Last Monday was ANZAC Day, which in many ways has replaced Australia Day as our national day. We often hear that this day more than any other represents the Aussie values of mateship and standing up for what is right. Over the years some Christians have struggled to accept ANZAC Day. Sometimes these concerns have been with good reason as people try to reconcile a desire for peace with the apparent glorification of war.
However, ANZAC Day need not be seen as glorifying war. Instead, on ANZAC Day we are reminded that the peace we enjoy has come at a cost. As Christians this is something we understand – as the peace we enjoy with God came at the cost of Jesus’ life. We recognise and thank God for the many men and women who gave their lives in order that we might enjoy peace. We pray for the men and women currently serving that God might keep them safe. We pray for those who grieve the loss of loved ones that they might find comfort and hope in the Gospel. Most of all we pray for peace in the world now, but always knowing that wars will only cease once and for all when our Lord returns in glory.
With this in mind, below is the text of a prayer you might like to use as a basis for your prayers.
Almighty God and Heavenly Father, whose kingdom rules overall and in whom there is perfect freedom. We give you thanks for all who have served in the defence of this country.
As we remember those men and women who served – in the ranks of our Navy, Army, Air Force, Merchant Navy and Police, we give thanks to you, gracious God, for their great sacrifices in conflict and in captivity – for the cause of peace and freedom. In our nation of wealth, prosperity and comfort, let us not forget the cost of these privileges which we now enjoy.
And, gracious Father, we pray for peace. Have mercy on our broken and divided world and banish the spirit that makes for war. We ask that leaders of nations and governments will pursue freedom, justice and the welfare of all peoples.
And finally, we pray for ourselves. In the midst of worldly turmoil and strife, make us yearn for peace – not only with each other – but peace with you through our crucified and risen Saviour. Trusting in Him for the forgiveness of our sins, help us to look forward to His kingly return.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.