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By SahilSaysPublished 6 months ago 4 min read
Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in
every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy
pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and sputtering; on every hand and far down the
receding and fading spreads of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the
sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new
uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices
choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened,
panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts and which they
interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the
while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country and invoked the God of
Battles, beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpouring of fervid eloquence which moved
every listener.
It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to
disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and
angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended
no more in that way.
Sunday morning came - next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled;
the volunteers were there, their faces alight with material dreams - visions of a stern advance, the
gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the
enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! - then home from the war, bronzed heros,
welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones,
proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth
to the field of honor, there to win for the flag or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The
service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it
was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose,
with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation -- "God the all-
terrible! Thou who ordainest, Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!"
Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and
moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was that an ever-merciful and
benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers and aid, comfort, and
encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in His mighty hand, make them
strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and
to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory --
An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes
fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his
white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale
even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without
pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there, waiting.
With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued his moving prayer, and at
last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal,"Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O
Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"
The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside - which the startled minister did - and
took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes in
which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said
"I come from the Throne - bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the
house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of
His servant your shepherd and grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall
have explained to you its import - that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the
prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of - except he pause and
"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one
prayer? No, it is two - one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of His Who heareth
all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this - keep it in mind. If you beseech a

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