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Prayer in a Time of War

Half a world away, Americans are fighting in Iraq. They are our coworkers, friends, brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives far from home doing a dangerous job. We must support them any way we can.

In this column, I wrote a few weeks ago to say that I did not think it was the time for war. But having been opposed to war at that time is not the same thing as being against our soldiers, sailors, and Marines. I was for them then and I want to be behind them supporting them all the more now that they are placing themselves in harm’s way in service of our nation.

It seems as if there is nothing that we can do to help them. Of course, we can pray, but at first that seems like such a small thing. My prayers are so little compared to the great need. Yet, through prayer, we are trusting in a greater reality, a deeper truth.

The biblical scholar Walter Wink describes prayer as “spiritual defiance of what is, in the name of what God has promised. It infuses the air of a time yet to be into the suffocating atmosphere of the present. When we pray,” Wink says, “we are not sending a letter to a celestial White House where it is sorted among piles of others. We are engaged in an act of co-creation with God.”

In this time of war, we need to join with fellow Christians in praying for our troops, praying for innocent Iraqi citizens, and praying for a deeper lasting peace for Iraq and us.

Perhaps it is only in times like this when there is nothing tangible we can do, that we learn to trust God the most. There is nothing else we can do and so we pray. Yet, prayer is no small thing at any time and especially in time of war. Prayer is the greatest thing we can do in all circumstances.

Remember the words Jesus used when he taught his disciples to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In prayer, we ask and believe that God’s will can and will be done in the here and now. Through prayer we join in daring to imagine the world as God imagines it and pray for that deeper healing to come to our broken and torn world. We pray for God’s will to be done in and through us fallible humans.

Experience has taught me that prayer works. When we stop trusting in ourselves, in other people and things long enough to really turn to and ask that God’s will be done; we find amazing transformations can occur. We trust. We pray. God acts and a new reality comes into being.

I don’t understand it, but I know that it is so. I also know that it is what we most need now in this time of fear and anxiety. We need to trust God to bring peace among nations, peace in our community, peace in our families and peace in our hearts.

To assist those who are not sure how to pray at this time, I suggest King of Peace Church’s online prayer room at There you will find some suggested prayers and can add names to the list of people serving in the Gulf region for whom we are in prayer.

In closing, I want to pray for those in combat now:

Jesus Christ, who in the hour of your death was recognized as Savior by a soldier standing nearby: be to those whose bear arms now, a sign of saving hope. In circumstances of danger and ever-pressing fear keep alive in them steadfastness and courage. Preserve in them when tested, righteous and humane values; and uphold their good wills until they are released from the awful necessities of human strife. Amen.

(The Rev. Frank Logue is pastor of King of Peace Episcopal Church in Kingsland.)

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