The Power of Prayer…a Soldier’s Journey
In honor of this National Day of Prayer, I’d like to share with you the Power of Prayer.
I graduated from college in August 2001. A month later, the tragic events of 9/11 unfolded and changed my life forever.
Before attending college, I was an enlisted man in the Army. In the wake of such a catastrophic event, I felt the need to serve once again; however, that didn’t happen right away.
Foolishly, I’d quit my job at Kroger six months prior to graduation with the rationale that I’d have no trouble finding employment upon graduation. In fact, I anticipated having a job prior to graduation. Both were miscalculations on my part.
I’d saved enough money to make ends meet as long as no monkey wrenches entered the equation. Unfortunately, the monkey wrenches kicked in the door and brought baboon hammers with them.
To say times were tough is like saying Harvey Updyke likes Alabama.
I experienced everything from an eviction to a blown transmission to harassing phone calls from bill collectors to strained relationships with loved ones. If it was negative, there’s a good chance I experienced it.
My credit got so bad that I got turned down for a paper route. Times were tough.
Along this dark journey, I’d often find myself in prayer, simply asking the Lord to help me make it. At the time, I thought it meant I was asking Him to absolve me of the challenges in my life. In hindsight, He did exactly what I asked of Him. One day at a time, He helped me make it.
I reported to Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning, Georgia, on September 11, 2002.
As my luck would have it, I was assigned to Alpha Company, notoriously known as “Alphatraz”, for a grueling 14 weeks of training.
I’m not exactly sure when, where, or how but sometime early on I injured my right knee. What initially began as mild discomfort would eventually become unbearably excruciating pain.
I was hesitant about going on sick call, because an extended profile, which restricts physical activity, would cause me to miss training and to likely be recycled to another company.
The culminating event of this ordeal took place in the wee hours of a chilly Fort Benning morning as we started what was to be a relatively short road march fully equipped with ruck sacks and training weapons known as rubber ducks.
Within a matter of minutes, I was using the rubber duck as a crutch as tears streamed down my face. I was forced to abandon the march and take refuge in the truck that was following our formation.
Make no mistake about it; the pain was immense but the tears had more to do with the trials and tribulations I’d experienced over the past year coming to a head combined with a real sense of hopelessness.
By the time I got to sick call that morning, my knee was about three times its normal size. I was given an initial 10-day profile and would indeed be recycled. I was devastated.
I prayed that night. I mean, I really prayed. I felt connected in a way in which I have only experienced on one other occasion. Perhaps one day, I’ll share that story.
As usual, the lights were abruptly turned on the next morning at “o dark 30.” Upon first call each day, we had only five minutes to be standing outside in formation ready to start the day.
As I readied myself to jump down from the top bunk, I grimaced while anticipating the agonizing pain that would soon follow, but much to my surprise, I stuck that landing like Mary Lou Retton at the ’84 Summer Olympics in LA. There was no pain. Zero. Nil. Nothing. The swelling had disappeared, too.
I was astonished by what appeared to be a miraculous healing but wasn’t completely convinced so I maintained my profile for the remainder of that day.
The next day, however, I returned to sick call and convinced the doctor to rescind my profile. Although there were other speed bumps along the way, none of them involved a bum knee.
I went on to graduate from Officer Candidate School and was sworn in as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army on January 10, 2003.
The pinning ceremony with my mother and my “grandpa.”
I can’t believe it’s been 10 years.
The day I raised my right hand and stated the oath of office is undoubtedly the proudest moment of my life, and without blinking an eye, I can say that it never would have happened without the power of prayer.
The power of prayer got me to and through OCS and has allowed me to serve admirably as a commissioned officer for the past decade, which includes three tours of duty in Iraq.
Prayer fuels me daily and is a whole lot cheaper than that stuff you pump into your vehicle.
Without it, I hate to think where I’d be.