Memorial Day Prayers
Which can also be used as
Veterans Prayers for Memorial Day
There are many nice Memorial Day prayers, to ask God's blessings on our dearly departed loved ones in the military, as well as our families, friends, and our whole country.
I'll discuss 3 special prayers in general use, that are truly appropriate for the day.
- The Our Father
- Psalm 23
- The Peace Prayer
1. Prayer for Memorial Day - The Our Father
The Our Father is also called the Lord's Prayer, because Jesus himself prayed this way, and taught it to his followers. (Matthew 6:9-13)
There's a shortened version of the Our Father in Luke 11:2-4. And we find the teachings of the Our Father in other parts of Jesus' teaching, such as in Mark 11:25-26.
Some call the Our Father the best prayer, or the perfect prayer.
Others say that Jesus praying and dying on the cross is the best and perfect prayer.
And both are right. For by his 7 last words
on the cross, we know that Jesus was living and praying the same sentiments as in the Our Father.
For example, in the Agony in the Garden the night before his passion and death, Jesus asked his Father at least 3 times that the bitter chalice be taken away, but that God's will be done, not his. (Matthew 26:39-44; Mark 14:36-41; Luke 22:42)
And from the cross he addresses his heavenly Father in the first and last words, and asks his father to forgive his enemies.
The Our Father - A Fitting Memorial Day Prayer
The Our Father is an appropriate prayer for remembering our dearly departed loved ones.
Not only because it can usually be prayed together in common, since so many know it by heart.
But more importantly, it gives encouragement and inspiration in the very difficult circumstance of remembering the loss of our dear loved ones - especially those who gave their lives for God and country, for our liberty.
We pray for the Kingdom of God to come on earth as it is in heaven. May God bless all those who make efforts to fight for justice in this world - even though our efforts don't always succeed.
And we pray God's will be done. Death can be so final, so hard to accept. Yet God knows best, and can draw much good even out of the greatest evils.
Memorial Day Prayer - A Story of the Our Father
When I was a pastor, late one rainy Saturday night, I heard a terrible screech and thud on the highway behind our little church. Soon there were lots of sirens. Many policeman and an ambulance came.
I went out to see if I could help - or at least say a prayer.
A body of a teenager boy was on the island. He had been struck by a car as he was crossing the highway at the light.
The policemen let me come close, and they gathered around in a circle. I started the Our Father, and it was touching to hear the policemen join in. The other policemen stood in respectful silence.
It was a sad moment, as a young man had been called into eternity.
But it was a special moment, to realize in such a difficult time, we can call on God for the help only he can give.
2. Another Memorial Day Prayer from the Bible - Psalm 23
Psalm 23, found in the bible, is an appropriate prayer to slowly and thoughtfully read and pray . It is often recited at funerals and put on funeral remembrance cards.
It is appropriate for special times of grief and mourning, and on days of remembrance such as anniversaries of death, and on the Memorial Day holiday.
I imagine David prayed it often, maybe even every day, and at night too. It's a good prayer to memorize.
David had to fight many wars. Many times he was surrounded by enemies. Sometimes, he lost many good and brave men, and even his close friends, like Jonathan, in battle. Nevertheless, he trusted in the Lord to provide the courage, the strength, and the consolation he needed.
The Lord is our shepherd. He still leads us, feeds us and waters us, especially when our problems are too big for us to handle - even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
If God is with us, we will fear no evil. God is the one who gives our soldiers courage in the face of great evils, such as our soldiers being cruelly tortured and beaten as prisoners of war in concentration camps.
3. Another Special Memorial Day Prayer
Another fitting prayer is the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi. You can find the full text of this prayer here
Francis of Assisi is known as the gentle saint, and is often pictured with animals.
He didn't start out that way. He was a rich party-going spoiled teenager at first.
After fighting in a war between some Italian cities, and spending some time as a prisoner of war, he eventually became tired of the empty promises of fame, riches and glory of this world.
Memorial Day Prayer - What Changed Francis
Francis searched and prayed. He became an imitator of Christ, and helped bring God's peace into the hearts and minds of men, by living and preaching the Gospel of Jesus. Funny thing is, now he is more famous than he would ever have been as a rich and powerful person in the world!
He lived 800 years ago, dying in 1226.
But this special prayer of his lives on. It is an appropriate prayer for Memorial Day, for our departed military, who fight to bring about peace. If there was true peace on earth, there would be no injustice, there would be no need for wars.
Besides peace, this prayer mentions faith, hope, and love in a very beautiful and real way.
Memorial Day Prayers - An Instrument of Peace
The Peace Prayer of St Francis has been put to many settings of music. In my earlier years, especially in college, I sang it to 2 or 3 different tunes in 2, 3, and 4 part choirs.
It is a prayer asking that the Lord make us his instrument of peace, bringing love where there is hatred, bringing hope to those in despair, bringing joy to those in sorrow.
Asking God also to not so much seek consolation and understanding and love, as to give these things unselfishly to others.
In heaven we shall see the power of true prayer, coming from a good and generous heart.
The last line is especially meaningful for our dear fallen soldiers. This is how the prayer ends:
- For, it is in giving that we receive.
- It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned.
- It is in dying, that we are brought to eternal life. Amen.
Thank your stars !!!
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