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I remember the dark cloud well. Not the kind that tornados descended from or that released the frightening thunderstorms, but the dark cloud of war that hung over my grade school years during the Vietnam Conflict. The news coverage in those days were bland by today's standards, but the images of war that I glanced at as I walked through the living room still frightened me. I knew that the war was far away and that I wasn't in any danger, but I also knew that not everybody was as lucky as I was. So I did the only thing I knew to do-I prayed.

After recess, our teacher would have us lay our heads on our desk to quite us down and prepare the class for hitting the books again. With the cold linoleum pressed against my cheek I listen to the quietness of the room echo through my mind. I'd close my eyes and begin to pray. I'd pray for the war to end, for our leaders to make the right decisions and for the safety of our troops. The very prayers I find myself praying today.

I've thought about those prayers a lot over the past few years. Every time I hear one of our Vietnam Vets tell their war stories, I think about praying for them when I was a small boy. I enjoy the sense of satisfaction that comes from listening to true heroes who did the right thing, and took up arms in a just cause. I also enjoy the satisfaction of knowing, that even as a child, I did the right thing-I prayed.

But the last few weeks that memory has become an urgent reminder to me of the importance of praying for others-whether we know their names or not. I believe that God answered the prayers of a small boy attending Edgemere Elementary who was faithful to pray after recess for men and women he didn't even know. And I also believe he will hear and answer our prayers now.

Excuse me for a minute, I think I'll lay my head on my desk. I need to quite down from the busyness of the day, and in light of current events-I need to pray.

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365 Days includes Volumes 1-4
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Impact Preaching: A Case for the
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