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Sunday, February 26, 2012


Since the founding of our nation, Americans have been called to pray for our country, its leaders, and those who serve in the military. During wartime, attacks, and natural disasters, that motivation intensifies dramatically. Even though we are a pluralistic country, we still observe a National Day of Prayer early each May. Many churches and para-church ministries call for fasting and prayer on various occasions.

Those who serve in our military, as well as contractors who provide support, often spend long periods of time away from their families, even when they are not directly involved in a theatre of war. Too often their service, and the sacrifice of their loved ones, has not been acknowledged.

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
And I have been saved from my enemies.”

Psalm 18:2-3

That maxim, “Those who wait also serve” has long been associated with photographs, paintings, and sculptures of military wives and families waiting for the return of their loved ones serving far from home. Growing up in a Navy family I was familiar with the expression, but I was more fortunate than most because we accompanied my father to his duty stations. It became much more meaningful to me during the sixties, when I learned first hand the loneliness and anxiety that war and military service demanded of loved ones. In more recent years I’ve again experienced the waiting, wondering, and praying for my sons, their wives and children until they return.

There are many worthy organizations that provide encouragement and assistance, and we can join in their efforts to help. However there is one thing all of us can do that is of great value and that is to pray ― for those who serve and for those who wait. We can pray for God’s protection, provision, presence, power, and peace.  We can pray for their wisdom, discernment, endurance, and courage.  We should also pray for the challenges they face upon their return professionally and personally.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God:
 that if we ask anything according to his will,
he hears us. And if we know that he hears us― whatever we ask―
we know that we have what we asked of him.”

1 John 5:14-15

“They also serve who only stand and wait.”

The phrase probably originated from a line in the sonnet
‘On His Blindness’,
by John Milton, noted English poet and scholar.

Post by Janet Grunst


  1. Thank you, Janet, for this very meaningful post. I'm from a military family and I too know first hand the loneliness and fear that, if not shielded against by prayer, can take over a person's heart.

    I found this on a website for military families--

    Giving God Your Fears.
    Let me encourage you to give your worry and fear to God, not just today but every day. Today I talked with a mother whose son is leaving for a year of duty in Iraq, and I could relate to her anxiety and concern since my son has served in Iraq. I was reminded how vital prayer is to us when our loved ones are deployed—praying for them and asking our faith community and military support group to join us in praying for your family member and all our servicemen and women.
    Whether we’re a mother, wife, sister, or friend of someone deployed to a combat zone, prayer soothes our anxious souls. Over and over in the Bible God invites us to give Him our worries and fears, like in 1 Peter 5:7, where it says to cast all our cares, anxieties, and worries on the Lord, for He cares for us affectionately and watchfully. Prayer will help you remain emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy so you can be the support your loved one needs. As you experience God being there for you, and trust Him to be there for your loved one, He will be faithful! And your love combined with God’s love through prayer has a far-reaching ripple effect that will touch even across the world to the Middle East. May God pour out a spirit of grace and prayer in our hearts and in churches and families across our nation on behalf of our military!

    For me, Soldiers' Angels is a great resource for soldiers and their families. I was a member of the letter writing team for years. Each week I was given the name of a soldier to write to. Some wrote back, some did not. But the ones who did, all seemed to feel the same way -- they deeply appreciated my support, the uplifting messages of my letters, and most of all, my prayers.

    Again, thank you for this post.

  2. Janet, Thank you for this post. Our pastor had us pray as a congregation today, for those families with loved ones deployed.

  3. Also, pray for the forgotten soldiers in Leavenworth prison. Some of them have been put there unjustly.

  4. Also, pray for the forgotten soldiers in Leavenworth prison. Some of them have been put there unjustly.

  5. Janet, thank you for bringing this great need to our attention. I share with you the pride and the heartache of having a son in the military. Prayer is certainly our greatest resource for strength and calm in the midst of fear. And God is our ultimate source of comfort and protection. Blessings.

  6. Excellent post! Thank you for focusing our prayers, Janet!


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