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Oliver North gives three specific ways to pray for U.S. military

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–As believers look to pray for those in the military who are still in harm’s way in Iraq each day, Lt. Col. Oliver North has identified three main prayer requests, drawn from his experience on today’s battlefield.

North, who spoke at the Sept. 26 chapel service at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, Tenn., told Baptist Press that Christians should pray for the soldiers’ spiritual safety, for their physical safety and for the leaders of the United States.

“I want people to know how extraordinary these youngsters are,” he said. “That’s why I talk about them the way I do and that’s why I write about them the way I do. And there are a lot of folks who are going to give a lot of credit to the generals and the colonels and the folks that led the operation, and they deserve a lot of credit, … but the guys who carried it out … are just extraordinary.”

Prayer for the spiritual safety of the soldiers who were collectively successful in the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s government is of utmost importance, North said.

“There are none of us who are believers who don’t know folks who don’t know Jesus,” he told Baptist Press. “So my prayer in all I do is that as a consequence of my behavior — the words that I’ve written or the things that I do, the way I act — that someone else will come to know my Savior, Jesus.”

The most important prayer is for a soldier’s salvation, North said. They need to know where they’re going and why they’re going there, and they need to have no fear of getting lost on the way, North said.

“I think the most important thing for those of us who are believers, those of us who know the salvation that Jesus Christ offers us, is to pray for the salvation of others because we all know guys and gals who don’t know Him,” he said.

And the need to pray for their salvation is all the more vital when they’re in danger, he said.

“And they’re in harm’s way,” he said.

Second, believers should pray for the soldiers’ physical safety and pray that godly men and women would surround them, North said.

“I’m telling youngsters all the time [that] an awful lot of life is who you hang around with, and one of the great things in my life is I’m surrounded by godly men,” he told Baptist Press. “… We can encourage each other, we can admonish each other, we can confront one another with first of all the Word … when we need a little bucking up, as we say in the Marines.”

So as people pray for the soldiers to be out of the direct path of danger, they can also pray for them to be surrounded by people who will keep them on track.

“The temptations of life are such that the more you’re surrounded by people who know the Lord the better your chance of getting through it without” messing it up, North said.

Third, because the military is directly impacted by the decisions made by leaders of the United States, North believes people should pray for those leaders.

“Quite frankly, I worked for a president that I revered and who was attacked a lot by the media — they called him lazy, they called him a cowboy, all that kind of stuff — but I’ve never seen anyone attacked as viciously as this president,” said North, who served on President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council staff.

He believes the criticism of President Bush in part goes back to a presidential debate when a moderator asked Bush who his heroes were.

“And instantly he responded, ‘Jesus Christ,'” North recalled. “And I can remember the moderator being a little stunned and saying, ‘Why?’ And his answer was very simple and it was, ‘Because He changed my heart.'”

North said most Americans probably don’t understand that concept, although he thinks people in the media who have attacked President Bush do understand it, and they’re afraid of it.

“They understand that that was a very simple profession of his faith, and they know he means it,” North said. “They know it’s absolute sincerity. And that scares them because they don’t share that belief.”

He said in large part, the attack on the current commander in chief can be traced back to the words of Jesus, “Before they hated you, they hated Me.”

North is working on an upcoming book which will be a compilation of what people have observed of the men and women serving in the Armed Forces today and of the victories achieved in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said he thinks the book will be a reassurance to the American people in some respects.

“When you see things like the professions of faith that I saw over there, guys just sitting down in a fighting hole or a trench line or their back up against the wall of a building they’ve just captured, you know they get a break and they break out the Word,” he said. “It’s very, very reassuring.”
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: WAYS TO PRAY and ADVOCATING FOR SOLDIERS.

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  • Erin Curry