War Prayer

“O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle — be Thou near them!  With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe.  O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells, help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead, help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain.   Help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire, help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief, help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unbefriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun-flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it — for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!  We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts.  Amen.”

— Mark Twain, “The War Prayer”

3 thoughts on “War Prayer”

  1. My eschatology takes a literal view of the Millennial reign of Christ from Jerusalem. I rather suspect we’ll be beating those swords into plowshare (Isa 2) at that point.

  2. Homo Sapiens have a very poor record, I fear. Western, Christian or otherwise. Sigh…….. I’ve just finished Yuval Harari “Sapiens”. It a thoughtful overview of the history of our species. He’s a belligerent atheist and evolutionist, so, parts of his argument require genuine patience to endure. But he makes a fascinating case for our predisposition to violence and domination. His macro view of history is also useful, in some respects, though not entirely reliable.

    1. Yes. And the worst part, I think, is the way we cast a religious, “Christian” veneer over our flag-waving, nationalistic impulses to war.

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