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Robert Preston Taylor had reason to pray. During World War II, he served as a chaplain in battle, participated in the Bataan Death March and spent more than three years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941, they also dropped bombs on Manila, where Taylor was stationed. Later, Taylor would receive the silver star for helping rescue the bodies of five fallen soldiers.

Taylor knew more hardship. He was one of only 4000 that ended the Bataan Death March out of the 80,000 that began it. During the march, the prisoners were forced to walk 55 miles without food or water. 

In the POW camp, worship, including burial rites were outlawed, but Taylor continued to minister. When the guards discovered that Taylor was smuggling supplies in to the soldiers they put him in a 4-by-5-foot bamboo cell to live, where he had to compete with the mosquitoes and maggots for space. They left him there for two months.

Taylor prayed, "Lord, if you still have a purpose for me, let me live." On one of the few occasions his captors let him out of the box, he leaned on a bamboo stick to support himself and quoted scripture to the troops. When he asked the POWs to bow for prayer, the guards threw him back into the box. Taylor was near death.

The POW's began a prayer vigil, praying for their Chaplain around the clock for two weeks. God answered their prayers and Taylor recovered.

In a chapel service at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on November 9, 2000 Brigadier Gen. Jim Spivey, a church history professor, told Taylor's story to challenge the student body. He said, "Taylor's recovery became a symbol of hope throughout the camp. They saw God answered prayer in the miracle of his recovery, and a revival broke out in that POW camp."

Sometimes God is honored by keeping His people from suffering. Other times His is honored by sustaining them in their suffering and inspiring others to greatness because of it.

Job 42:10 "After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before." [NIV]

--Baptist Press Tuesday 11/28/00

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