A Memorial Day Prayer for the Sunday Before
Another Memorial

How to Pray in Times of War

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It seems we have been at war for decades with only short respites of illusory peace.

In reality, we have been in a state of war with Korea since the fifties and that state shortly followed World War II. Since we are always at war, perhaps some of these guidelines apply on how to pray.

Memorial Day: How to Pray in Days of War

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled …”  - Matthew  24:6a,

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” – Philippians 4:6

I jotted these down in 2001 in a different war ... or at least a different phase.

As I write, our nation is at war against terrorism. Perhaps, by the time you read this that war will have paused and we will be between conflicts. Each time we go to war, there are some who feel it will be the last, but Jesus reminds us to expect more and not to be troubled because the time may not be yet.  Paul admonishes us that the cure for anxiety is prayer. The whole counsel of scripture gives us lessons on how to pray during times of war.

  • Pray for policy makers and military commanders that they will be guided by God and by truth.
  • Pray for the sergeants and chiefs that they will be able to maintain discipline and morale.
  • Pray for the soldiers, sailors, and airmen that they will be strengthened by God's grace and protected from harm.
  • Pray that we will have our understanding of what God's blessing is tempered by God and accept His definition of His blessings to us.
  • Pray for a minimum number of casualties on all sides and that civilian populations will be protected from harm.
  • Pray for righteousness, justice, and peace and for the success of every righteous cause including an end to terrorism and that many will turn to God, for worldwide revival.
  • Pray for our enemies that God will bless them. This is a non-negotiable command from Jesus. This includes praying that terrorists will voluntarily submit themselves before the bar of divine mercy and human justice and that they and others will be saved - this is what blessing ultimately means.
  • Pray for the will of God to be done in every dimension of human affairs and for His Kingdom to come on earth as it is in Heaven, for repentance and forgiveness regarding our individual and corporate offenses against God and other human beings.
  • Pray for oppressed people wherever they are to be liberated and dealt with in a just and merciful manner.
  • Pray for comfort and healing for victims and their families and for families that are sending their sons and daughters to war.
  • Pray that we will hear whatever God may be saying to us in this hour.

In the meantime, Mark Twain gives us a great example of how NOT to pray in The War Prayer:


And a contemporary musical offering comes closer.