God Bless America – Memorial Day Weekend – Devotional Series
Those who have given their lives for our country have experienced the tragic bloodshed that conflict brings. Our world is rocked by strife and division, but one day there will be peace and the author of that peace is Jesus himself. Jesus is described in Scripture as the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Memorial Day recognizes the valor of those in military combat, but a day is coming when we will live in a time of unparalleled peace, brought about by Jesus Himself.
We hold the deepest gratitude for the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who have given their lives over the ages, defending our freedoms and families. As we remember them, let us also remain aware that Jesus, too, gave the ultimate sacrifice. He laid down His life to secure a freedom which transcends any earthly freedom. Jesus gave His life to gain spiritual victory over sin, death, and hell. Memorial Day gives us a chance to praise our Lord for the price He paid, and the triumph He secured.
We salute our armed forces today as we remember our nation’s military heroes, both past and present. George Washington once said, “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” Psalm 33:12 (NKJV) says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.” We need for God to bless America once again and bring us back to “One Nation Under God.”
Seldom in our nation’s history has there been a re-birth of patriotism as we have witnessed in recent years – flags fly from homes, from car antennas – they are displayed on bridges and in the windows of office buildings – we see them at check-out lines and at makeshift memorials. Those stars and stripes represent a people that treasure freedom and are willing to fight and die to preserve it. And yet as blessed as we are to live in this nation, those of us who are followers of Christ have tasted a much greater freedom than what America can give us. For God’s Word says, “He who the Son has set free is free indeed” (John 8:36).
As a people and as a nation, we have experienced times of great crisis throughout our history. During our warfare independence, Washington’s army was certainly no match for the superior forces they faced. But in times of both national and personal crisis, the words written in a hymn by Isaac Watts in 1707, declared our complete dependence on Almighty God as our only hope and security. Paraphrasing the first five verses of Psalm 90, Watts expressed this confidence in the words to this beautiful hymn…
O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.
We thought we were safe within our boarders, isolated by two oceans from much of the world, Americans pursued their personal ambitions and destinies. But in the 20th Century, the price of freedom rose dramatically. World War I required America to send her best to the trenches of Europe to fight and die. And World War II required an entire generation to sacrifice their all for freedom. How we needed to be reminded once again, that the God of our fathers, who had always been our source of strength, was just as faithful as ever. Nothing you would call miraculous had taken place in Thomas Chisholm’s life, but at the age of 75, he had learned that God was not wavering in His love and in His mercy. “I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God, and that he has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care for which I am filled with astonishing great-fulness.” Those deeply held beliefs are reflected in his most famous hymn … Great Is Thy Faithfulness.
Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
there is no shadow of turning with thee;
thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou hast been thou forever wilt be.
Great is thy faithfulness!
Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see:
all I have needed thy hand hath provided–
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
America and Americans have been blessed. Not because we deserved it or earned it, but because God’s unmerited favor has been poured out on us individually and as a nation. Because of God’s grace, this is a land of tremendous opportunity and great natural beauty. Cathryn Lee Bates felt it, when in 1893 she looked out from the summit of Pikes Peak, “…when I saw the view, I felt great joy,”she said. “As I was looking out at the sea like expanse of fertile country spreading away so far under those apple skies, the opening lines of a hymn floated into my mind…” Her song is still the most widely sung and perhaps most loved hymn of patriotism ever written… “America! America! God shed His grace on thee. And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.”
But where is God? This question can’t be avoided. Sooner or later, our faith in God’s provision and goodness gets tested. Whether it comes in a time of great national crisis, or in lonely course of personal pain, we want to know … “if God is good and if God is all powerful, how could He allow these things to happen?”
Listen, God knows what it’s like to lose a loved one. He gave His only Son on a cross. He knows what it is like to see a loved one die a horrific death. He knows and He can bring comfort to us today.
He knows that our land needs healing. 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Lord, we humble ourselves at this moment and pray for…
Our Heavenly Father, in Jesus’ name we lift up our President to You. If ever he needed your guidance, it is now. We ask You to guide the head of our nation in the way You would have him go. We pray that You would surround our President with wise counsel — Lord, surround him with men and women of integrity who place Your agenda and the good of this nation above their own agenda. We pray that those who surround him would have pure motives for that which is right. We pray that You would give President Trump discernment, understanding and knowledge so that our nation may know stability internally and abroad. Father, when you are guiding him to speak, we ask that you give him the words and boldness to speak out and to lead, but when he needs to be quiet and listen, give him strength to hold back his words. We give thanks for President Trump according to Your Word and we ask that You work in and through his leadership so that we might experience peace and order in our country.
Father, we pray for America’s Foreign Relations. We pray that You would cause us to have favor in the nations all over the earth. We pray that because of international influence, doors would open in nations that have been closed to the gospel in the past. We pray those You raise up would give favor to the missionaries in their respective nations. Raise up wise men and women, persons of skill and understanding in foreign affairs and in the affairs of state. Grant favor to our people on every foreign front, so they will be able to maintain good relations in their respective posts and so that even our enemies will be at peace with them.
