Memorial Day is a day to honor those who have died fighting for America’s freedoms. And one of the best ways to honor them is to pray for the heroes who now serve to protect those freedoms.
My wife, Marsha, and I have served as North American missionaries for 30 years in the U.S. Air Force chaplaincy. We love the military community. We have journeyed with them on 5 continents, 16 assignments and multiple deployments. We’ve lived overseas for 11 years; 4 of those years were served in the Middle East and Africa. We returned last year after serving 2 years in the Middle East together, living in a local community where we were responsible for ministering to all 20,000 airmen who worked in the Middle East, fighting the Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS.
I’m always delighted to get the question, “How can I pray for the military?” Because I believe there are three specific ways that we can all support them in prayer.
1. Pray for their personal and professional success.
I was in a guard tower on the perimeter of one of our bases in Afghanistan two years ago. My chaplain assistant was with me, Chief Master Sergeant Keller Benningfield. This particular night, we were going from tower to tower, visiting our security forces warriors who were on lookout. They were modern-day watchmen protecting the lives of those inside the walls of their base.
As we visited with them, they pointed out where the enemy positions were. We asked them, “Are you worried about the possibility of being attacked tonight?”
One of them replied, “We hope there is not an attack tonight, but if there is, we will do our duty.”
I looked at the enemy positions and thought about the soldiers defending our country—the ones who are ready to make the biggest sacrifice of all. Just before it was time to leave, our conversation trailed off. Chief Benningfield turned to the soldiers, “Can I pray for you?”
Simultaneously, they all answered, “Yes, Chief.”
He prayed for their safety, their families, their courage and for their success in their mission. After the prayer, something was different. They were thankful and encouraged. Chief’s prayer outlines how you can pray for the personal and professional success of your military. Pray for God to …
Bless their families
Help them face the challenges of their duty
Give them favor in battle
Help them have victory
2. Pray for the spiritual maturity of our military members.
In Matthew 8, Jesus encountered a Roman centurion and was amazed by his faith. The centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant who was paralyzed. He said:
And Jesus replied:
Pray for God to mature our military and their families to have faith like the centurion. Pray for the chaplains and local churches that support military communities to intentionally develop them in Christlikeness so they can be a light to others and be spiritually fit to endure the challenges of the military service.
3. Pray the Word of God as a warrior with authority.
In Ephesians 6, once the components of the armor of God are completely assembled on the believer, comes the command to pray. Isaiah 62:6-7 teaches us that God calls watchmen to serve on the walls of Jerusalem and to pray without rest. The best way to pray with authority is to pray the Lord’s Word back to Him. Ephesians 6:17 says, “The sword of the Spirit … is God’s word.”