If we are going to be kind, let it be out of simple generosity, not because we fear guilt or retribution.
- J.M. Coetzee
I spent many hours in prayer while our son was in the military.
There were times when my own words failed me, and I searched for prayers that others had prayed for their loved ones. I didn’t find many that conveyed the emotions and the fears I was dealing with. Often, they were formal in wording or tone, expanding the distance I felt from God instead of helping me draw near.
While I know that God is always present when we cry out, that wasn’t reflected in the way I felt. My fears kept me from feeling God’s comforting presence. I wanted prayers that could give me that comfort.
When I didn’t find what I was looking for, I began writing out my own prayers, pairing them with a Bible verse to give me a foundation to work from. Today I’d like to share some of those prayers with you.
Dear Lord, I’m afraid my soldier may turn away from you because of what he’s seen during this war. Keep his heart firmly fixed on you. Protect him from those who would lead him away from you. Don’t let the lies others believe divert him from the path you have for him.
At times it’s easy for me to doubt you, and I’m safe at home. I know it’s got to be a thousand times easier for him to doubt. With nothing familiar around him, everything he ever believed must seem suspect. Please don’t let him turn his back on you.
Remind him of the truths he grew up reading in the Bible. Bring to mind all he’s heard about you. Put people around him to reinforce those truths. Don’t let him put his faith in something that has no substance.
Give him a solid core of friends who share his beliefs. Let them encourage each other and be there to support one another. Remind them to always come back to the Bible to test all things. Don’t let them ever forget that your word is truth. Amen
Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. (John 17:17)
Edie Melson is a leading professional in the publishing industry. She also knows what it’s like to send a loved one off to war. Her oldest son went from high school graduation, to Marine Corp boot camp, to Iraq; where he served two tours fighting on the front lines as an infantry Marine. Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle, is Edie’s heart project. Look for her two newest books for military families debuting in 2014: While My Son Serves and While My Husband Serves. You can also connect with Edie on Twitter and Facebook.