Sunday, October 2, 2011

The War Prayer

     A community is getting ready to send it’s young men off into a war.  This war is named “The Philippine-American War” Every day the men walk down the street in their new uniforms, with their loved ones cheering them on.  The community has been overunned with patriotism.  The pastors in the churches across the community invoked the God of Battle through their speeches.  The People against the war wanted to speak up and say their peace, but feared for their physical well being.  Then Sunday came soon.  Everyone was in the church, especially the young soldiers with dreams of retreating foes and flashing sabers.  They would be sent off to the front the next day.  The people who had no family to send off to war were envious of the one who did.  Then the Pastor started to read a chapter from the Old Testament to start out the prayer.  No one in the audience can recall a prayer like this one, but during this prayer an old, pale stranger walked in and starts to go towards the pastor.  Soon the pastor finished his prayer and was surprised by the stranger.  The pastor was gently pushed aside and the stranger said that he was a servant of the Lord and your prayers have been heard.  But he warned that the prayer had a message that the community was not aware of.  The community had prayed indirectly for the suffering of complete strangers, their enemies’ families in the war.  After the stranger stopped talking, he left.  He was considered to be a Lunatic.

            The War Prayer talks about something that most people seem to either ignore or forget the enemies’ family.  We tend to dehumanize the people that are against us so that we don’t think about the fact that someone’s son or daughter is not coming home.  War has never been glamorous in reality.  Of course we have the whole “Fighting for ideals and country” thing, but I think in the field it is about survival and human beings on an individual and whole level will try to do their best to survive.  We tend to forget the enemy is human.  But it is not the solider on the fields fault when they pull the trigger.   They are fighting to survive, not for some idea.  It is not a bullet enters a body and a nice little hole is created and you fall down and die.  No, people get blown apart and die slowly sometimes, while their fellow solders either have to watch or leave them behind.  Then there is the why they are fighting.  The soldier probably doesn’t hate the enemy personally, but they are thrown into a fever pitch because their country is at war with their enemy.  The soldier, in a way, is kind of like the bullet they fire.  They are pointed towards their target and sent their way.  A difference is that a solider has a life, a choice, and someone who will miss them when they are gone. So no one really wins in a war.  A country or a group can win, but a person not so much.  Something is always destroyed,  it could be the enemy, someone’s home or sense of security in their world



  1. I really like your opinion towards this "war prayer" essay by Twain. When reading it I thought the same things you did but I didn't really know how to put it into words and you did it perfectly. No one really thinks about the way the other side feels, they just want to win the war. But you are most definitely one really wins the war.

  2. I think it was interesting that Twain also talks about people outside of the war also. He gives the example of if you pray for rain for your crops to grow but then you are also praying for your neighbor's crop to fail because you want the rain.

    I think he was definitely showing Christians(at that time) how even though they claim they're selfless in reality they're selfish and wish harm on someone else. Christianity as a whole at this time seemed to be pointed in the wrong direction.

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