October 20th, 2015
Ernie Pyle, the legendary World War II journalist, went into battle many times with American troops in both the Pacific and European theaters. One of the most famous quotes from his columns is, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”
He understood from firsthand knowledge that when around live fire everybody, no matter how brave, is terrified that they could be maimed or killed at any moment (indeed, Pyle was killed by sniper fire on a Pacific island in 1945). Such terror isn’t a sign of weakness but a basic human survival instinct. Pyle was saying that when confronted with the trauma and horror of the battlefield, praying is a natural survival mechanism for soldiers. Already there have been stories about how many of the American troops in the Middle East weren’t necessarily religious at home but are praying more and attending services at bases in Kuwait.
I believe more people pray than most of us realize. They do so for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes our prayers are answered and when they are we are both thankful and grateful. We are never sure how it works or precisely …