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Praying By Name
“Several events occurred between February and June 2003, while I was in and around Iraq that brought home to me the awesome power of God and how he works through his ...

Praying by Name

Cdr. Rob Thomson, United States Navy

“Several events occurred between February and June 2003, while I was in and around Iraq that brought home to me the awesome power of God and how he works through his people,” Commander Rob Thomson explained of his deployment to Iraq.

The USS Boxer arrived in the North Arabian Gulf the third week of February 2003. Thomson spent the next month preparing for battle in Iraq by pre-staging equipment and supplies in Kuwait. No one knew when the war would start, but they had to be ready when the call came. The plan was to send the Marines aboard the USS Boxer into Iraq through helicopters aboard the ship. Thomson’s job was to plan and execute operations. Electronic communications proved invaluable.

“We did a lot of coordinating in chat rooms. I never experienced that way of operating before. Each area of operations had a chat room. So I would pull up about four to six chat rooms and watch as the operation’s logistics unfolded in near real time,” he said.

Although not useful for developing battle plans, chat rooms proved highly effective for executing operations “because it allowed a large volume of information to pass easily and quickly and bypass rigid command structure. Information just went out,” he said.

Electronic communication also allowed Thomson to keep up with his family in San Diego. Through emails, Thomson learned how his wife Kinuko was doing. One day after taking Alex to therapy, Kinuko came home and found dinner on her doorstep. Ladies from their church supplied her with meals nearly every day during Thomson’s absence. One church member with a knack as a handyman consistently offered his services, which gave Kinuko peace of mind if something broke at the house.

However, even in a world brought closer through instant communication, snail mail brought some of the most soothing words of support.

“I received countless cards and letters from friends and relatives all over the world.”

What stood out to Thomson was how personal these letters were. He received cards and letters from relatives he hadn’t seen in years, members of their churches, and people he didn’t know. He received church bulletins with his name printed in them. People weren’t just promising to pray for the troops. They were praying for him by name.

“This was tremendously uplifting. I received an indescribable peace in the midst of the chaos of war knowing that thousands of people were praying for me by name. It was a comforting feeling knowing that all of those people were lifting me up to the Almighty God.”


Thank you for guiding me and embracing me by name. Direct me to the name of a service member so I may pray for them by name.

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