Footsteps in Faith: Prayer is a powerful way to close the distance

| August 18, 2017 | 1 Comment


Chaplain (Capt.) Shawn Lee
1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment
2nd Inf. Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Several years ago, a close friend of mine deployed to Iraq during the peak of combat operations. I learned that his fiancée had broken up with him in the middle of his deployment – and over email at that.

I knew he would be devastated, but this was also the same day that I knew that he would be on a potentially dangerous mission where he needed to focus on the risks surrounding him.

I played out several horrifying scenarios in my mind, and I never felt so helpless as to know he was hurting and to know that I couldn’t help. I was otherwise helpless as I prayed anxious, heartbroken and fearful prayers. I could not stop praying until he was able to call me hours later.

Serving in the military with Soldiers and family members from around the world, I have prayed for families I have never met facing disease, death, earthquakes, war and other tragedies – and we often pray these prayers from thousands of miles away.

When someone you love is hurting through a crisis, being separated from them can make the pain feel even worse.

Distance can intensify pain
Many of us in Hawaii did not grow up here, and have family, friends and other loved ones back on the mainland, or even further away. Whether you flew here or grew here, it does not take much distance to feel separated from those you love.

Even with modern technology, the Internet and social media, we may still wait anxiously until we hear that our loved ones have made it through whatever trial or trouble they face. Until we receive the good news, our lives might seem to pause as we wait for information from around the world.

It’s never easy to be far from loved ones who hurt; yet, we know that we can pray to the same God who is near us and is also with our loved ones far away. The assurance that God can give us is that he remains the same God here in the middle of the Pacific as he is over on the Mainland.

Chaplain support
You always have access to a listening ear, and if you need a physical reminder, seek out your local chaplain. But even without the presence of a physical ear to hear you, we can trust that our prayers are heard by someone who loves us, cares for us and is always ready to give us hope.

A weapon of war can only be effective for a limited distance. Rifle effectiveness is measured in meters, artillery in kilometers and helicopters in flying miles. But there is no maximum effective range for your prayers to God.

The psalmist in Psalm 139:8 writes, “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”

When all you can do is to pray, you learn that the best you can do is to pray.


Category: Standing Columns

Comments (1)

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  1. John says:

    Shawn, thank you so much for this article. I came across this while looking at earthquake reports on a weather app! The chaplains core is awesome, and your work is so essential! Please keep up the good work.

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