Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4 NIV
As we prepare to observe Memorial Day, we are asking all of you, our prayer partners, to pause on Monday to pray for the family and friends who have grieved in the loss of a fallen member of the Armed Forces. Join us in thanking God for all of those who are willing to serve and sacrifice to preserve freedom and peace around the world.
As the daughter of an Air Force officer, I watched my dad suffer through the loss of fellow airmen, sailors, soldiers, marines, and coasties. Serving from the 1960s to the 1990s, my father flew many missions as well as leading and serving in many joint operations that united him with members of all of the military services. They were brothers in arms and family. When some of these brothers paid the supreme sacrifice, the grief and all of the emotions that accompany this anguish descended on my dad, our family, his squadron, and the wing like a thick fog. There wasn’t much said, not much my dad could say, but it was experienced with an indescribable heaviness and hurt. When I thank someone in uniform for their service, it always comes with deep sincerity and a silent prayer for their safety and family as well. Every time my dad left home there was a real chance he would not return. To say that I am grateful that he always came home does not even scratch the surface of my thankfulness. My fear and uncertainty never exceeded the pride I felt about his service as well as my mom’s. She watched her husband fly away while she stayed home, raised kids, comforted other wives, and took care of every detail of life in the days before email and cell phones. This has marked my life with gratitude for all military members and families forever.
Joining the military is more than a career, it is a calling, so when I came across the following prayer written by an Army chaplain in the 1986 “Prayer for the Unit Ministry Team” resource, I was struck by the tenderness he captured memorializing fallen comrades, with the precision and passion that only a grieving heart could express. Before your break out the grill and pool toys to celebrate the beginning of summertime, please take some time to join us as we pray for our military members and families who serve now and for those who have suffered, sacrificed and died serving throughout our history.
“Almighty God, in gathering together to pay tribute to our fallen comrades, we wrestle with minds that are bewildered and hearts that grieve. These soldiers have been called upon to pay the supreme sacrifice. Why it should be them or why it should be under these circumstances is known only to You. We rest those questions in Your hands of providential care and mercy.
We are eternally grateful for the hope of the Resurrection and the promise of eternal life. In time, that will become a comfort to the grieving family and friends. But immediately, there is anger, fear, despair, doubts, the loneliness, grief, and hopelessness. Lord, may these be replaced by the miracle of love and care. May we all become instruments of that love and care. As soldiers and members of a grateful nation, may we dedicate our lives to continued service as a tribute to our fallen comrades.
For those of us who yet live, we are forced now to reflect upon the uncertainty of life. We thus commit our lives to redeeming every waking moment, to bring peace and happiness to our homes and family, our nation, and our world. Amen.” Chaplain Gunhus, Fort Lewis, WA
Prayer taken from: https://chaplainkit.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/prayers-for-military-chaplains.pdf 1986
Serving Him with Gladness,
President, National Day of Prayer Task Force