him.
30. Marvelous — Walter Hawkins
Faith can transform people’s lives, and “Marvelous” is an expression of joy that comes from the blessings that God gives to people. Those mourning a loss can take comfort in the marvels of His love.
31. Yes God is Real — Bishop G.E. Patterson
Loss and mourning can cause cracks of doubt to form in even strong faith, and “Yes God is Real” is a powerful song meant to reaffirm faith at all times of life.
32. Step Aside — Yolanda Adams
Letting go and trusting God is one of the most powerful aspects of faith, and “Step Aside” invites the listener to do exactly this. It reminds us that everything is part of His plan, and all we have to do is trust and obey.
33. I Need You Now — Smokie Norful
In moments of intense trial, pain, suffering, and loss, it’s common to feel an intense longing for someone who understands your pain. “I Need You Now” is about reaching out to God for understanding during such times.
34. With Hope — Steven Curtis Chapman
A song that’s explicitly about loss, “With Hope” expresses the pain of losing a loved one mixed with the hope of seeing them again in the afterlife.
35. Be Not Afraid — Daniel O’Donnell
An old gospel tune brought back to life and vitality by Irish singer Daniel O’Donnell, “Be Not Afraid” is about the security and comfort that faith brings when facing the trials of life. It says that those who suffer in life and face trials are blessed because their troubles will end in glory.
36. Save a Place for Me — Matthew West
A more down-home, folksy, and country-influenced gospel song, “Save A Place For Me” is addressed to a lost loved one. It’s meant to comfort them with the assurance that the singer will be where they are one day, and the lyrics ask the person who has passed away to wait patiently and happily.
37. Dancing With the Angels — Monk & Neagle
When we experience loss, it makes our minds flood with memories of the person who has passed away. This song takes that melancholy perspective but also assures the person who has passed away that they’ll be content and happy in heaven and remembered by their serving family and friends.
38. (There’ll Be) Peace in the Valley (For Me) — Elvis Presley
This gospel tune was composed in 1939 by Thomas A. Dorsey for singer Mahalia Jackson to perform. It’s been covered by many groups of both gospel and country musicians, but the most famous version of the song was performed in 1957 by Elvis Presley at his final live show, which was dedicated to foreign aid.
39. Comforter — CeCe Winans
Faith in God can transform one’s life for the better in many ways, and this song by CeCe Winans is an outpouring of gratitude for His help in all aspects of life. The lyrics call God a “friend,” a “father,” and “physician when sickness lingered near,” all of which can help us cope with loss.
40. The Old Rugged Cross — Alan Jackson
A stalwart, lonely and derelict cross is the central image of this country-gospel song. The singer talks about how his faith will remain strong despite the roughness of the cross and the trials of life, and how he’ll never give up his faith even until death.
41. His Eye Is on the Sparrow — Whitney Houston
An old gospel standby, “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” has been performed by tons of musicians in many styles—even hip-hop artist Lauryn Hill—but Whitney Houston’s version is one of the most successful. Mahalia Jackson’s version is also notable and won a Grammy in 2010. The song was composed back in 1905 by lyricists Civilla D. Martin and Charles H. Gabriel.
42. It Is Not Death to Die — Sovereign Grace
A reassurance that death isn’t the end of life for the faithful, this gospel song offers comfort to those who are encountering mortality, whether on their own or that of a loved one.
43. Three Wooden Crosses — Randy Travis
A story-based song with a definite country style, this song’s gospel spirit comes through in its message. It tells of a bus crash and the graves left behind to commemorate those who died in it and shows the importance of faith for being remembered after death.
44. Heaven’s Now My Home — Libby L. Allen
We all wish that our loved ones could console us and express their love after they pass away, and this song makes that wish come true. It’s sung from the point of view of someone who has gone up to heaven and tells what they’ve seen.
45. I Will Rise — Chris Tomlin
This song expresses readiness and acceptance in the face of death with the knowledge that we’ll all see Jesus in the afterlife.
46. Lead Me Gently Home — Johnny Cash
This tune was composed in 1879 by gospel songwriter Will L. Thompson, and Johnny Cash injected new life into it with his soul-consoling version of the song in 1953.
47. Make Me a Channel of Your Peace — Susan Boyle
This hymn was adapted into song form from the Prayer of St. Francis and Susan Boyle performs a fantastic version of it. It tells of the pacifying power of God.
48. Homesick — MercyMe
We’ve all heard the phrase “he’s/she’s in a better place” when talking about loved ones who have passed away, but this song explores the grief of having to wait to see our loved ones.
49. On Eagle’s Wings — Michael Joncas
This song invokes God’s protection in times of suffering and struggle, like the loss of a loved one.
50. Messiah / You’re Beautiful — Phil Wickham
A love song to God that talks about Him making the world beautiful, this song embraces mortality with acceptance and grace because it represents being reunited with God.
51. Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace) — Hillsong Worship
An alternative version of the gospel standard “Amazing Grace,” “Broken Vessels” takes the same lyrics and adds new music.
52. Soon and Very Soon — Andraé Crouch And Jessy Dixon
This tune is made up of one very simple and powerful statement: we’re all going to see God soon in the afterlife, and there’s no need for worry.
53. Don’t Cry — Kirk Franklin
Another song with a simple and powerful message: there’s no need for tears or grief because God loves us.
54. Oh Happy Day — The Edwin Hawkins Singers
When death is nothing to be afraid of because of the promise of God, being reunited with Him can be an occasion for joy—a happy day.
55. Take Me to the King — Tamela Mann Featuring Kirk Franklin
A melancholy yet comforting song that calls upon God to take the singer up to heaven and out of life’s pain.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
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