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In light of recent headlines of violence and attacks directed towards police officers, wanted to share this story from last year, and the reminder to pray for those who protect our nation, for the men and women in uniform:
"Friday night, near quiet suburban neighborhoods where we live outside Houston - kids played, families finished their dinners, people walked their dogs, admiring a beautiful sunset on the horizon, and just a few miles away, the unthinkable happened - Deputy Darren Goforth was targeted and tragically shot down while stopped at a gas station.
Such a heartless, evil act, so incredibly needless. He was not only an officer, but a husband, a father to 2 young kids, he was a friend to many, he served and protected our community.
And his life was taken, simply because he wore a uniform.
We hear difficult stories most every day, seemingly unending and relentless across our media headlines. But maybe when something so cruel happens real close to home, it sinks deep, and can leave you feeling a bit unsettled. Because you understand that no one, no place, can ever be fully assured that nothing bad will ever come their way.
Sometimes this world seems really dark, almost like evil is winning many days. But God's reminder tells us this: Light > evil.
It will always win, it will always push back the dark. He is always greater than whatever we face on this earth. And as believers, we can trust, He is with us, in it all, no matter what, both in this life and the next.
Yesterday I visited the place where it happened. People gathered to give honor to this fallen officer. People from different nationalities, ages, and backgrounds. All people, who came for one cause - to say thank you, to offer support. Flowers, balloons, notes of thanks and encouragement filled the gas pump area where the tragedy occurred. Gifts of donation were given to support the family. Deep kindness and love poured out by so many.
And then I saw him. Older man, dear soul, along with his wife, overcome by emotion as he walked to the site. He looked at Officer Goforth's photo among the flowers and gifts. He hugged other officers who were there standing by. I wondered if he might be a close friend, or retired fellow officer, for he seemed to know them well. With tears he walked straight to the large photo of the deputy. In strong military style, all alone, he went forward, then stood there, just still for a moment. Very still, except for his shoulders moving from the heaves of the sobs. And then after some long moments, he saluted. A brave, strong, honoring salute, which meant more than any word or gift could ever say. He saluted this one whose life had been cut short. And he turned around and walked back, in formal stride, tears streaming down an anguished face, that seemed to have a lot of stories to tell from the years. He hugged his wife, and together they walked away.
I soaked it all in, my own tears falling. He understood what many of us might miss sometimes among headline news stories and factions and fighting. The salute. The honor. For these who fight so bravely. Police officers. Military men and women. Firefighters. Emergency aid and rescue workers. So many who are willing to pay a great price to keep our country safe and free.
Before I left, I felt compelled to go and shake hands with the officers standing close by. I didn't feel like I had anything big to say, my words seem to fail, except this, "Thank you. God bless you, I am praying for you." And maybe, when it gets down to it, that sometimes is really the biggest thing of all I guess. Just to say thank you. And then to pray.
Hug those you love today, tell them you love them before they walk out the door. And pray some big prayers for those who are hurting, and for courageous men and women who wear a uniform to protect our cities, our nation.
God be with them, protect them, and be close to the families who are suffering such great loss right now."
Prayer for those who protect our nation, for the men and women in uniform:
Please be with the men and women in uniform, who bravely serve our communities and nation every single day. We ask that you cover them with your protection, that you would be their guiding force who leads the way, and their rear guard who keeps them safe from behind. We ask that you would draw them to yourself amidst the dangers they face in a dark world, for you are the Truth, you are the Way, you are the Light.
When the voice of hate rises up against them, we ask that you would silence it. When the plans of the enemy rise up to cause them to stumble, we ask that you would thwart it. When the forces of evil rise up to strike them down, we ask that you would stop it. Lord, we know how powerful you are, all have heard of your Great Name, and we ask that you would indeed be the wind beneath their wings, the power behind their efforts, the heart behind their service, as they are on the front lines against evil in our world today.
Help them to walk wisely. To stay covered in your armor. Give them godly discernment. Make them constantly aware of what lurks close by. Help them to be men and women of prayer, realizing that this is where their greatest help comes from. Help them to stay united and strong, bold and resolute, determined and unwavering.
Lord bless all those who wear the uniform, who serve our cities, our nation, our people. Bless their families. Bless those they love. Give them your great favor, this day, and every day. And thank you that as believers, we can be assured, you never leave us, and you are with us always, in this life, and the next.
In the Powerful and Present Name of Jesus,
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Ps. 46:1
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Ps. 34:18
"Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary." Is. 40:31
"Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you." Deut. 31:6
"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:5
(This article first posted Aug. 31, 2015)
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/DebbieWebbMcDaniel, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives. Find her also at http://twitter.com/debbmcdaniel and http://www.debbiemcdaniel.com.
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.