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An Army Chaplain’s Prayer for his Troops

Remembering the Fallen, Upholding the Valiant

Reprinted from Alliance Life Magazine, February 2002

The U.S. Army recently gave permission to reprint a prayer written more than 40 years ago for Special Forces members. Command Chaplain Lt. Col. Tim Willoughby said, “The prayer has been a very important part of our culture here.”

The prayer is inscribed in a stained-glass window above the entry to the Special Forces chapel at Ft. Bragg, N.C.

According to the Dayton Daily News, Alliance chaplain John Stevey was an Army chaplain at Ft. Bragg when he wrote the prayer to encourage the Green Berets. The wallet-sized prayer was to remind the troops “of the spiritual nature of what they were doing,” Stevey said.

The prayer now accompanies Special Forces troops deployed in support of operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The prayer appears on T-shirts and sweatshirts and is sold at the fort’s JFK museum.

Stevey’s goal was to remind the Special Forces members of their dependence on God and their higher mission. He wanted to “remind the soldiers that they are not just brutes, that there is a higher project they are working on—to defend the defenseless and free the oppressed.”

Chaplain Willoughby said the prayer “strikes a chord with Special Forces soldiers who acknowledge God as their source of strength.” The Special Forces prayer is an important weapon carried by these elite military members in their role in the fight against terrorism.

Special Forces Prayer

Almighty God, Who art the Author of liberty and the Champion of the oppressed, hear our prayer.

We, the men of the Special Forces, acknowledge our dependence upon Thee in the preservation of human freedom.

Go with us as we seek to defend the defenseless and to free the enslaved.

May we ever remember that our nation, whose motto is “In God We Trust,” expects that we shall acquit ourselves with honor, that we may never bring shame upon our faith, our families, or our fellow men.

Grant us wisdom from Thy mind, courage from Thine heart, strength from Thine arm, and protection by Thine hand.

It is for Thee that we do battle, and to Thee belongs the victor’s crown. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power and glory, forever, AMEN.

This Memorial Day, let’s honor the memory of troops and their families who have made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, and pray for those, including our chaplains, who willingly place themselves in harm’s way to defend that freedom.