This Memorial Day, Pray Hebrews 11 for Your Loved Ones

These prayers honor the heroism and sacrifice of the dead while deepening and sustaining the faith of the living.

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Posted in , May 26, 2022

American flags

At this time of year, as birds sing and flowers bloom, flags appear in cemeteries and mark the graves of those who have died while serving in the military. It’s a solemn and serious occasion, observed on the last Monday in May in the United States (and on Canada Day in Newfoundland and Labrador).  

Remembering the heroism and sacrifice of the dead is important for the living; it honors the past while inspiring the future. For that reason, I’ve found great blessing in praying Hebrews 11 for my loved ones. 

You may recall the eleventh chapter of the Bible’s letter to the Hebrews as “The Hall of Faith,” a rousing recitation of the men and women in Israel’s history who were comforted, sustained, strengthened and emboldened by their faith in God. It can also help us to pray for our loved ones, along the lines of the following: 

Father God, please give [NAME] the kind of faith exhibited by men and women of God like Abel, who by faith offered an acceptable sacrifice and was commended as righteous.

            Give [NAME] faith like that of Enoch, who walked with you and pleased you. Let them fully believe in you and know you as a rewarder of all who diligently seek you. 

            Grant [NAME] faith like that of Noah, who obeyed your word and built the ark, even before there was any sign of rain in the sky.

            Let [NAME] trust you like Abraham did, who obeyed you and stepped out in faith without even knowing where you were leading him; let [NAME], like him, look for a city with firm foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 

            Please let [NAME] be as sold out to you as Abraham was when he offered up Isaac. Give them the ability to believe in your promises even—especially!—when it would take a miracle. 

            Give [NAME] the faith of Jacob, who blessed the sons of Joseph and worshipped you with his last ounce of strength, and of Joseph who believed you would deliver your people even when he knew his eyes would not see it. 

            Grant [NAME] Moses’ kind of faith, who chose to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than to enjoy the short-lived pleasures of sin; let [NAME] esteem the reproach of Christ more than all the treasures of Egypt. 

            Give [NAME] the kind of faith that sent the walls of Jericho crashing down, that delivered Rahab from destruction, that empowered and sustained Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephtha, David, Samuel, and the prophets, who through faith subdued kingdoms, achieved righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched flames of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, in spite of fear were brave in battle, and though outnumbered put whole armies to flight. 

            Let faith in you make [NAME] like those godly women who received their loved ones back from the dead. Let faith in you make [NAME] like those who stood strong even when they were tortured, refusing release because they believed in the resurrection to a better life. Let faith in you make [NAME] like those who endured jeers and flogging, chains and imprisonment. Give [NAME] the unshakeable faith of those who were stoned, sawn in two, beheaded, exiled—who became destitute, afflicted, persecuted—of whom the world was not worthy. Give [NAME] a faith so strong that even though they may wander in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth, they will nonetheless believe your Word and persevere until the day when you make them perfect, together with all the saints and heroes of the faith, in Jesus’ name, amen.

--Based on Hebrews 11:1-40

Praying those stirring verses of Scripture for your loved ones may indeed move mountains, as Jesus promised (see Matthew 17:20). You might also pray them for yourself, and feel your own faith growing as you do. 

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