Many Americans include Memorial Day prayers in services they hold to express gratitude and show respect for those who served in the armed forces. The eight prayer examples offered here can help anyone put together a moving memorial service to honor fallen heroes.
A Collection of Memorial Day Prayers
Prayers for Memorial Day services may consist of time-honored scriptures accompanied by spontaneous words. Recite one of these prayer examples as written or alter it as needed to make it work for you.
A Memorial Day Invocation Prayer
An invocation is the opening prayer of a memorial service that typically comes after the celebrants have been introduced. It marks the true start of the ceremony.
Welcome everyone. Please bow your heads and join us in prayer.
On this Memorial Day, we come before the Creator of mankind to remember those who bravely served our great country and, as a result of their service, were called home by our Lord.
Father, we ask for Your blessing upon the souls of those good men and women who gave their last breath in defense of our nation, our freedom, and our children's future. We also ask You to bless everyone gathered here today, and grant us the strength to rise to the challenges of our time and meet them in full faith that You will always be with us.
May we glorify You in all that we do, Lord, today and every day. Amen.
A Prayer in Remembrance of the Fallen
Bible readings are often a part of memorial services. Psalm 27 includes verses that are perfect to use as the beginning of your prayer, as shown in this example.
Please rise if you're able and bow your heads in prayer.
Psalm 27:3-4 says, "Though an army besieges me, my heart will not fear; though war breaks out against me, even then I will be confident. One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple."
Today we bow our heads and our hearts to You, Lord, that we may remember those who paid the ultimate price by giving their lives for their country. We can never be grateful enough for the sacrifices they made, and we are humbled by their willingness to put their own lives aside for the benefit of ours. Father, carve their sacrifices into our hearts so we may never forget the loss of these heroes.
We pray for this in the Holy name of Your son Jesus. Amen.
A Prayer of Thanks for God's Blessings
This prayer focuses on the particular blessings that have made the nation so remarkable. It fits in well at the mid-point of the service.
Let us pray.
Father, You have blessed our country with great bounty.
For this, we are thankful.
Lord, You have always imbued Your chosen ones with bravery and a willingness to serve.
For this, we thank You.
Father, You have blessed this nation with an indomitable spirit and determination to remain free.
For this, we are thankful.
Lord, we pray You'll help us always be grateful for the sacrifices that have been made to keep the U.S.A. the land of the free. May it always remain so. Amen.
A Prayer for the Pursuit of Peace
This prayer takes a peaceful and reverent approach. It begins with a request for those gathered to pray.
Let us pray.
Father, today we pause to reflect on the sacrifice made by those who paid the ultimate price on behalf of our nation. We pray that their sacrifices are never forgotten, nor is the pain of their families.
We acknowledge that freedom comes at a cost and pray that we can pursue peace. We hope that, someday, we'll celebrate Memorial Day as just a memory of the time before we started living the peaceful existence You intended for us since the beginning of creation.
Let us turn to You, Lord, in our grief and in our remembrance of the fallen. Guide us toward a harmonious existence as we honor those who were willing to give up their lives that we may gather here today freely.
On this Memorial Day, we pray for peace and for those who gave all. Lead us toward a world where no one must give their lives in pursuit of freedom. May we be receptive to Your guidance, and may we never forget the fallen. Amen.
Memorial Day Prayer for the Military
Honoring past men and women of the military is the first focus of this prayer, but present and future members of the armed forces are also included.
We thank You for bringing us together at this Memorial Day celebration to acknowledge the debt we owe to the men and women of the United States military who have guarded this country with their lives. We especially honor those who lost their lives while defending this nation. They fought on land, at sea, and in the air, always understanding that they may not come back from the mission and accepting that as part of the job. They were willing to risk death to protect this land we hold so dear and the American people along with it. We thank them for their sacrifice and promise we'll carry on their legacy to ensure they did not die in vain.
Father, we pray that You strengthen and protect all our military personnel who are serving presently and in the future. Give them the courage to face whatever comes, protect them in battle, and help them prosper in times of peace. Watch over their families, Lord, as You watch over us all. We put our trust and faith in You and even though we don't always understand Your ways, we accept that You have a plan for each and every one of us. Please help us fulfill our personal missions, whatever they may be. Amen.
A Closing Prayer
Just as there is an opening prayer, the Invocation, there is also a closing prayer, often referred to as a Benediction. It marks the official end of the service before sending the attendees on their way, as shown in this example.
Please rise, if you're able, for our closing prayer.
We thank You for having brought us together to pay tribute to those who lost their lives defending our nation. May their souls live on in Your gracious presence, and may they experience the full measure of Your love and mercy. We also ask that You guide us and make us worthy of the sacrifices from which we have benefited. We pray we never forget how blessed we truly are as a nation, as a people, and as Your children.
Let us go in peace. Amen.
Memorial Day Prayer Poems
Poems, such as In Flanders Fields by John McCrae, also have their place in a Memorial Day service and can be included with prayers or recited on their own. The following original examples show how poetry can touch hearts on this solemn occasion.
A Memorial Day Prayer
By Tamsen Butler
There's no comfort in battle,
No joy in the field.
Though exhausted and rattled,
Did they know their fate was sealed?
Did they know the end would come?
Were they scared or were they strong?
Were they willing to do it all for freedom?
Did they mutter, "No, this is wrong"?
No, they grasped the flag;
They ran forth with no fear.
Their bravery did not lag;
They held their faith near.
The Lord gave them strength
And held them close in His arms.
They were willing to go the length
To rage forth despite alarms.
Did they know it was the end?
Did they know their battle was lost?
They knew what they were willing to spend
And what would be the cost.
Thank You, Lord, for hearts that are brave,
For sacrificial love and those who serve.
We appreciate everything they gave
And their unshakeable nerve.
Pay Tribute With Prayers for Memorial Day
Prayers do not have to consist of eloquent verse or prose. Even silent thoughts, moments of reflection, and well wishes are meaningful ways to pay tribute and honor the military on Memorial Day. Spend some time meditating on the courage and self-sacrifice for which you are grateful and use one of these original prayers if it truly suits your intentions.