Are you longing for easier days and more palatable dilemmas? The tough realization that I am arriving at is that I, and you, are not called to that kind of existence or influence. At most the warm and fuzzies is to be our atypical experience in this fallen, hostile world. We, as spiritual influencers, are actually deposited here by God Himself for the adverse seasons more than any other! As I wind down from our family’s annual vacation filled with meaningful memories and physical/spiritual renewal, I am more determined than ever to reengage in the spiritual battle. A spiritual battle, by the way, that cannot fully be embraced or won without prayer. Intentional prayer. Selfless prayer. Out of the malaise of “mainstream” kind of prayer.
In my leisure reading over the past few weeks, I came across a story from an original member of the SAS, Great Britain’s secret special forces that sabotaged the Nazis and changed the nature of war forever. The man’s name was Andre Zirnheld, a man who died in battle on July 27 (ironically the exact month and day of when this is originally posted) in 1942. Moments prior to his death in battle, the twenty-nine-year-old French philosopher turned to his second in command and said these words, “I am going to leave you. Everything is in order within me.” Wow! How did this man possess such internal structure during one of the most chaotic and divisive periods of human history…kind of like we are navigating right now?
The simply but profound answer to that question was discovered by his subordinates in his belongings back in the camp, a notebook that contained a poem written by this quiet, steady hero. Andre’s poetic plea has since become known as the “paratrooper’s prayer” and adopted as the official poem of French airborne forces.
I ask you, O Lord, to give me
What I cannot obtain for myself.
Give me, my Lord, what you have left.
Give me what no one asks of you.
I do not ask for repose
Nor for tranquility
Of body or soul.
I ask not for riches,
Nor success, nor even health.
My Lord, you are asked for such things so much
That you cannot have any more of them.
Give me, my God, what you have left.
Give me what others don’t want.
I want uncertainty and doubt.
I want torment and battle.
And give them to me absolutely, O Lord,
So that I can be sure to have them always.
For I will not always have courage
To ask for them from you.
Give me, my God, what you have left.
Give me what others do not want.
But give me also the bravery,
And the strength and the faith.
For these are things, O Lord,
That only you can give.
While not a perfect prayer, what would happen if a new wave of “paratrooper” pastors, parents, church members, and civic/business leaders would jump out of the packed plane of ease and prayerfully ask God to win a tough battle or two through them? If those consumed with beating back temporal tyrants alone can pray this prayer, should not we who claim to be soldiers of the cross of Jesus more readily do the same? The hymnist adds to our thoughts in Am I A Soldier of the Cross these convicting lines:
“Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize
And sailed through bloody seas?”
In these tumultuous times, drop the give-me-flowery-beds-of-ease supplications. Ask the Lord of Hosts to give you a battle station. One that you will find has very little competition for it or intrinsic comfort in it. I challenge you to join me in asking for it. And as you do, I assure you that right there you will discover your God-ordained destiny-something you will never see if you keep your head down in safe-and-comfy mode. A destiny that will not only beat back the enemy but inspire the next generation to “tandem jump” their way into replenishing our gospel-wielding and gospel-winning ranks! (Could any of your prayers be retrieved and repeated to inspire a new generation of troops?)
2 Ti 2:1-4 “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
I will admit that everything about this post goes against my soft flesh and probably yours as well. But…oh that we would join the Apostle Paul and every other bold believer who prayed with a SAS motto-mindset of “Who Dares Wins!”
Stop with the tame, self-aggrandizing demands of your God. Dare to pray like a true paratrooper doggedly seeking the “tough assignment” for His glory and honor. May God truly help us!