Friday, July 11, 2008

Prayers For Memorial Day

Written 19 May

I am ready.
Dear Lord, I wanted to tell you…
I once was a meek boy with a coward’s heart.
Not here. Not anymore.
Now I am a lost soul with hell on his shoulders.
And I am coming.

A prayer by David Bellavia upon learning he would be fighting in Fallujah.

David was not alone in his fears or his prayers when heading into battle, or even during the heat of battle. Many young Americans have shared similar moments in their endeavors to defend our nation.

Common among them were self-doubt, questions about how they’d respond, feeling lost, knowing that hell on earth may await them, but not really sure what hell would be like, only knowing they would bear its burden.

Yet they went anyway, and prayer carried them into battle.

Prayer sheltered some of them. It sped others to the Lord when the time came.

And prayer should lead us this Memorial Day.

Pray for those who passed on while fighting for us and for those who passed on later after living out full lives as veterans and citizens.

Pray for those who still struggle with the stress and trauma from life in a combat zone. For them we should pray because personal battles may haunt their lives and eventually lead them to be among those we remember instead of keeping them in fellowship with us.

Pray for them. Pray we find every way to help them cope. Pray the effects of battle do not linger. Pray they are not added to the roll call for Memorial Day sooner than they ought to be.

Pray for the families of those we’ve lost.

They’ve also sacrificed and endured hardships for our country. They also bear the burden that comes with the cost of freedom.

Their grief is unimaginable.

I know my wife’s worst fear was that the white government sedan would turn into our driveway one morning. Knowing that was enough pain for me.

Reality must be horrifically worse.

We should also pray for ourselves.

We should pray that the conduct of our lives is worthy of the sacrifice made by so many for us. We may never be equal to the gift they’ve given, but we should at least endeavor to be so.

This Memorial Day remind yourself of the prayer Eleanor Roosevelt carried with her:

Dear Lord
Lest I continue
My complacent way
Help me to remember
Somewhere out there
A man died for me today
-As long as there be war
I then must
Ask and answer
Am I worth dying for?

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