Governor of Nations, our Strength and Shield:
we give you thanks for the devotion and courage
of all those who have offered military service for this country:
For those who have fought for freedom;
for those who laid down their lives for others;
for those who have borne suffering of mind or of body;
for those who have brought their best gifts to times of need.
On our behalf they have entered into danger,
endured separation from those they love,
labored long hours, and borne hardship in war and in peacetime.
Lift up by your mighty Presence those who are now at war;
encourage and heal those in hospitals or mending their wounds at home;
guard those in any need or trouble;
hold safely in your hands all military families;
and bring the returning troops to joyful reunion and tranquil life at home;
Give to us, your people, grateful hearts
and a united will to honor these men and women
and hold them always in our love and our prayers;
until your world is perfected in peace through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
Compiled by the Rev. Jennifer Phillips Veteran's Day Prayer
In every age, You call certain persons to defend the human family from oppression, tyranny, and evil.
Since our founding as a nation "conceived in liberty," countless American men and women have stepped forward to defend from aggressors, our country and many others, and to liberate those held captive.
Today we revere and thank all our veterans: those who rest in honored glory, those who still suffer from the wounds of war, and those who, with us, enjoy the blessing of living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
God, thank You for the selfless sacrifice of these veterans and of their families. Help us to remember them, to pray for them, and to care for them. Please bring all our departed veterans into Your Kingdom, and console their families with Your unfailing love.
Please heal our wounded veterans through the power of Your Holy Spirit, and give to all our veterans the satisfaction of having served You even as they have served us.
Thank You for Your gifts of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. May we continue to keep these rights available to all.
In God's most holy name we pray. Amen.
God of peace,
we pray for those who have served our nation
and who laid down their lives
to protect and defend our freedom.
We pray for those who have fought,
whose spirits and bodies are scarred by war,
whose nights are haunted by memories
too painful for the light of day.
We pray for those who serve us now,
especially for those in harm's way.
Shield them from danger
and bring them home.
Turn the hearts and minds
of our leaders and our enemies
to the work of justice and a harvest of peace.
Let the peace you left us,
the peace you gave us,
be the peace that sustains,
the peace that saves us.
Christ Jesus, hear us!
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer!
We ask for blessings on all those who have served their country in the armed forces. We ask for healing for the veterans who have been wounded, in body and soul, in conflicts around the globe. We pray especially for the young men and women, in the thousands, who are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan with injured bodies and traumatized spirits.
Bring solace to them, O Lord; may we pray for them when they cannot pray. We ask for, an end to wars and the dawning of a new era of peace,
As a way to honor all the veterans of past wars. Have mercy on all our veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. Bring peace to their hearts and peace to the regions they fought in. Bless all the soldiers who served in non-combative posts; May their calling to service continue in their lives in many positive ways. Give us all the creative vision to see a world which, grown weary with fighting, Moves to affirming the life of every human being and so moves beyond war. Hear our prayer, O Prince of Peace, hear our prayer.
O judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant that we may not rest until all people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept it disciplines. This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN. (BCP)
On Veteran’s Day we honor
Soldiers who protect our nation.
For their service as our warriors,
They deserve our admiration.
Some of them were drafted;
Some were volunteers;
For some it was just yesterday;
For some it’s been many years;
In the jungle or the desert,
On land or on the sea,
They did whatever was assigned
To produce a victory.
Some came back; some didn’t.
They defended us everywhere.
Some saw combat; some rode a desk;
All of them did their share.
No matter what the duty,
For low pay and little glory,
These soldiers gave up normal lives,
For duties mundane and gory.
Let every veteran be honored;
Don’t let politics get in the way.
Without them, freedom would have died;
What they did, we can’t repay.
We owe so much to them,
Who kept us safe from terror,
So when we see a uniform,
Let’s say "thank you" to every wearer.