Father, we pray for National Morality. We know that the spirit of the world creeps into the body of Christ almost unaware sometimes, and before we know it, we can so easily be led astray and caught up in worldly actions (at times so subtly we don’t even recognize what has happened to us). So in the name of Jesus, we pray that You would raise up a voice in our nation that would rally the body of Christ and cause us to become the standard bearers to such a degree that we would profoundly affect the morality of our nation. Help us to never forget that we are a spiritual country and may we always be a God-loving, God-fearing, God-worshiping people.
Father, we pray in Jesus’ name that You would restore a social conscience to our nation. We pray that we would again see the value of teaching our children the virtue of being good citizens — to not only live for the good of the individual but for the good of others as well. Lord, we desire to see our nation restored to godly integrity and excellence, so that our children and our citizens can be proud to be called Americans. In recognizing our duty to You, God and to our country, keep us mindful to pray for our nation not only in our churches and in our homes, but also in the quietness of our daily lives.
Protection For The Body Of Christ:
Dear Father, we thank You that we are not appointed to wrath and that we have nothing to fear, because You are with us. We lift up the issue of terrorism, both at home and abroad, and we pray in Jesus’ name that Your great ability to save, protect and deliver would come to light in the body of Christ and in the world. Father, we remember the great deliverance You gave to Moses and the children of Israel so they could escape from the Egyptians unharmed. We know that because You did that for the seed of Abraham under an older and lesser covenant, you will certainly do that and more for Your children under the new and better covenant. And so, this morning, we choose life and deliverance in the name of Jesus Christ. We thank You for the angels who have charge over our lives, who are there to protect us. Thank you, Jesus, for this special protection.
Thank You, Lord, for the men and women of our armed forces. Protect them as they protect us. Defend them as they defend us. Encourage and strengthen their spirit, soul and body while they work through their duties and responsibilities. May they be mentally and physically strong when required to face the challenges of combat. We pray that nothing would take them by surprise but that they would be aware of all potential aggression. Enable them to stop hostile actions before they start. Give leaders wisdom and insight in all decisions. Thank You Lord, for providing America with the best trained, equipped and led military force in the world today. Fill them with Your saving grace and the gospel of peace that they may be shining witnesses of Your love, in the name of Jesus.
The Families of The Military:
Lord, Jesus, we also lift up to You in prayer the FAMILIES of our military. We pray that the gospel will extend to them, that they might know You and the power of Your resurrection. We pray and desire that these families might be a prayer force for our nation and our military. May they be well provided for and well taken care of. Give them the courage of warriors. May the peace that passes all understanding sustain them during the times they are separated from their loved ones. Comfort them with Your Word, so that they might have faith to see their sons, daughters, husbands and wives returned to them in wholeness and safety.
Lord, we thank You for our veterans of war. We thank You for their willingness to risk all so that our nation might dwell in peace and safety. May they find the honor and recognition they deserve. We pray that You will heal the physical and psychological wounds some of these veterans have suffered. Bring peace to those who mourn the loss of comrades. We pray that our nation would learn to respect and acknowledge those who have served their country well. We pray that Heaven would bestow the best of blessings on all of them at this very moment, for we pray this in Jesus’ name…
POW’s (Prisoners of War):
Father, in the name of Jesus, we pray for those who have been taken captive in war. Give them the courage to persevere and also the knowledge that they have not been forgotten. May our nation find ways to rescue them safely and quickly. And Lord, when their freedom is restored, let our POW’s walk with pride and dignity because of the suffering they have endured, as our grateful nation owes them a debt of honor.
MIA’s (Missing in Action):
And Father, we haven’t forgotten those who are missing in action. We pray that wherever they might be, that You would fill them with the hope of freedom and the knowledge that their loved ones and comrades anxiously await their return. We pray that truth would come to light quickly so that the living may be rescued and the families of the deceased may find timely closure. And Father, for those You have already received into eternity, we pray that the peaceful shadows of the setting sun rest gently upon their graves.
Prayer for National Revival:
And now Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray for the great sleeping giant, the church, who even now has begun to shake herself from her sleep. I pray she would awake to righteousness and holiness in every denomination, in every body of believers, and slumber no longer. I pray that we would begin to unify under the blood-stained banner of the Cross and preach the gospel of the kingdom clearly and boldly in every part of our nation. May we not only stand up and speak up, but we pray that we will begin to reap a great harvest in our nation, bringing multitudes to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. May the revival of the saints be so all-encompassing that it effects our whole nation …. and let it begin with me. We pray these things in Jesus’ name … AMEN.
God bless America
Land that I love
Stand beside her
And guide her
Through the night with the light from above
From the mountains
To the prairies
To the oceans
White with foam
God bless America
My home sweet home
written by Majors Tom & Susan Hinzman – Rockland County Coordinators – Spring Valley Corps, Greater New York Division, USA East