Does God Answer Bold Prayers?
The air was cold, the ground was a mixture of mud and snow, the sky was thick with dark menacing clouds, and the forest was filled with soldiers wanting to be anywhere but where they were this frigid morning.
“Sir, this is Patton speaking. The last fourteen days have been straight from hell. Rain, snow, more rain, more snow – and I’m beginning to wonder what’s going on in Your headquarters. Whose side are You on, anyway?” The general was a contradiction in every sense of the word. He loved his soldiers but also got in trouble for being too harsh with them. He considered himself an Episcopalian who believed, according to some, in reincarnation. He wore his thoughts on his sleeve, yet was impossible to figure out. But on this night, as General Patton opened up his prayers to God, he would not mince words. He was sincerely frustrated with God and saw no problem with speaking boldly about his feelings.
Pray With a Grateful Heart and Bold Expectations
The General continued his prayer, thanking God for past victories and giving Him the glory. “You have led German units into traps that made their elimination fairly simple.” Yet, Patton was also unafraid of letting God know about his confusion in the current situation, as he and his men shivered in the Ardennes forest.
“But now, You’ve changed horses in midstream. You seem to have given von Rundstedt every break in the book and frankly, he’s been beating the hell out of us. My army is neither trained nor equipped for winter warfare. And as You know this weather is more suitable for Eskimos than for southern cavalrymen.” Don’t confuse Patton’s words as blaming God, or passing the buck. No, the General was having a frank conversation with his Creator, and he quickly got to the root of the issue. “But now, Sir. I can’t help but feel that I have offended You in some way.”
Patton continued explaining his concern: “Suddenly You have lost all sympathy with our cause. You are throwing in with von Rundstedt and his paperhanging-god. You know without me telling You that our situation is desperate. Sure, I can tell my staff that everything is going according to plan, but there’s no use telling You that the 101st Airborne is holding out against tremendous odds in Bastogne and that this continual storm is making it impossible to supply them even from the air.”
The general continues to go into more detail, letting God know exactly what is going on and reminding Him what is at stake. Then, just when you think that boldness and faith cannot get any stronger, Patton takes his conversation and his request up another notch.
“Faith and patience be damned! You have just got to make up Your mind whose side You’re on. You must come to my assistance, so that I may dispatch the entire German Army as a birthday present to Your Prince of Peace. Sir, I have never been an unreasonable man; I am not going to ask You for the impossible. I do not even insist on a miracle, for all I request is four days of clear weather.”
Perhaps the most eye-opening thing here is that Patton did not believe it to be an unreasonable request or even a miracle for God to change the weather. The General was confident and secure in his understanding of who controlled the weather. Patton was so convinced of God’s power and authority that he saw his request as a small matter for big God. What if we all could pray so openly and boldly? What amazing things would God do in our world today if we just asked?
God Does Answer Bold Prayers
Just in case you were wondering, later that day, December 23, 1944, the skies cleared, and Patton and his army pushed the Germans back, turning a defensive battle into a great office shove forward by December 27th.
Perhaps even more amazing is what the US army realized after the skies cleared. The Nazi army was starting a major offensive, hoping to hide in the storm from air cover. The clear skies left them wide open to air attack leaving them vulnerable and almost defenseless. On December 27th, General Patton once again knelt before God.
“Sir, this is Patton again and I beg to report complete progress. Sir, it seems to me that You have been much better informed about the situation than I was, because it was that awful weather which I cursed You so much which made it possible for the German army to commit suicide. That, Sir, was a brilliant military move, and I bow humbly to Your supreme genius.”
The Battle of the Buldge decimated the Nazi’s ability for any further offensive maneuvers and marked the beginning of the end of Nazi brutality. Prayer, faith, and the power of God is real. Let us never forget who the “Supreme Genius” is in our world. God is in control. All we must do is beseech Him and His amazing glory.
You can read Patton’s full prayer here.