Gracious, Sovereign God, Lord of all nations,
On this weekend when barbecues sizzle, pools open for the summer, and recreational opportunities abound, we take time to pause and reflect upon our blessings as a nation and the high cost of those blessings. As we enjoy a weekend filled with frivolity and fun, we call to solemn remembrance the ultimate sacrifice of soldiers who risked their lives to ensure the life, liberty, and freedom we will experience on this three day weekend. O Lord, may we be more grateful as a nation for our blessings, more faithful in expressing our thanks, and more appreciative for the freedoms we enjoy.
We pray today for the families and friends of those who have given their lives in service to our nation. May they be comforted in their grief. May they be reassured that the sacrifice of their loved ones contributed to the well being of this great nation. May they know the sacrifice made is helping bring about your desire for dignity and justice for all people. Even as we remember those who have given their lives in the past, we also think of those whose lives are on the line today. We pray especially for the more than 1,300,000 U.S. military personnel from the United States stationed in over 150 countries all over the world. Protect them. Encourage them. Bring them home safely and soon.
Guide those who lead our nation in international affairs. Help them to pursue diplomatic paths that prevent needless conflict. May they have your wisdom about when and how to use the military might you have entrusted to us.
God of peace, stir in the hearts of the leaders of all nations a desire for your shalom and lasting peace. Joining with you and your reign, help us to bring an end to the pain, suffering, injustice, and violence of our world. We know, dear Lord, that ultimate peace will not come until your kingdom is here in all of its fullness. Nevertheless, we pray for a foretaste of the future when fewer and fewer men and women will have to sacrifice their lives for freedom to reign. We long for the day when people will “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4).