Everlasting God of righteousness and grace, as our nation celebrates this Independence Day, remind us of our complete dependence upon you. We look to you for your wisdom and mercy as important issues are discussed. On this day, we ask you to keep this nation, and all nations, under your care, that we may be peoples who are at peace, and who are a blessing to others in this earth. Grant our nation's leaders wisdom, that there would be times of peace and justice in our land and in our world.
On this day, we lift up to you all who serve in our Armed Forces, who serve as the centurion did as ones who are under authority—brave men and women who risk their lives for their country. Remind us of those who are far from home and loved ones, who on this day sail or fly or walk in harm’s way, and keep them always close to you. Where there is combat, grant them compassion for their enemies, and keep them brave in the face of evil. Hold in your loving hands the families of those who are far away. Grant them comfort in their anxieties. And comfort those who grieve, because they have received the dreaded message that their loved one has died. Strengthen those who carry the wounds of war, visible and invisible, and be to them a sure presence.
And on this day, we lift up to you those who serve your people as chaplains wearing the uniforms of our military services, and the families of those chaplains. Grant that they may always be true to the churches and groups who send them as they serve in the always complex and challenging environment of institutional ministry in the military. As Jesus sent the Twelve with the exhortation to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves,” may they also have both wisdom and innocence as they navigate the rocks and shoals they encounter in living out their calling. Remind us always that we serve the One who washed the feet of his disciples.
And on this day keep all of us grounded not in our strength but in yours, ever relying upon the promise that “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength ... They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
All of this we pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.