Memorial Day Prayer Service

This service may be offered on Memorial Day itself or sometime during the holiday weekend. As persons arrive they receive a blank index card and a list of local, state and national political offices. The list may or may not include the names of persons holding that office.

You are encouraged to use many worship leaders for the various readings and prayers.

The congregation stands when singing, except during the offering. Feel free to underscore the prayers or scripture readings with instrumental music if you so desire.

For a PDF of this service, click here: Memorial Day Prayer Service 

God Bless America or America the Beautiful


At the end of the greeting, a solo trumpet begins to play Taps. A veteran or active duty member of the military in uniform processes in a lit candle and places it on the altar table. He/She then salutes the candle and exits. The congregation remains standing.

Memorial Prayer
We gather this Memorial Weekend with persons all over our nation to remember those who make great sacrifices and to pray for God’s promised peace.

Jesus we hear your words, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 NRSV)

And so, we remember those who have served in the past: those who are living, those who have died, and especially those who have died while serving. Please speak their names now.

Pause as persons respond.

Merciful God, we recognize these and thousands more who put the welfare of others ahead of their own safety. We are grateful and humbled by their actions. Bless them. Bring help and healing to all who still struggle in body and mind because of what they have experienced. Strengthen and comfort the family members as well, especially those who continue to grieve loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice. Amen

Now, let us remember those who are currently serving as active duty military or as reservists. Please speak their names.

Pause as persons respond.

Almighty God, we are grateful for those who are willing to sacrifice and to serve. Strengthen the men and women mentioned here today and all who risk their lives to protect others. Help all military personnel to serve with honor, wisdom, and compassion. Guard them from hard heartedness, despair, and evil. Strengthen and bless their families, especially when they are separated one from another. Surround them with your protection, your grace, and your peace.

Seat the congregation.

Hear these words of promise and hope from the prophet Micah. In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills. Peoples shall stream to it, and many nations shall come and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.

God of Love, it is your will for the nations to seek you and to know you.
It is your will for us live together in peace, provision and equity.
End the selfishness.
End the mistrust and misinformation.
End the violence.
Bring wholeness and hope to every system, relationship and person broken by war.
Show us where we can join you in your great work of peace.
Give us courage to act and your wisdom to know what to do.
We ask this in the strong name of Jesus
Our Savior, our Lord
The Prince of Peace
Who taught us to pray…

Conclude with the Lord’s Prayer

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 12:14-21 (NIV)
The Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus. Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, warning them not to tell who he was. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.”

Prayers for Our Country
The congregation is invited to write a prayer for our country on the index card. They then bring it forward and place it on the altar table or altar rail. Prayer at the altar rail is also recommended. 

Traditional: God of the Ages, United Methodist Hymnal #698
Contemporary: Everlasting God, CCLI #4556538

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 72:1-17 (NRSV)
In ancient times, Psalm 72 was used as a prayer for those who led God’s people. Today we pray it for our leaders.

Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son. May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice. May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness. May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor. May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations. May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth. In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more. May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. May his foes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust. May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts. May all kings fall down before him, all nations give him service. For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight. Long may he live! May gold of Sheba be given to him. May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all day long. May there be abundance of grain in the land; may it wave on the tops of the mountains; may its fruit be like Lebanon; and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field. May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun. May all nations be blessed in him; may they pronounce him happy.

Prayers for Our Leaders
The congregation is invited to take out the list of local, state, and national political offices.

Almighty God, Pour out your Holy Spirit on those who govern our land,
Leaders of our nation, our state, our community and all who are running for office.

Silent prayer for the leaders  

Make our leaders aware of all you have entrusted to their care
and surround them with godly counsel.
Open their minds with wisdom and compassion,
so that all people may be treated fairly and with dignity.
Open their ears to the cries of the desperate and powerless
so cycles of poverty, disease, and abuse may be broken.
Open their eyes to see how best to respond and
open their hearts with courage to do the right thing,
even when pressured to do otherwise.

Dawn a new day of integrity and servant leadership upon our land.
Shower down your Spirit of collaboration for the common good
that there may be lasting peace and plenty for all. Amen.

Traditional: For the Healing of the Nations, United Methodist Hymnal #428
Contemporary: Your Love Oh Lord, CCLI #1894255

SCRIPTURE: 2 Chronicles 7:14 NRSV
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Prayers of Confession 
Lord of All, we confess our dependence on you.
Thank you for extending abundance, mercy, and protection
to our nation through the years.
Every resource, freedom, and opportunity we have is a good gift from you.
Without you, we are lost.

In humility, we seek your face.
In repentance, we turn from our ungrateful, destructive and selfish ways.
In faith, we call on your power to forgive our sin and heal our land.

Time of silence for prayers of confession. Follow with words of promise and pardon.

Traditional: This is My Song, United Methodist Hymnal #437
Contemporary: Revelation Song, CCLI #4447960

SCRIPTURE: 1 Chronicles 29:11-13 (NIV)
ours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.  Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

Prayers of Thanksgiving
Let us give thanks to God,
Maker of Heaven and Earth,
For the blessings and gifts
so freely bestowed upon us

Thank you for the beauty and wonder of your creation,
in earth and sky and sea.

Thank you for men and women, boys and girls
who by their words and deeds reveal Jesus Christ,

Thank you for our daily food and drink
And for a safe, dry place to sleep

Thank you for our nation
Our neighbors,
Our families and friends,

Thank you or minds to think,
hearts to love,
hands to serve,

Thank you for health and strength to work,
for leisure to rest and play,

Thank you for freedom
And for all who work courageously and sacrificially
For truth, peace, and justice,

Above all, let us give thanks
for the great promises and mercies
given to us and all the world
in Jesus Christ our Lord

Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise and glory be to God
Father, Son and the Holy Spirit
Now and forever. Amen.

Traditional: For the Beauty of the Earth, United Methodist Hymnal #92
Contemporary: Hosanna (Praise is Rising), CCLI #4662491


Memorial Day Prayer Service © 2013 Nicole Sallee and Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.
Original prayers by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

1 thought on “Memorial Day Prayer Service

  1. Pingback: Worship Resources for National Holidays | Turning the Word

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