Today Alan leaves for Iraq—a soldier fulfilling his calling. It must be very hard for his wife and children who won’t see him again for almost a year. Our church family encircled them in prayer last Sunday and will continue to support Chris and the kids in the way that families do when a soldier leaves for duty. Prayer will be our greatest gift to them.
Over the years we’ve had others from our church deployed on military duty. I have always loved to pray for these folks and their families. One young woman presented us with an American flag after escaping from an impossible situation during a mission in Afghanistan. She knew the church intercessors had prayed her through to safety.
I found two Celtic prayers that share a soldier’s heart for himself and his family. I think they provide a guide to how we can pray for those who go and those who are left behind.
A soldier’s prayer for his family
Give them peace to know I am unharmed.
Give them hope to know I will return.
Give them patience to wait and courage to endure the waiting.
Give them strength so that they will not grow weary.
A soldier’s prayer from St. Patrick’s Breastplate
I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead, his eye to watch, his might to stay, his ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach, his hand to guide, his shield to ward; the Word of God to give me speech, his heavenly host to be my guard.
Against the demon snares of sin, the vice that gives temptation force, the natural lusts that war within, the hostile ones that mar my course; or few or many, far or nigh, in every place, and in all hours, against their fierce hostility, I bind to me these holy powers.
Against all Satan’s spells and wiles, against false words of heresy, against the knowledge that defiles, against the heart’s idolatry, against the wizard’s evil craft, against the death wound and the burning, the choking wave and poisoned shaft, protect me Christ, till your returning.
I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me: God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s host to secure me: against snares of devils, against temptations of vices, against inclinations of nature, against everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.
Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
Remember to pray for our soldiers and their families. They would appreciate it. (And please pass this post on to those you know serving in the military and their families–just scroll down to the “share and enjoy” buttons a few inches below.)
In Him together, Susan Gaddis
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Happened along this as I wait in Limerick, Ireland for our CD-10 to be fixed. It may be a few days. In the mean time I am enjoying looking out over the beautiful countryside just outside of Limerick.
I love these poems. Thanks so much for sharing them.