REASONS I KNOW PRAYER WORKS FOR THE MILITARY
November 8, 2017
Pray for our military personnel and their families. Pray for wisdom, safety, and encouragement for the work that they do for our country.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Pet 2:9)
Having served in the Army for more than 32 years, as an enlisted man and as a chaplain, I can testify that prayer works for the military. I cover several reasons in my book Beyond Combat, based on my experience as a combat army chaplain in Viet Nam.
Reason # 1: People get saved. The military is where I came to faith in Jesus Christ.
After finishing basic training in 1955, I met Chaplain Burt Hatch. I raised several spiritual questions—all of which he answered by simply taking me to the Bible. Eventually he asked me, “Have you ever personally placed your faith in Christ as your Savior?”
“What do you mean by faith?”
“Jim,” he said, taking a quarter from his pocket, “I’m going to give you this quarter. Do you believe me?”
“Yes, Sir,” I replied. “If you say you’ll give it to me, I believe you will.”
“But,” he continued, “How can you be sure I’ll give it to you?”
“Well, I guess I would have to take your word for it, Sir, and then reach out and take it.”
“Then do it!” he told me.
As I reached out to take the quarter he grasped my hand. “Jim, that is the hand of faith.”
I could have “believed” for a lifetime, but if I had never reached out to take the quarter, it would not have been mine. With a simple prayer, I asked Jesus Christ into my heart and life.
Reason # 2: Wounded soldiers are healed and preserved. As a chaplain in combat, I was privileged to pray for and see God miraculously preserve and heal scores of wounded soldiers.
Lieutenant Pete Arnold was a platoon leader in Company A of the first Battalion of the 503rd of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. I was moving with his unit when it made contact with an enemy unit three times its size. Lieutenant Arnold was seriously wounded with shrapnel lodged in his temple area. He was unconscious and death appeared imminent. Laying hands on him, I prayed in Jesus’ name, that God would heal him. God graciously answered.
Sergeant (E-6) Jose Martinez, in a similar encounter with the Viet Cong, suffered a “sucking chest wound.” He was unconscious and not expected to live. I ran along with the stretcher carrying him to the medical evacuation helicopter. I knelt to pray in his ear, asking God, in Jesus’ name, to miraculously restore him. Two weeks later, I visited Sergeant Martinez in Saigon, alive and on the mend. He remembered my prayer for him.
Another time, my unit was involved in one of the largest single engagements with the Viet Cong. After being ambushed, I joined three other soldiers to bring back a wounded soldier. All of us were wounded; one was killed. Unable to be medevaced until the next day, several of us spent the night praying for each other. Many of us experienced changed lives as God answered our prayers.
Reason # 3: The promises of Psalm 91 are based on the integrity of God Almighty. As a chaplain on a ship transporting my battalion to Viet Nam in 1965, I memorized Psalm 91 for myself and those soldiers entrusted to my spiritual care. It remains one of the most powerful statements of God’s promises, especially for those in the military. I still recite it daily for myself and my family. (By Rev. James M. Hutchens, Ph.D. is Chaplain (Brigadier General) U.S. Army (Ret.) and President of The Jerusalem Connection International. This article is reprinted from The Connecter, published by IFA. To subscribe, contact us at IFA@IFApray.org.)