By Edwin Crayton
We Americans have probably never washed our hands as much as we have over the past month. People are trying everything possible to protect themselves from The Coronavirus. Throughout the history of this nation, Americans have faced many threats to our national security. In practically every one of those threats, America has bowed and turned to prayer. The one that sticks out in my mind is World War II. Now, I hope it is obvious to you that I am not old enough to have been around to witness that period firsthand. But my parents and elders have shared the stories from that critical era when the nation’s very existence was in doubt. The Nazis, Italians and the Japanese were on the move and their plan was to wipe out Democracy and end all freedom worldwide. By 1941, they were taking over nations, sometimes in a few weeks. In December of that year, on the seventh day, Japan sneaked up and sucker punched America by launching a deadly attack at Pearl Harbor. That woke the nation up. From Pearl Harbor to the last days of D-Day, Americans gathered daily and weekly and prayed. Prayer was the one weapon most American armed themselves with. In fact, it was the weapon of choice for everyone from the man on the street to the man in charge of the White House in Washington. I have recently seen videos and heard powerful audio recordings of moving prayers by President Franklin Roosevelt, the sitting president throughout the duration of World War II. The most memorable was the one he prayed as our soldiers invaded the beaches of France on D-Day in the Summer of 1944. Here are key excerpts.
Mr. Roosevelt prayed: “Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.”
Later he said, “Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips. invoking Thy help to our efforts. Give us strength, too, strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.”
The president then asked Americans to be “stout” in their hearts. He taught them they would have to be tough and courageous, because the enemy was very strong. He ended the prayer with these powerful words: “With thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy.” The prayers worked and we did indeed prevail through sacrifice and faith in God.
It occurs to me that you can actually almost take the words for enemy in that prayer and replace them with the word coronavirus and it just kind of fits what we are facing right now in 2020. The point is, just as the nation had to endure the Nazis and a bloody world war that costs millions of lives, we can also depend on the very same God to help us overcome our fears and face an unseen enemy which is no less vicious or threatening. If you doubt that just flip on the TV or go online to see the daily updates.
Yes, of course let’s listen to the medical experts and as let’s each do our part as the nation did back then. It’s true in this particular war, clean hands are weapons. But hands folded in prayer to God in Jesus’ name are even more effective.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it will be yours.” –Jesus speaking in Mark 11:22-24