First Thessalonians beckons us to pray without ceasing. As we think of those who’ve given their lives for our country and those they’ve left behind, we sense the need for prayer more deeply.
These prayers for Memorial Day weren’t written for the holiday, but they address many needs we feel today and focus us on the God who provides every day.
Memorial Day prayers from The Book of Common Prayer
Prayer for those in the armed forces of our country
Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 1
Prayer for our country
Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 2
Prayer for peace
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and forever. Amen. 3
Prayer for a person in trouble or bereavement
O merciful Father, who hast taught us in thy holy Word that thou dost not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men: look with pity upon the sorrows of thy servant for whom our prayers are offered. Remember him, O Lord, in mercy, nourish his soul with patience, comfort him with a sense of thy goodness, lift up thy countenance upon him, and give him peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 4
Prayer for our enemies
O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 5
- The Episcopal Church. (2007). The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church (p. 823). New York: Church Publishing Incorporated.
- Ibid., 820.
- Ibid., 815.
- Ibid., 831.
- Ibid., 816.