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In strife, prayer key to unknown

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So much has been written and expressed about the current coronavirus crisis that it would take days to consume it all. The one factor that prevails about this threat to our nation, and indeed the world, is that of the “unknown”. Diligent experimenting in labs across the nation seek the solution to what will work against the unknown and provide a remedy.

This has been different from all other threats to mankind. It has caused an eerie absence of activity closing down major facets of our society and our business and financial assets.

Anyone who studies history (His story) surely is looking at the meaning arising from this crisis. The Creator of the universe, and everything in it, does not cause crisis, but none happens without His knowledge and His allowing it. A statement heard during these days is “He’s got it,” meaning it’s under God’s control.

Have you noticed, as have I and my family, that spring has begun right on schedule. Flowers, trees and shrubs are bursting forth with a special brilliance. The weather has for the most part been calm and balmy. For some months now I have marveled at some of the most beautiful sunsets ever observed. It’s as if our Creator is whispering a message through these things we’ve come to take so for granted.

Just perhaps, He’s saying to us there is a purpose in what’s happening and I long for you to hear it. Surely He is very displeased with the vast forsaking of values in our society. A God of justice is watching and longing for His people to repent of the sin crushing our society. It would be wise for all of us to hear what he may be warning us of unless we change.

The one key to end the current threat is prayer. If ever there was a time when America needed to pray it’s now. History records many crisis times when prayer brought us through.

Gen. George Patton’s best known characteristic is not that of a religious leader. However, one of the monumental answers to prayer was in response to his calling on Chief Chaplain James O’Neill of Patton’s Third Army on December 8, 1944.

Weather in the Lorraine region of France was rain, rain, and more rain that bogged down the army’s progress. Chaplain O’Neill answered the phone. “This is Gen. Patton,” said the voice on the phone. “Do you have a good prayer for weather? We must do something about these rains if we are to win the war”. O’Neill promised to provide a prayer and did so on a 3-by-5 card:

“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for the battle. Graciously harken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the opposition and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.”

Patton read the prayer. He told O’Neill to have 250,000 copies printed and “see that every man in the Third Army gets one”.

“Chaplain,” Patton said to O’Neill, “sit down a minute. I am a strong believer in prayer … between the plan and the operation there is always the unknown. The “unknown” spells defeat or victory, success or victory. It is the reaction of the actor to the ordeal when it actually comes.”

Long story short, prayer was answered. The rains ceased. Patton’s Third Army went on to win the battles — and the war.

In our “unknown” faced in today’s crisis, prayer is the key. All America needs to use that key to the Creator who has the answer.


J. Russell Capps is a Republican former member of the N.C. House.

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