Since a few folks have asked for a copy, here’s the prayer I offered at Mike Rench’s memorial service this last Friday:
Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling over death by death. O Death, where is your sting! O Hell, where is your victory! But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
Our Gracious God and Father, Creator of the Universe, sustainer of all things, Lord and Giver of all life: you are all good. You are all gracious. You are all wonderful.
We are gathered here this day to worship you, to bless your name, to lift high the cross of Jesus over the grave of our dear brother Michael Eugene Rench. We do not lift a cross as some kind of sentimental ritual, some sort of traditional way of marking the dead. No, we lift the cross over our brother in triumph. We lift the cross up as the sign of our victory in our Lord Jesus. We lift up the cross as a sign to the world that death has not won, and we trample death beneath our feet.
And so Father, we call out to you, in the name of the One who overcame death, in the name of the One who went down into death and has disarmed it. We call out to you in the name of Jesus, the Lord of Life and the Lord of the Grave, in the Name of Him who holds the keys of death and hades in his hand.
Our Father, the Lord Jesus taught us that unless a seed goes down into the ground and dies, it cannot bear fruit. And so we look to you now the Lord of the Harvest, the Great Gardner, and we plead with you for fruit. And as we do this, we recognize the fact that we have already been inundated with the fruitfulness of a godly man, an honorable son, a faithful husband, and a loving father. And so we praise and thank you for the life of Mike Rench. We have been blessed to see some of Jesus in Him by your grace, fruitfulness in abundance, a life well lived, a life teeming with the fruit of your Spirit, touching and blessing many different people in many places. Father, we know the blessings that piled up around Mike were no accidents. They were not random. There were not lucky breaks. They were your grace, your goodness, your love, stacked up, poured out, and overflowing. And so we praise you and we thank you for your goodness to him in giving him life, for saving him and forgiving him, and for filling him with your Holy Spirit. Thank you for the great privilege it has been to know him; thank you for his friendship, his hard work, his good sense of humor, and his love of you.
But we are bold to ask for more. We ask You for more fruit, for more abundance, for more life because You love to give it. We ask for this fruit particularly in his entire extended family, and for his wife and sons and daughters and their families in particular – that they would be exceedingly blessed in the days and months and years to come, that you would glorify your name by crowning them with even more glory and honor than You have given them to this point. We pray that this glory would include a peace that passes all understanding, that it would be an armor upon them, keeping their hearts and minds safe from every doubt and every fear. Provide for them far beyond what they can think or imagine. We ask that Mike’s ten grand children and the two on the way would grow up to be mighty men and women who are lords and ladies in your kingdom, who love Jesus fiercely, and pull down strongholds of the devil and make their Papa proud.
Father, we have planted Mike in this place called Moscow, Idaho, and so we pray specifically for fruit here in this ground, in this dirt, that where our brother lies hundreds of new plants would spring up, that Mike’s joy in knowing Jesus would multiply and spread and bless this place even more in his death than in his life. We pray that Mike’s victory in death would be used by you to conquer the hard hearts and seared consciences of many who think they can hide from you. We pray that You would get the victory over them, by proving your power and might in and through the death of a godly man. We pray for confession of sin; we pray for reconciliation of broken relationships; we pray for renewal of zeal; we pray for boldness in confronting evil; we pray for comfort in sorrow; we pray for healing in sickness; we pray for strength in weakness. We pray for your Spirit to fall, that the life of Jesus would manifest in this place because precious in Your sight is the death of all your saints.
Father, I pray for all us gathered here this evening and all those who remember Mike and give you thanks for his faithful life. Father, I pray that we would grieve like Christians, that we would be comforted by your Holy Spirit, and this occasion would remind us to number our days. Father, deal with us wherever are. Come and meet us and break down every defense, every stronghold, every excuse, every doubt, every fear. Teach us wisdom here in the house of mourning that we might rejoice before you all the days of our lives.
Finally Father, teach us to hate death, teach us to hate sin, teach us to hate the devil, teach us to mock the grave. But Father, teach us to hate these enemies like the defeated foes that they are. Christ is risen from the dead, trampling over death by death. Our brother Mike is not dead; he is asleep. He is resting with Jesus, and Hell rages in vain. We commit our brother to you, and we are bold to remind you of the crown of glory you promised to him. So put it on his head because you ransomed him by Jesus’ precious blood.
Keep us united with him and all your saints through your Spirit, and bring us all to that great day when every grave will be opened, when every tear will be wiped away forever, when all mourning will be turned to a feast full of dancing. And in the meantime, we trample death beneath our feet: O death where is your sting? Hell, where is your victory. Jesus has won, and we lift His cross, we point to His grave. We have invincible, unbreakable life that can never be taken away. Thanks be to God who has won this for us through out Lord Jesus Christ, in His name we pray, Amen!