Almighty and all-merciful God, on this Memorial Day weekend we lift up to you with admiration for their courage and with great sadness for their deaths in late youth and early adulthood the soldiers, sailors, marines and flyers who have died in our nation’s wars at home and abroad. Precious is the life of each of them now and for eternity.
Compassionate God, we hold up to you with deep empathy the parents, spouses, sweethearts and siblings of these dead whose hearts were broken and who were left desolate by their terrible loss.
We commend to your care veterans of past and current wars who are facing life with the physical and emotional wounds resulting from those traumatic experiences.
Righteous and merciful Judge of humankind, we bow before you in deep contrition for the pride and prejudice and hostility which are the fruits of sin and which are themselves the soil out of which all warfare grows. Wash us in the blood of your Son, Jesus, who died by our hands and who was raised up by you that our human race might be delivered from ways of death and destruction and established in ways of justice and peace.
God of truth and light, convert Christian dispensationalists who resist and even oppose the efforts of peacemakers, especially in the Middle East, because they believe fervently that these wars are your preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus and the culmination of human history. Convert Islamic fundamentalists who believe that they are serving your purposes in a holy war against all who do not embrace their beliefs. Convert any of us who believe, for whatever reason, that we are serving you by killing others.
We pray especially today for the survivors of all who lost their lives in the violent attacks against the people of Manchester, England and against the people and ministries of Dansalan College in the Philippines, and we pray for the exposure and defeat of all misguided souls who are perpetrators of such atrocities.
Loving God, we lift up to you daughters and sons of our nation who are in military service this day. Make them brave and resolute in the doing of their duty. Give them the courage and moral fiber needed for refusing to do anything which contradicts what they believe to be right. Keep them safe and return them to us whole in body, mind and spirit.
Hear us also as we pray for friends and loved ones who have not and do not serve in the military but who have been and are courageous soldiers in the battles of life, struggling to stand firmly for what is good and true in spite of all kinds of dangers, toils and snares. Be their strength and hope and comfort as they live out the days ahead of them.
We thank you, God, that you are the Beginning and the End and that, between begining and end, you are our strength and our refuge.
Spirit of strength, make us strong in you. Give us strength of body that we may do our work well and cheerfully and bear the burdens of others. Give us strength of mind that we may fearlessly accept your truth and faithfully hold to it. Give us strength of heart that we may love you with all our powers and love our neighbors as ourselves.
Spirit of comfort, we commend to you all who are in any kind of trouble or affliction; those who are burdened with anxiety, depression, physical or spiritual poverty, sickness of body or mind or any other adversity.
Spirit of eternal life, we remember before you all who have faithfully lived, all who have peacefully died, and especially those who have been most dear to us. Lift us into the light and love which they share with you and give us, at the last, our place with them and you.
And unto your name, with the church on earth and the church in heaven, we ascribe all honor and glory, and pray with your Son our Lord:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.