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    Morning over the bay

    A Soldier’s Prayer

    By Aleksander Zatzepta

    May 29, 2017
    • Karen D'Anselmi

      A precious document. Thank you!

    • burl self

      a prayer for all US Army and all armies 11B.10 soldiers

    • Michael A. Marrero

      This prayer reminds me of the letter from Sullivan Ballou to his wife on the eve of the first Battle of Bull Run.

    • Michael Motsko

      Thanks be to God for guiding the hands of the discoverer of that deeply moving prayer of commitment before battle. When I read this "fox-hole" prayer, I thought about the gospel reflected in it--not at all intending to minimize heroic soldiership, but to feel myself as the congregant listening to the sermon of that brave soul calling me to trust in the Prince of God's Shalom in the midst of the spiritual, social, economic and emotional wars that surround us. Peace.

    • Diane T-C

      These words rekindled my awe of the One Who inspired them. Thank you, Plough!

    • Douglas Thajn

      This is so good - one of the things Winston Churchill said was " There are times when all men pray" I believe that in the innermost part of our hearts, no man really is an atheist.

    In 1972, in an underground newspaper of the Samizdat, there was published the text of a prayer. It had been found in the jacket of a Russian soldier, Aleksander Zatzepta, composed just a few moments before the battle in which he lost his life in the Second World War.

    O God, hear me! Not once in my life have I ever spoken to you, but today I feel the urge to make you an act of worship.

    You know that even from my infancy they always told me that you didn’t exist … I, stupid, believed them.

    I had never marveled at your great works.

    But tonight I looked up from out of a shell hole at the heaven of stars above me!

    And fascinated by their brilliant magnificence
    All at once I understood how terrible the deception …

    I don’t know, O God, if you will give me your hand.
    But I say this to you, and you understand.

    Isn’t it strange, that in the midst of a terrible inferno, the light should appear to me and I should have discovered you?

    Beyond this I have nothing to say to you. I am happy just because I have known you.

    At midnight we must attack,
    But I have no fear, you are looking out for us.

    It is the signal. I have to go. It was wonderful to be with you. I want also to tell you, and you know it, that the battle will be hard: it could be that, in this very night, I’ll come to knock at your door.

    And even though up to now I haven’t been your friend,
    When I come, will you let me come in?

    But what’s this? Am I crying?

    My Lord God, you see what has happened: only now I’ve begun to see clearly …

    Farewell, my God, I am going. It’s scarcely possible that I’ll return.

    Strange; Death now has no fear for me.

    From Le preghiere più belle del mondo, ed. Valerio Cattana (Milano: Mondadori, 1999). Translated by Jim Christensen.

    soldier from the first world war
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