Monday, October 03, 2011

Prayer for Unity

This excerpt from a Prayer for our Country, from the Prayer Book for Jewish Personnel in the Armed Forces of the United States, which I've posted before, is especially fitting in light of what's happening in the nation lately:

"May brotherly love ever be found among all the citizens of our land.  Implant in the hearts of all the people a steadfast purpose to work as one for the safeguarding of freedom, justice and peace."

Pray that today, if you can.

E Pluribus Unum is our motto, after all-- "Out of Many, One"-- and we need to get back to unity out of diversity, not the other way around.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Let Us Pray

The Marines Prayer has been around for some time, and it is a staple of Commands' Religious Programs Corps-wide.

I remember it from my earliest days in boot camp, back in 1986, and I see it regularly in services at chapels and field services where ever I go.

Here is the text of the prayer:

Almighty Father, whose command is over all and whose love never fails, make me aware of Thy presence and obedient to Thy will.

Keep me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty in purpose and in deed and helping me to live so that I can face my fellow Marines, my loved ones and Thee without shame or fear.

Protect my family.

Give me the will to do the work of a Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm. Grant me the courage to be proficient in my daily performance.

Keep me loyal and faithful to my superiors and to the duties my country and the Marine Corps have entrusted to me. Make me considerate of those committed to
my leadership.

Help me to wear my uniform with dignity, and let it remind me daily of the traditions which I must uphold.

If I am inclined to doubt; steady my faith; if I am tempted, make me strong to resist; if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again.

Guide me with the light of truth and grant me wisdom by which I may understand the answer to my prayer.


Seems like we'd have an even better Corps if this prayer were prayed and followed daily in more Marines' lives.

I need to post it on my wall, above my desk, to remind me...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Prayer for Our Country

From the Prayer Book for Jewish Personnel in the Armed Forces of the United States:

God of our fathers, who gives salvation to nations and strength to governments, bless and safeguard our country, the United States of America, and the people who dwell therein.

May brotherly love ever be found among all the citizens of our land. Implant in the hearts of all the people a steadfast purpose to work as one for the safeguarding of freedom, justice, and peace.

Supreme King of kings, protect and help our President. Shield him against all sickness and injury. Grant to him and to all the constituted officers of our government such wisdom and understanding that they may lead our nation in justice and righteousness. In their days and ours may Judah be saved and Israel dwell in safety.

In time of war add:

We beseech You, O God, to shield and protect our armed forces, in the air, on sea, and on land. Bless them with victory. May it be Your will that the dominion of tyranny and cruelty speedily be brought to an end and the kingdom of righteousness be established on earth with liberty and freedom for all mankind. Amen.

This prayer is timeless, and yet seems written for this war.

One of the things it asks for is the implanting in our hearts of a “steadfast purpose to work as one” which is exactly what we need in this critical time. The lack of unity we see in our culture is a bigger weapon than the RPGs and IEDs the insurgents use-- it is delaying victory and causing more Iraqi and American deaths than we’d have if we all worked together for a full and speedy victory. And not having brotherly love has caused divisive and hateful rhetoric to poison our national discourse and sidetrack us from our cause.

And one more thing—this war always has been about more than America. No matter what the conspiracy theorists say, this war’s been about Afghanis, Iraqis, and the whole world. We’re not only fighting for our own interests or freedom, but also for the interests and freedom of ALL. As the prayer says, we are fighting to destroy the dominion of tyranny and cruelty speedily, so that “the kingdom of righteousness be established on earth with liberty and freedom for all mankind.”

Let’s pray for that, and let’s remember it, so that we stay on course and fight the good fight to win.

Lord, grant us success!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I just got orders recently for a year of active duty. I'm excited to get started, and to see what God has in store.

I found this fitting prayer in the General Prayers section of the Marine Corps Devotional Field Book (NAVMC 2765):

6. Prior to a Mission

O God, as we prepare to embark on this mission, we ask your presence to be made known to us anew! Give us wisdom in our decisions, common sense in our actions, discretion in our communications and openness in our attitude as we work together for the freedom of mankind. May your protective arm rest upon the shoulder of each Marine and Sailor in this operation and return us all safely home. Amen.

I also found this prayer for all involved in the war, at home or abroad:

9. For Those in Our Country's Service in Time of War

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, let thy protection be upon all those who are in the service of our country; guard them from all harm and danger of body and soul; sustain and comfort those at home, especially in their hours of loneliness, anxiety, and sorrow; prepare the dying for death and the living for thy service; give success to our arms on land and sea and in the air; and grant unto us and all nations a speedy, just and lasting peace. Amen.

These prayers say it all.

Dear Lord, hear our prayers.
I've just begun a journey which will test me spiritually, more than anything I've ever done. I've just reenlisted in the reserves, to use my artistic skills to create art for the Marine Corps.

I have just recently reported for training in Virginia, and I soon will be deployed overseas.

Of course I'm a bit scared. I am scared of being maimed or killed, as I am sure all marines have been at one time or another. Combat will certainly provide opportunities for me to be afraid.

But there's something else besides death that I'm afraid of. I'm afraid of failing to live up to the high standards of those currently in the field and those who have gone before me.

General Patton, in his famous Normandy speech, said the following about fear:
Every man is frightened at first in battle. If he says he isn't, he's a _______ liar. Some men are cowards, yes! But they fight just the same, or get the hell shamed out of them watching men who do fight who are just as scared. The real hero is the man who fights even though he is scared. Some get over their fright in a minute under fire, some take an hour. For some it takes days. But the real man never lets fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to this country and his innate manhood.

Ultimately, I have no fear of dying, because I know God cares for me and if I should be killed, He has already made it part of His plan for my life.

Here are some scriptures that have been a blessing to me lately:

from Psalm 46:
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

and from Psalm 55:

But I call to God,
and the LORD saves me.

Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.

He ransoms me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.

God will be with me everywhere I go; of that I am sure. And that knowledge is what gives me strength and courage to carry on and to serve well. Knowing that He is an ever-present help in time of trouble makes me secure in any insecure situation.

Lord, Thank You that You will be with me, an Ever-Present Help in time of need. You are Always Faithful to me. Grant me the power and strength to be Always Faithful to You, to my Corps and my country. In Your Son's name, amen.