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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Wednesday (tomorrow) is Veterans Day, 2009. It’s fitting for us as a free people to publically and intentionally acknowledge, thank and bless those men and women who have paid a heavy price to insure our liberty. Freedom, as they say, is never free. To all the veterans, we thank you.

My wife’s father, Al, is 88 years old. He served in WWII in the South Pacific and endured unspeakable horrors, including, months of near hand to hand combat and a life and death battle with malaria. Few of us can comprehend the pain combat soldiers like Al have borne. We may not know; but we can express our gratitude.

The cost is not so distant as WWII. Every day vets of more immediate wars in the Middle East are returning to attempt to embrace a new destiny after their military service. To them and their families we also express our gratitude. The horrible events at Fr. Hood this week reminds us just how dangerous their lives are, and how fragile our peace remains.

For all our efforts to say “thanks” and all our commitment to help our vets recover their lives once they return (and God knows we must do all we can!) in the end we cannot do enough. No governmental service can repay all they’ve lost. No holiday in their honor can make up for the hours lost, the innocence lost, the loves, limbs and lives lost. We cannot do enough. “Thank you” is too easy and too slight a return.

But we can pray for our vets. We can ask God to make up the balance, to cover the debts we as a society (often ungrateful) can never make up. We can pray and ask for blessings beyond our human treasure. Join me, and together let’s bless our vets.

“God we thank you for commissioning men and women in the defense of freedom. We honor those who honor and protect us, in many cases laying down their lives that we might live free to pursue our own destiny. Every soldier takes their oath knowing they may be called upon to pay the ultimate sacrifice. Lord, we cannot repay this gift they give us. For those who have suffered as a result of their sacrifice, we ask for supernatural healing, favor, peace, and in some cases, forgetfulness. Lift from them the cares and burdens of violence. When they return home, give them opportunities to fulfill their own potentials and dreams. Open doors for them, even when some doors are closed. God, Bless our veterans. We pray this in Jesus.”

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