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Prayer of Thanksgiving
A WOUNDED MAN immediately fears the worst. His first conscious moments are spent inventorying body parts and assessing how life-threatening his wounds are. Sometimes ...

Prayer of Thanksgiving

There is one complication of which the chaplain needs to be aware. Because the wounded Marine is sometimes fearful for his life, the offering of prayer on his behalf carries for him the connotation of death. It then becomes necessary to assure the patient that you are sharing with him a prayer of thanksgiving for his having been spared and for full restoration to health. In every case when he understands that prayer is not being offered because he is dying, prayer is requested and welcomed.

Chaplains, unfortunately, have to face many negative connotations of their presence. In combat, a wounded man may presume the worst when a chaplain starts praying for him, and sadly, there are times when these fears are justified. On the home front, the worst moment in any military wife’s life is to see an officer, accompanied by a chaplain, approaching the front door. Religious men and women have to face these dire situations as part of their professional lives.

The rest of us also have to face our share of dire situations, helping friends and loved ones cope with tragedy in some form. As “nonprofessionals,” we naturally have many doubts about what to say or do. Unfortunately, there is no formula for these situations, and each calls for its own prayerful discernment. I believe that the combat chaplain’s advice does give us a useful insight. No matter what has happened, all people have something in their present and past lives for which they can be thankful. We can at least spend some time talking about those things, and we can say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the many blessings he has given us.


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