Heavenly Father,

On these Memorial Days, too often we speak the words of sacrifice, but we do not consider the full reality and heart-break behind them.  Perhaps, Father God, it is because our souls cannot bear grasping the human pain:  Fathers and mothers receiving the agonizing news—the dread of any parent—that their young son or daughter, that baby they loved and watched grow up, has died in service for the country on some foreign soil. The young mother, hearing her husband has been killed, who now has to face going through life and raising her little ones without her dear beloved other half.  The children who were never really able to know their father or mother, but must rely on photos and the stories of others to get some sense of them.  Such sadness, O Lord.  So many tears.

We may know a few, but You know all the precious lives throughout the generations cut short so that we may have the freedoms promised in the Declaration and secured in the Constitution.

And it is not wrong for us to enjoy the day off with friends and family. But it is imperative, essential, that we remember that this is a solemn memorial—this is a sacred and holy time, when we ought to reflect on those lives given and what such a cost of lives means for each us as individuals and what we are called to be, should be, as a people.

Father God, on the world stage the dangers are multiplying all over the globe, and on the news we even hear the unthinkable words uttered of nuclear warfare.  Whatever develops in the days and months to come, it is very likely that the young men and women defending this nation will be right in the middle of any outbreak.

Internally at home, there is chaos in many of our streets and we appear to be rapidly coming apart at the seams as the foundational principles that held us together as a people continue to crumble.

Americans in times past, even from our founding, when there was a crisis, would come before You O God in their churches and in their synagogues and in their homes, repentant and contrite, seeking You and turning to You and Your holiness.  They knew it was right and wise to build our military and strengthen our defenses.  But these prior generations also knew that ultimately it is not by our might or power but by Your outstretched hand of blessing that we have any true peace and victory.

And so with all my heart I petition You for such a movement of Your Spirit in our land today that we would indeed be blessed:

That the young men and women of our armed forces would stand protected. That our children and grandchildren here at home would be safe. That the memory of those who died for this land would not be forgotten. And that the nation for which they fought would not pass away from the earth.

Father God, I ask for this blessing and lift up this prayer to You, by the only authority I have to stand here before these dear people of Madison and do so—I ask as a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ and in His name I pray. Amen.