Praying on Memorial Day (USA) — Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson, USA

This prayer might be used on Remembrance Day (UK), ANZAC Day (Australia) and days in other nations set aside to remember victims of conflict and war.

Praying for Our World

As we pray this morning, I will invite you to name those in your life or beloved by you who have served in the military as well as those who work to bring an end to war. I will say, “Be with us now as we lift up their names” and you are invited to speak those names aloud or silently.

Join me in prayer.

God, whose way is peace, on this Memorial Day weekend, we pray for our world in which military might and war are part of the fabric in which we live. We lift up all among us and beloved by us who have served in the military in some way, shape or form. For soldiers, national guards and pilots, medics and chaplains, engineers, interpreters and so many others. Be with us now as we lift up their names:

[PAUSE as people lift up names]

We know that there is a cost to such service. We pray for those who have been or are currently deployed — far from their families and all that is familiar. Serving in places of war and conflict: where they may fear for their lives, where they may witness atrocities, or where they may participate in war and all it entails. We hold each of them in love and care, praying for their physical, emotional and spiritual safety. Be with us now as we lift up their names:

[PAUSE as people lift up names]

We pray for those who return home changed: by all they have seen, experienced or done. We lift up veterans — those who have been able to successfully reintegrate into civilian life, those who have returned home with wounded bodies or spirits, those who suffer with post traumatic stress disorder and moral injury, and those who struggle to secure stable work or housing. Be with us now as we lift up the names of veterans:

[PAUSE as people lift up names]

We pray this morning for leaders who send young people to war and areas of conflict: may their judgments be sound and their motives pure.

We pray for soldiers who lay down their lives for others. For soldiers who have been maimed or brutalized by war, for the healing of wounds that we can see and touch and the healing of invisible wounds.

We pray for those who have been left behind, that they may live on in the strength of the love that they knew and the community that continues to hold them.

We pray for civilians who suffer from war: the homeless, orphaned, impoverished, hungry and innocent. May their witness help us turn from warlike ways to pursue the potential of peace.

God of peace, help us never forget that war is hell. Help us honour its saints and pray for its sinners and victims. Help us heed your call to create a world in which war is not needed, a world in which soldiers will lay down their swords and shields, in which we will turn swords, guns, and war-craft into tools for planting, tilling, and building, even into art. We pray for all the peacemakers in our world — those here among us, those beloved by us and those known to us only by their work for peace. Be with us now as we lift up their names:

[PAUSE as people lift up names]

We pray all of this in the name of the Prince of Peace, who came that wars might cease.