The War Prayer

Stuart Lawrence stuartwl at
Thu Mar 27 15:45:25 MST 2003

March 27, 2003
House Calls for a Day of Prayer on War

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives called on Thursday
for a rare national day of prayer and fasting to secure divine blessings
for U.S. troops at war in Iraq and protection for Americans from

The non-binding resolution, approved by a vote of 346 to 49, urged
President Bush to designate a day.

A few members voted for the measure even though they said they found it
a little too theological. Twenty-three lawmakers voted present,
indicating a measure of discomfort.


The resolution recognized "the public need for fasting and prayer in
order to secure the blessings and protection of Providence for the
people of the United States and our armed forces.''


The War Prayer (1905)

by Mark Twain

..."You have heard your servant's prayer – the uttered part of it. I am
commissioned by God to put into words the other part of it – that part
which the pastor, and also you in your hearts, fervently prayed
silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You
heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is
sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those
pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed
for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow
victory – must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening
spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He
commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to
battle – be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from
the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our
God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells;
help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their
patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks
of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble
homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their
unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out
roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of
their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun
flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn
with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it –
for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their
lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water
their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their
wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source
of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore
beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

(After a pause) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The
messenger of the Most High waits."

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was
no sense in what he said.

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