For background on this hymn and Kurt Bestor's story (a convert to the Church), see "Kurt Bestor's Prayer of the Children" by Maurine Jensen Proctor at Meridian Magazine. Kurt is from Wisconsin, by the way, which must be part of his charm.
Now back to the painful topic of war, the devil's playground.
In pondering this hymn and our nation's endless involvement with the merchants of war and the bloody business of war, wars that are not designed to bring victory or peace, I am reminded of a prophet's words in 1976 on the topic of war. The passage below is from President Spencer W. Kimball in his 1976 sermon and First Presidency message, "The False Gods We Worship." May we ponder his words and find better ways to proclaim peace, lasting peace, though means other than blowing up mountains and villages on the other side of the world.
We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching:May we also remember the wisdom of our Founding Fathers who wanted us to be free from the "entangling alliances" that had involved so many nations of the Old World in unnecessary war. May we renounce war and proclaim peace.
“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:44–45.)
We forget that if we are righteous the Lord will either not suffer our enemies to come upon us—and this is the special promise to the inhabitants of the land of the Americas (see 2 Ne. 1:7)—or he will fight our battles for us (Ex. 14:14; D&C 98:37, to name only two references of many). This he is able to do....
Enoch, too, was a man of great faith who would not be distracted from his duties by the enemy: “And so great was the faith of Enoch, that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch.” (Moses 7:13.)
What are we to fear when the Lord is with us? Can we not take the Lord at his word and exercise a particle of faith in him? Our assignment is affirmative: to forsake the things of the world as ends in themselves; to leave off idolatry and press forward in faith; to carry the gospel to our enemies, that they might no longer be our enemies.