By Joanna Fuchs
God our Stronghold and Shield: Watch over those dear to us serving in this time of war. Go before them to make their path safe, Shelter them by night and by day. Lift them up when they grow weary. Fortify their hearts when they are afraid. Defend them through the storm in the assurance of your presence and mercy, and keep them in the companionship of Jesus, through whom we pray. Amen.
Suggested Prayers from Bishop George Packard from the Book of Common Prayer
Collect for a Nation Under Attack by Chaplain Francis C. Zanger
O God, Make Speed to Save Us Prayers in Time of Crisis by Chaplain Francis C. Zanger
Prayers & Blessing at the Deployment of Military Personnel by the Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Bishop George Packard suggests the following prayers from the Book of Common Prayer that are especially appropriate in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001:
# 55, p. 831 For a Person in Trouble or Bereavement
6. For our Enemies
O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
25. For those in the Armed Services of our Country
Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
28. In Times of Conflict
O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
46. For the Care of Children
Almighty God, heavenly Father, you have blessed us with the joy and care of children: Give us calm strength and patient wisdom as we bring them up, that we may teach them to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
47. For Young Persons
God our Father, you see your children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways give more life than the ways of the world, and that following you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you, and to keep alive their joy in your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for Parents
Almighty God, giver of life and love, bless N. and N. Grant them wisdom and devotion in the ordering of their common life, that each may be to the other a strength in need, a counselor in perplexity, a comfort in sorrow, and a companion in joy. And so knit their wills together in your will and their spirits in your Spirit, that they may live together in love and peace all the days of their life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
53. For Travelers
O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go: Preserve those who travel [in particular _____________ ]; surround them with your loving care; protect them from every danger; and bring them in safety to their journey's end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
55. For a Person in Trouble or Bereavement
O merciful Father, who hast taught us in thy holy Word that thou dost not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men: Look with pity upon the sorrows of thy servant for whom our prayers are offered. Remember him, O Lord, in mercy, nourish his soul with patience, comfort him with a sense of thy goodness, lift up thy countenance upon him, and give him peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
COLLECT FOR A NATION UNDER ATTACK
by Fr. Francis C. Zanger
Almighty God, we beseech thee to look with loving-kindness on the people of our nation, as we struggle to live our lives in time of great uncertainty and fear. Grant that the goals of those who would terrorize and intimidate the people of our country may be thwarted, and that in these times of trouble all Americans, of every faith, race and ethnicity may be drawn yet more closely in bonds of shared amity, respect, and purpose, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty God, we ask that you look with loving-kindness on the people of our nation, as we struggle to live our lives in time of great uncertainty and fear. Grant that the goals of those who would terrorize and intimidate the people of our country may be thwarted, and that in these times of trouble all Americans, of every faith, race and ethnicity may be drawn yet more closely in bonds of shared amity, respect, and purpose, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O GOD, MAKE SPEED TO SAVE US...
PRAYERS IN TIME OF CRISIS
COMPILED, ADAPTED AND MODERNIZED
FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES
BY CHAPLAIN FRANCIS C. ZANGER
PRAYER IN THE FACE OF THE ENEMY
You, O Lord, are just and powerful: Defend our cause against the face of the enemy.
O God, you are a strong tower of defense to all who fly to you:
Save us from the violence of the enemy.
O Lord of hosts, fight for us, that we may glorify you.
O Lord suffer us not to sink under the weight of our sins, nor the
violence of the enemy.
