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Prayer is God’s lifeline

By Tim Maracle

On July 20, 2006, I was on my way home for leave from Afghanistan. I couldn’t wait to hug my beautiful wife, Heidi, my 3-year-old daughter, Abby, and meet my new baby girl, Kaitlynn Joy, who had been born just two months earlier.

I sat on my bunk and thought of Heidi’s smiling face as she lifted up Kaitlynn, only a few days old, on a video teleconference just a few weeks before. I was remembering this as I situated my gear after a long day of traveling and prepared for the next 20-hour leg of my journey home to Fort Bragg, N.C. I couldn’t wait.

But in the middle of the night I learned my forward operating base (FOB) I had just left hours before had been attacked by mortars. I called my battalion and was told one of the first sergeants of one of our companies had been killed. He was a close friend.

The next day was a blur as I prepared for a memorial service for my friend. I didn’t know how I was going to get through this.

As I sat down to finish typing out my memorial message, I realized I had received an e-mail. I opened it and saw that it was from one of my many supporters in my home church, Riverside Assembly of God in Methuen, Mass. God woke up this person in the middle of the night to pray for me, and they were wondering if everything was going well.

My eyes filled with tears. This person couldn’t have known what had just happened. The press didn’t even know, and the first sergeant’s family had not yet been notified. But God had used my prayer partner to cover not only me but also my entire battalion in prayer.

I believe the simple prayer from this prayer warrior gave me the physical strength and energy to minister to the 800-plus soldiers, airmen and sailors on my FOB over the next few days. It reminded me that prayer is not only a spiritual discipline, but it can result in a physical capability many don’t see. Many people have told me they have prayed for me and my ministry, and every chance I get I thank them personally for helping me through a very tough time in my life and my ministry as a United States Army chaplain.

This is just one of many times when I learned people prayed for me directly during a combat situation. I write this to let all those who pray for our servicemen and women know that when you pray, real things happen.

I will always remember the blessings God bestowed upon me to minister to His people in a harsh environment, and the many incredible things God did. Who knows what miracles might have been missed if not for those valiant prayers. “If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19, NIV).

Thank you to all who support our service personnel across the globe. You know who you are, but you will never know how much you have done for all of us.

Chaplain (Capt.) TIM MARACLE is currently a student at the Chaplain Captain Career Course at Fort Jackson, S.C.

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