The book Endowed by Their Creator: A Collection of Historic American Military Prayers: 1774 – Present offers a powerfully compelling case for the importance of prayer to America’s past, present, and future military defense. The 240-page volume is published by First Principles Press, which is dedicated to producing works that reinforce America’s godly heritage.
When Col. Ron Ray, USMC (Ret.), was a newly commissioned Marine officer on the eve of deployment to the jungles of Vietnam in 1967, his father’s oldest brother, retired U.S. Army Captain Manuel Ray, gave him a small gift to accompany Ron in his service to his country: The American Armed Forces Prayer Book, a collection of prayers offered through the years by a broad range of spiritual, military, and government leaders. While Col. Ray indicates that the simple devotional saw little use during his tour in Southeast Asia, it did make it back home with him, and 35 years later, as his own son was preparing to enter the prestigious Virginia Military Institute (VMI), the retired Marine officer rediscovered the book. “By that time,” recalled Ray, “I had become acquainted with prayer and knew of God’s higher purpose for it to glorify Himself as it provided great aid and comfort to man’s soul.”
A short time later in 2002, Ray, a constitutional scholar and public policy attorney (as well as former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Reagan administration), had the opportunity to help defend VMI against a lawsuit by the ACLU and other secular groups attempting to force the Institute to drop its nearly 165-year tradition of mealtime prayers. As he used the book given to him by his uncle in preparing a brief in the case, reviewing the collection of prayers “prayed by fighting men of all ranks” through the America’s rich history, Ray discovered that a majority of the prayers were offered in the name of Jesus, and all reflected the humble and worshipful spirit unique to the true seeker after God.
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Graphic: "Endowed by Their Creator: A Collection of Historic American Military Prayers: 1774 – Present "; U.S. Army Chaplains insignia; U.S. Navy Chaplains insignia; stained glass window, Pentagon, honoring the Four Chaplains, USAT Dorchester, 1943