O Lord, arise, help us, and deliver us for your Name's sake. Amen.(1)
PRAYER FOR THOSE IN THE ARMED FORCES OF OUR COUNTRY
Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of the armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them, and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (2)
PRAYER IN TIME OF WAR
O God, our help in ages past, our hope today and tomorrow, we approach you in deep humility at this hour of tragic crisis. Forgive us, if we have contributed to the cause of this war in which your children are engaged. Protect the children and the innocent. So fill our hearts with trust in you, that in peace and war we may commit our loved ones and ourselves to your unfailing care. Let not the powers of darkness and of terror keep us from doing our duty as free men. Help us to fight on until all strife and oppression cease and the peoples of this world are delivered from bondage and fear. Give us victory, O God, if it be your will, but above all give us the knowledge that we are fighting for values that are right and everlasting. Amen. (3)
PRAYER FOR COURAGE
Teach me, O Master, the courage with which you faced every duty and trial, the spirit with which you made every sacrifice, that heartened by your blessed example, I may never waver in duty, danger or sacrifice, but as a good soldier of the Cross be enabled to better to serve the Country that I love; in the Name of God, who lives and reigns for evermore. Amen. (4)
PRAYER FOR OUR NATIONAL LEADERS
O Lord God Almighty, guide, we pray you, all those to whom has been committed the government of this nation, and grant to them special gifts of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and strength; that upholding what is right, and following what is true, they may obey your holy will and fulfill your divine purpose, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.(5)
PRAYER FOR OUR LOVED ONES
O God, the helper and protector of all your children, the comfort and stay of the solitary, and of those who are separated from those whom they love, we ask you to grant unto them every good gift for the body and the soul, and to unite us all, present and absent, in true faith and love. Amen. (6)
PRAYER FOR ABSENT FAMILY MEMBERS
O God, whose fatherly care reaches to the uttermost parts of the earth: We humbly beseech you graciously to behold and bless those whom we love, now absent from us. Defend them from all dangers of soul and body, and grant that both they and we, drawing nearer to you, may be bound together by your love in the communion of your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (7)
PRAYER FOR A WILL TO PEACE
Almighty God, by whose grace we look for the day when nation shall not any more lift us sword against nation, nor people against people, and when mankind shall live without fear in security and peace, grant to us in this time of strife the will to labor for peace even while our sword is drawn to resist the oppressor. Let not the evil we oppose turn us from our purpose to achieve unity and concord among the nations of the earth, to your honor and glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (5)
PRAYER FOR A NATION UNDER ATTACK
Almighty God, we ask that you look with loving-kindness on the people of our nation, as we struggle to live our lives in time of great uncertainty and fear. Grant that the goals of those who would terrorize and intimidate the people of our country may be thwarted, and that in these times of trouble all Americans, of every faith, race and ethnicity may be drawn yet more closely in bonds of shared amity, respect, and purpose. Amen. (8)
PRAYER FOR STRENGTH AND PROTECTION
O God, who knows us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of our human weakness we cannot always stand upright; Grant to us such strength and protection as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (1)
Suggestions for Observing Veterans' Day (November 11) in Worship
by Dean McIntyre and Dan Benedict
Veterans' Day in 2008 falls on Tuesday, November 11. In most years and most times, Veterans' Day passes in our churches with little or no mention. Historically and traditionally, Veterans' Day has been more a civic than a sacred observance. As with New Year’s Day, Mother's Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and others, Veterans' Day is not a part of the liturgical calendar — although sometimes local congregations will observe these days in some manner in Sunday congregational worship.
World War I ended on November 11, 1918, with the signing of the Armistice by the Allies and Germany. In the first Armistice Day proclamation in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson called for the nation to remember those who had died in their country’s service and to make the day an opportunity for America to "show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nation."
In 1927 Congress called for the display of the U.S. flag on government buildings, and in 1938 Congress called for the observance of Armistice Day in churches and schools — again dedicating the day to the cause of world peace.
Since that time, observances have been held all over the nation, but especially in our national cemeteries and monuments and at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C. The president and many state governors have issued proclamations. Countless communities, veterans groups, and civic clubs and organizations have held local observances. Armistice Day became Veterans' Day by an act of Congress in 1954. President Eisenhower called on the nation to remember the sacrifices of those who fought in all our nation’s wars, to celebrate the contributions of all veterans of military service, and to rededicate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace. It is Eisenhower’s call that remains the three-fold purpose of Veterans' Day: remembering those who fought and died, celebrating all veterans, and promoting an enduring peace.
You may read a more extensive history of Veterans' Day on a Miami-Dade County Schools web site at http://www.patriotism.org/veterans_day/.
