While praying with other prayer chaplains in Sun City, Arizona recently, I was inspired and uplifted moment after moment after moment! I am so grateful to have been a part of the three day training led by Jeri Royce and Rev. Lei Lanni Burt through Light and Love Ministries. For me it was the third training but it is always new!
One of the most special moments for me was when Jerry Burt shared an experience he had that was related to The Prayer for Protection by James Dillet Freeman. Many of you already know that In 1969, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin carried a copy of that prayer with him on the first manned moon landing.
In 2006, Light and Love Ministries was hosting a Prayer Chaplain Trainer Conference in Tempe, AZ. We had about 200 participants and some of them had brought their spouses along. At our closing dinner, one of the spouses, an older gentleman, walked up to me and said, “Jerry, I want to tell you a story about the Prayer for Protection and I want you to share it with others.” The story he told me moved me beyond words, and now I share it with you.
“On December 25, 1944 I was serving in WWII in the Army division that was fighting in the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne. Our mission was to secure a fuel depot and keep it from being taken by the Germans.
We were down in fox holes and our situation was bleak. We were completely surrounded by the Germans, we had lost 2/3 of our 1800 man division, we were freezing, it was snowing, and the weather prevented supplies or help from getting to us. We truly believed that this is where we would die.
Then suddenly in the distance, we heard the roar of engines and we began to see what appeared to be leaflets falling from the sky. My buddies and I reached out and grabbed them. On one side was the Prayer for Protection and we read “The light of God surrounds you, the love of God enfolds you, the power of God protects you, and the presence of God watches over you, wherever you are God is. By James Dillet Freeman.” We turned it over and read “Hang in there boys! We’re coming to get you.” And it was signed by General George Patton.
We all felt a sense of hope for the first time in days. We didn’t know how we were going to come out of this alive but we believed it was possible. Five days later, General Patton broke through the lines and rescued us! The prayer that seemed to come out of nowhere made it possible for us to hang on. And I want you to see that I still carry it with me today.” And the gentleman pulled out his wallet, removed the tattered card and showed it to me.
“But that’s not the end of the story,” he went on to say. “I wanted to know more about where this Prayer for Protection had come from and the church where this Rev. James Dillet Freeman served. When I returned home from the war, I searched out a Unity church near my home. I went on a Sunday morning and there was this pretty little gal sitting at the greeting table. We introduced ourselves and long story short she became my wife. We’ve been married over 40 years now and she has been a Prayer Chaplain at our church, which is why we are both here today. You see the Prayer for Protection not only saved my life, it brought me to my beautiful wife.”
I thanked him for sharing his story with me and promised that I would share it with others.
This story is written as it was told to Jerry Burt and shared with others with permission.
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