Pause for Prayer: MEMORIAL DAY 2023

Pause for Prayer: MEMORIAL DAY 2023


I wrote this prayer in 2008 in preparation for the Town of Concord’s Memorial Day Parade and Exercises. As you’ll see, I wrote it to be as inclusive as possible for all who might be in attendance.
A Prayer for Memorial Day

In the quiet sanctuaries of our own hearts,

let each of us name and call on the One 
whose power over us is great and gentle, 
firm and forgiving, 
holy and healing…

    You who created us,
    who sustain us,
    who call us to live in peace,
        hear our prayer today…

    Hear our prayer for all who have died,

    whose hearts and hopes were known
        to you alone…

    Hear our prayer

    for those who put the welfare of others 
    ahead of their own

        and give us hearts as generous as theirs…

    Hear our prayer 
    for those who gave their lives 
    in the service of others

        and accept the gift of their sacrifice…

    Help us to shape and make a world
    where we will lay down the arms of war
    and turn our swords into ploughshares 
        for a harvest of justice and the victory of peace…

    Comfort those who grieve the loss of their loved ones
        and let your healing be the hope in their hearts…

    Hear our prayer today
    and in your mercy answer us
        in the name of all that’s holy…


The hymn, O Valiant Hearts, was written to commemorate those who died in the first World War. Its language may be a bit dated but its message is of the moment. Too often, music for Memorial Day celebrates national pride – even though the day’s purpose is to remember and pray for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  The version I’ve chosen is a contemporary arrangement by Sam Robson who also supplies all 8 voices in the video! 
O Valiant Hearts by Sam Robson
O valiant hearts who to your glory came 
through dust of conflict and through battle flame; 
tranquil you lie, your knightly virtue proved, 
your memory hallowed in the land you loved. 
Splendid you passed, the great surrender made; 
into the light that nevermore shall fade; 
deep your contentment in that blest abode, 
who wait the last clear trumpet-call of God. 
Long years ago, as earth lay dark and still, 
rose a loud cry upon a lonely hill, 
while in the frailty of our human clay, 
Christ, our Redeemer, passed the self-same way. 
Still stands his Cross from that dread hour to this, 
like some bright star above the dark abyss; 
still, through the veil, the Victor’s pitying eyes 
they who have drunk his cup of sacrifice. 
O risen Lord, O Shepherd of our dead, 
whose cross has bought them and whose staff has led, 
in glorious hope their proud and sorrowing land 
commits her children to thy gracious hand.