A Prayer for Memorial Day
It is a noble and brave thing to sacrifice yourself for another. It is also deeply spiritual.
Written in the depths of our souls is the reality that sacrifice is required before one can attain liberation. Only the immature and spoiled believe that freedom in any form is experienced without a cost.
Evidence of sacrifice is all around us: a mother sacrifices her body to bring forth the life of her child; a husband and wife sacrifice their own desires to support the other; a sibling sacrifices their sole ownership of precious possessions to share with each other; friends sacrifice time and a listening ear to encourage the other in times of need.
One person’s self-denial gives rise to the liberation and support of another. Someone gives, so that another may have…in a million countless ways in a bazillion moments in our everyday lives. And if we listen carefully, we can hear the echo of this single truth: through sacrifice lies the survival of all humanity – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
This was God’s design all along. The cost of our spiritual freedom was not a surprise to God. He knew the cost was great; He knew we could never pay; He sacrificed for our freedom. All that we see in our world is simply a mirror of that great sacrifice – from the father who works hard to feed his family, to the soldier whose blood reddens the soil of war-torn lands. We know and sense that sacrifice is a necessity. And because the cost of some freedoms are too great for us to ever pay, we are indebted to those who gave.
Not all of us will have the opportunity to sacrifice ourselves in heroic ways, as the soldier for the citizen, as the Savior for the Sinner. But we all have the ability to feel indebted…because none of us arrives where we are today without the sacrifice of others. These known and unknown souls are worth remembering.
Remembering is important to our survival. Reminding ourselves of our indebtedness is more than an act of deserved honor towards heroes of today; it is also an exercise in humility and thankfulness, which are spiritual disciplines worth cultivating in our hearts. Gratefulness is free and can be applied liberally to every act of kindness shown to us – especially towards kindnesses that we know we can never repay.
Memorial Day is a day to “remember and honor” the ones who have sacrificed their lives in military service to our Nation. Believers, most of all, can celebrate and honor these heroic soldiers, knowing their lives – and deaths – are a picture of Jesus’ sacrifice for our souls. They gave all they had; we can remember and honor that sacrifice with a spiritual awareness that unbeliever does not possess. It is a spiritual exercise for our souls to engage in this time of humble thankfulness.
This Memorial Day, I just wanted to offer a few specific ways to pray while we take time today to remember and honor those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. My hope is that meditating on these prayer requests will help our hearts to grow in humility, thankfulness, and in the practice of recognizing and honoring the sacrifice of others. And perhaps we too can become more aware of how we can follow their great example; for “we stand on the shoulders of giants” (Sir Isaac Newton).
A prayer list for Memorial Day:
Pray for comfort for the families left behind by soldiers who did not come home.
Pray for the veterans who are still alive, struggling with scars seen and unseen.
Pray for our Nation, that we would remember how high the cost of freedom.
Pray for our children, that they would have eyes to see those who have sacrificed on their behalf, and that they will grow into adults who are brave enough to sacrifice for others in whatever way God asks of them.
Pray for our own eyes to be opened to the sacrifices all around us – the great and the small – and that our hearts will be filled with gratefulness. Pray that we will be able to see when God would have us to sacrifice for others, and we would be quick to do so.
Pray for our fellow Americans; that we will see each other as human beings – equal and valuable.
Pray for the Church, that we will become a Bride that does not hide from serving those in need, and that we will be more concerned about souls rather than our church services.
Happy Memorial Day!