Discussions of Book of Mormon issues and evidences, plus other topics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"Prayer of the Children" (Thank You, Kurt Bestor) and a Prayer for Peace

"Prayer of the Children" is a beautiful hymn from LDS musician Kurt Bestor that reminds us of the terror we adults create with the monster of war.

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:

“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.
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.


Jeff Lindsay said...

Imagine what could happen if, instead of spending $100 billion a month to blow things up and purchase lasting hatred, we did something else, anything else?

Anonymous said...

We sang this recently at Lawrence Chapel. I am sorry you missed it. We sang the optional words, "crying help me Jesus".

Anonymous said...

Most versions sing "Crying softly help me", I suspect that is more politically correct. Many however sing "Crying JESUS help me"!

When man is driven and moved to cry for the Savior for help, I would think.................

I once read that from a survey of Medics and Chaplains in battle that 1/2 of those wounded and dying cry for their mothers. 1/2 cry for the Savior.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the price for Peace is high. Soooooo high.

Love can replace war. However love can't be bought.

Creek said...

I first heard this song 3 years ago a few days before Christmas. I was driving to work at 6 am and it brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful song about a horrific subject.

As a veteran (22 years in the Air Force), I can tell I dream of a day when we won't need a military to defend our country. Unfortunately, I'm very doubtful that day will ever come.

My favorite quote is from Gen. Douglas MacArthur, "The soldier, above all others, prays for peace; for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds ans scars of war".

Patriot said...

MacArthur was a great example of the corruption of war in this country. He could have won the deliberate no-win Korean war and was fired when he took steps that almost did that swiftly. The military industrial complex that Eisenhower knew so well keeps these things going forever. It's about blood and horror for power, control, and international political objectives, not victory and defense of our own borders. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq - they are all no-win wars driven and controlled by the same war-mongering profiteers and power-hungry internationalists. Good guys with ethics like MacArthur will be driven out to keep the game of endless war going.

Droobles said...

Ahh, they sanitized it :( The original version I have waaay back from when the song was released on the word perfect disc in 1993 had the proper, 'cry Jesus help me'.

I remember listening to this (loudly because it was sooo beautiful) in my little Ford Tempo in the parking lot of my apartment complex at Ricks College and having dozens of people rap on my window and ask me what the song was. I had the windows up!

Anonymous said...

We are certainly much more warlike than we ought to be. It would be great to be able to put our trust fully in the Lord for our protection, and the blessings and miracles we would realize from doing so are likely beyond our imagination. I wonder if following this counsel would mean giving up ALL means of physical defense - after all, even the righteous examples of peoples in the Book of Mormon were fraught with examples of necessary physical defense of their lands. The example of the Anti-Nephi-Lehis, who gave up all weapons of war and entered into a covenant not to take them up again, would seem to be the ideal - but they were still defended by the armies of the Nephites. There has to be some balance between having the means and willingness to defend ourselves (thereby holding at bay those who would molest and oppress), and yet not use those same means to go overboard and tread where we ought not. I believe that balance cannot be approached or even conceived of without reliance upon the Lord and His counsel and guidance.

Anonymous said...

thank you.

I am feeling so desperate for peace and so afraid for my grandchildren and even my children.