Some Suggested Guidelines for Observing Veterans' Day in United Methodist Worship
There is more interest in including Veterans' Day in worship this year. This may be due to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It may also be due to a general heightened expression of nationalism and patriotism by many people following those attacks and the increasing levels of response by our military and allies. There are a number of concerns for worship planners and leaders to consider:
If churches are going to honor and give thanks for veterans, their observances should be in a context of prayer and in the concerns and prayers. In keeping with the guidance of our Book of Worship, #422, churches should not turn the entire service into a rehearsal of our national concerns. Let us remember the traditional third element of the Veterans' Day observance: In the words of President Wilson, to "show sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nation." Let us continue to celebrate the good news of God's grace and love manifest in Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior of the world, in whom all the creation is redeemed and is to be restored for the glory of God.
Services that are held should be interfaith in nature, as far as that is possible. Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, and people of other religions have served in our armed forces. Some rural and small towns may not have faith communities other than Christian; but if there are other faith traditions within the community, the local leaders of those traditions should be involved. The memorial services broadcast from New York’s Riverside Church and Washington, D.C.’s National Cathedral following the September 11 terrorist attacks could serve as good examples. We dare not convey that the mission of the U.S. military is also the mission of the church.
Prayers in such an interfaith service of worship should be inclusive, reflecting men and women, varied races and faith traditions. There are prayers in The Book of Worship and in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church that could be used or adapted.
In keeping with the traditions of our nation since the early days of observing Armistice Day and Veterans' Day, services are best held in a civic space or in a place in the cemetery where veterans are buried.
How prominent should observance of Veterans' Day (or any other national or civic observance) be in Lord's Day worship? As a national and civic observance how does the Christian assembly keep a proper balance of attention to the worship of God and the national and civic agenda? Perhaps it would be more appropriate for the observance to remain primarily the domain of government and civic groups, with clergy and people participating in whatever capacity fits the situation.
Resources in The Book Of Worship that May Be Used or Adapted
Number 428, Prayer for Peace with Justice Sunday (may use musical response, number 195, The Book of Worship)
Number 440, A Prayer for Memorial Day
Number 495, "A Litany for the Church and for the World"
Number 511, "Prayer for God’s Reign"
Number 513, "Prayer for Justice"
Numbers 515-516, two "Prayers for the Nation"
Number 517, "A Prayer in a Time of National Crisis"
Number 520, "Prayer for Peace"
Number 526, "Prayer for the World and Its Peoples"
Number 542, "Prayer for Those In Military Service"
Resources in The United Methodist Hymnal that May Be Used or Adapted
Deuteronomy 10:12-13, 17-21: What does God require of a nation?
Psalm 2: Warning to rulers of the earth.
Psalm 72: A prayer for justice and righteousness.
Amos 5:11-15: Establish justice.
Galatians 5:13-26: The proper use of freedom.
John 8:31-36: True freedom.
A Litany from The Book of Worship for United States Forces (1974), no. 625
(One-time permission to print and use this litany in congregational worship has been granted by The Armed Forces Chaplains' Board, Washington, D.C.)
Leader: Let us give thanks to God for the land of our birth with all its chartered liberties. For all the wonder of our country’s story:
PEOPLE: WE GIVE YOU THANKS, O GOD.
Leader: For leaders in nation and state, and for those who in days past and in these present times have labored for the commonwealth:
PEOPLE: WE GIVE YOU THANKS, O GOD.
Leader: For those who in all times and places have been true and brave, and in the world’s common ways have lived upright lives and ministered to their fellows:
PEOPLE: WE GIVE YOU THANKS, O GOD.
Leader: For those who served their country in its hour of need, and especially for those who gave even their lives in that service:
PEOPLE: WE GIVE YOU THANKS, O GOD.
Leader: O almighty God and most merciful Father, as we remember these your servants, remembering with gratitude their courage and strength, we hold before you those who mourn them. Look upon your bereaved servants with your mercy. As this day brings them memories of those they have lost awhile, may it also bring your consolation and the assurance that their loved ones are alive now and forever in your living presence.