Monday, November 11, 2013

A Prayer for Veterans Day

As you all know, today is Veterans Day. This one happens to be weighing especially heavy on me, because my veteran is still on active duty, and right now he's in a war zone. Honestly, I've been having a hard time parsing what's in my heart about today. And when I can't parse it out with myself, I tend to parse it out with God. So in case any of you are feeling any of these same things today, I thought I would share:

Heavenly Father,

Today is Veterans Day. But setting aside just one day to honor people who lay down their lives for the rest of us really seems like a pittance to pay. After all, it was your Son who told us that there is no greater love than self-sacrifice for others.

I am glad, dear Lord, that today is a day specifically marked to remember. But please help us to never forget the brave men and women who have risked everything, offered up everything they have at the tabernacle of liberty for all of us. Help us to be mindful of these great sacrifices, to honor them, and to show profound gratitude for the protectors of our way of life.

But don't just let us be grateful, Father. May we never stop at planting flags and expressing patriotic sentiments. Help us to recognize that each veteran is a person, battle-tested so that we do not have to be, and we owe them much. Help us be intentional about seeking out ways to repay those debts. Help us show, not just say, that we appreciate their service.

Help us earnestly search for the ways, great and small, that we can help lift these men and women up. Some of them return home with wounds we can see, needs we can immediately recognize. Motivate us, dear Lord, to meet a need when we see it, and not to turn a blind eye because the price of war is hard to behold.

Many of these brave men and women come home with wounds that are invisible. Sometimes those are much harder to heal, and much harder to help. Father, please help us never be dismissive of the "hard cases." None of them were dismissive of us. Help us remember that sometimes the longest roads back home have the most important lessons to teach us.

Most of all, dear Lord, help us always remember the cost of our freedom. May we never forget the countless lives, limbs, and comrades lost. May we never take for granted the families separated, the mothers and fathers who have had to leave their own children in order to defend ours. 

In these times, Lord, it is easy to complain. It is easy to be disappointed with this country, angry with its leaders, pessimistic about its future. Help us remember that this nation, warts and all, is a gift, freely given at great costs to the givers who believe that she is worth it, and we should strive to prove them right.

In Your sweet Son's name I pray,

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