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Taking Time To Pray
Posed for battle on the brow of a hill about two miles from Chattanooga road, Tennessee, Chaplain William W. Lyle of the Eleventh Ohio rode up to Colonel P. P. Lane and ...

Taking Time to Pray

Posed for battle on the brow of a hill about two miles from Chattanooga road, Tennessee, Chaplain William W. Lyle of the Eleventh Ohio rode up to Colonel P. P. Lane and asked for five minutes to pray with the men before the battle of Chickamauga in September 1863. Lane, recognizing the encouraging effect of Lyle on his men, suggested that Lyle could take time for a brief service with them. A correspondent writes of that touching day:

… The chaplain rode up in the front of the line, and the colonel gave the order which, on being executed, formed the regiment, in two divisions, with the chaplain in the center. Without dismounting, he addressed the troops in a clear, loud voice that sounded strangely amid the loud explosions of the artillery and rattle of musketry.

“It is but little I can do for you,” said he, “in the hour of battle, but there is one thing I will do—I will pray for you. And there are thousands all over the land praying for you this morning, and God will hear them. You must now pray, too; for God is a hearer of prayer. And if this is the last time I shall ever speak to you, or if these are the last words of Christian comfort you shall ever hear, I want to tell you, dear comrades, that God loves you. I pray God to cover your heads in the battle storm. I pray that he may give you brave hearts and strong hands today. Be brave, be manly!” …

With uncovered head the General rode up to the regiment and remained until the conclusion of the brief services. At the moment they were concluded he uttered a hearty Amen, which had a thrilling effect. Grasping the chaplain’s hand and shaking it warmly, while a tear glistened on his cheek, he was heard to exclaim, “Sir, I am glad I was here to join with you!” And instantly rode off, followed by his staff.

Five minutes later the troops moved forward and engaged the enemy in battle. Prayer gave them the courage to face the enemy.

Prayer covers your head in the battle storms. God hears prayer, for he listens for the cries of his children.

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

John 17:15


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