December 16, 2019
A Special Story for You Today
“General Patton’s Prayer – Many know the story of General Patton’s prayer for better weather in order to more efficiently kill the Germans in the winter of 1944. Few know of his Christmas Greeting that was issued along with the prayer, which he describes in War as I Knew It.
“Contrary to popular belief, the prayer was not ordered to be written during the Battle of the Bulge. It was on the 14th of December that General Patton had the famous exchange with Chaplain O’Neill to write a prayer for good weather and to give a copy to each member of the Third Army. The Chaplain mentioned that it’s not a customary practice to pray for clear weather in order to kill fellow men.
“Patton’s response was direct, ‘Chaplain, are you teaching me theology or are you the Chaplain of the Third Army? I want a prayer.’
“After working out the logistics, each member of the Third Army (approximately 250,000 at the time) was issued a small card on the 22nd of December 1944. By this time, the Battle of the Bulge was underway.
“On one side of the card was the famous prayer:
‘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 Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen.’
“When Patton originally ordered the cards made, some of the General’s men convinced him to include a Christmas greeting for the troops. It was at this time Patton took a seat at his desk beneath the contemporary ceiling fans and penned something special.
“On the reverse side, the card had a personal message from the General:
‘To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I wish a Merry Christmas. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. May God’s blessing rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day.
G.S. Patton, Jr.
Commanding, Third United States Army’
“The next day, the weather cleared and remained perfect for about six days while the Third Army pushed North to relieve the 101st Airborne at Bastogne.
“Upon reviewing the weather, Patton said of the Chaplain, ‘”*** ****! Look at the weather. That O’Neill sure did some potent praying. Get him up here. I want to pin a medal on him.’
“The next day, the Chaplain made it to Patton’s office. He shook the Chaplain’s hand and said, ‘Chaplain, you’re the most popular man in this Headquarters. You sure stand in good with the Lord and the soldiers.’ Chaplain O’Neill then received a Bronze Star Medal.
“On Christmas Day, Patton wrote in his journal that the day ‘dawned clear and cold; lovely weather for killing Germans, although the thought seemed somewhat at variance with the spirit of the day.’ Patton went on to write how they managed to provide every soldier with turkey. Those in the front had turkey sandwiches while everyone else had hot turkey.” (Scott Manning)
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.” (Psalm 133:1-3; ESV)
Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:
- Check out Patton’s boldness to ask for a prayer to be written and to be sure every soldier prayed it.
- Ask the Lord for greater unity in the group of Believers you are connected with. Worship with them, pray with them, and celebrate Jesus with them from this place of unity.
- Honor those who lead you in pray. Pray for them and bless them today.
- As we enter this Christmas season, remember our men and women on the battlefield. Pray that they receive good weather and all that they need to defeat evil and protect the innocent today.
A prayer you can pray:
Father, we don’t know if General Patton knew You or not, but, never-the-less, he recognized the need to humble himself and seek Your assistance to win the battles his troops were facing. Thank You for his example of leadership. He honored You. He honored the chaplain that wrote the prayer. And He acknowledged Your place in the winning of the battles they were engaged in. Please help us to think of You moment by moment and look to You, as General Patton did, to win all of the battles we are facing. Give us the faith he shows us here. Give us the heart of gratefulness he shows us. Help us to look to You first and foremost. We pray this for our modern troops on active duty around the world today. May they seek You daily, and especially at this Christmas season. May they put all of their hope and trust in You, Jesus. May You give them the advantage against our enemies. May they be successful in every battle and come home to their families safely. We bless them today in Jesus’ name. Amen.
United prayer has shifted battles and shifted history! We will pray until we see victory.
1 Manning, Scott. December 17, 2006 https://scottmanning.com/content/general-pattons-prayer/
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