A prayer before the storm

War in Iraq

March 23, 2003

CAMP PENNSYLVANIA, Kuwait -- The question was simple: "What do you want to pray for in this battle situation?"

About 123 members of the Army's 101st Airborne Division stopped by the chaplain's tent in this desert military outpost to record their private thoughts in a prayer journal, a purple spiral book with lined paper.

These soldiers, part of the division's 3rd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, have found much to hope and wish for, and also to worry about.

Some pray for an unborn child, others for humanity. Some pray for Iraqis, and some pray for themselves as they draw closer to possible combat.

Together, their sentiments help capture the mood of 700 soldiers and commanders on the verge of joining the war against Iraq.

Excerpts follow, minus names and other identifying information.

-- Scott Calvert

"What do you want to pray for in this battle situation?"

World peace.

My sister-in-law's struggle with life.

The health of my wife and my son during and after the child birth process.

Pray for all the soldiers in the Battle Force and we make it through the mission to come.

For wife and family and for our enemies on the battlefield, for while we must defeat them in battle we hold no ill will in this life or next.

Please pray that this will be over soon and everyone will be home with their families.

For all my soldiers and all soldiers. My wife, who is also here. Both of our parents -- help them not to worry so much.

I pray for all the service men and women, the innocent Iraqi people and pray that we all make it through these hard times.

I pray that a resolution will come to our present conflict with minimal suffering, and swiftly.

Pray for victory and life after the war.

Pray for strength, that all confusion be gone, and peace within our selves.

Pray for restraint from getting angry at others when put together in small places (tents) with so many things going on.

Pray for all Americans, their families, fallen men from twin towers, all my fellow soldiers and anyone that wants peace.

Pray for those who are serving now and those who have served in the past, and sacrificed everything for the freedom of our country.

2nd Plt. Marauders come back together as 1.

My pregnant wife, my son and my family.

We all come back with the same men to our left and right sitting next to us on the plane.

Safe return.

Strength and a straight aim for everyone.

Quick victory.

Pray for peace, not war.

Protection against any enemies we may face.

For my stress injury in my foot to heal before we fight.

Pray that we are granted the opportunity to be the vengeful hand of a righteous God.

All of the 101st and innocent civilians in Baghdad.

Pray for the safety of me and my family and that my child on the way is safe.

Pray for my family's safety and my safety. My family is about to go on vacation. Also pray for our leaders to make the right decision.

I would like to have a prayer sent to my family members and all my friends. Also that I get to see them again.

Pray that I remember my training and be able to save everybody's life.

Pray for my wife and my family back home, also pray for my brother who is also with the 101st.

Pray for my little girl and my wife that they'll be OK no matter what happens.

I pray for my soldiers' safety and their ability to do their duty. May an angel of protection and God's hand cover the battalion. ... I pray for all the children of the battalion, may they be comforted as they await the return of their fathers. And I ask that God keep my mind clear and my courage deep as I make decisions that will put my soldiers in harm's way.

I do not want a prayer for me because in some ways I don't deserve one. Pray for humanity and pray that we do not destroy ourselves.

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