The Origin of the Special Forces Prayer
Any member of the Special Forces is familiar with the following prayer:
The Special Forces Prayer
ALMIGHTY GOD, WHO ARE THE AUTHOR OF
LIBERTY AND THE CHAMPION OF THE
OPPRESSED, HEAR OUR PRAYER.
WE, THE MEN OF SPECIAL FORCES,
ACKNOWLEDGE OUR DEPENDENCE UPON THEE
IN THE PRESERVATION OF HUMAN FREEDOM.
GO WITH US AS WE SEEK TO DEFEND THE
DEFENSELESS AND TO FREE THE ENSLAVED.
MAY WE EVER REMEMBER OUR NATION, WHOSE
MOTTO IS “IN GOD WE TRUST,” EXPECTS THAT
WE SHALL ACQUIT OURSELVES WITH HONOR,
THAT WE MAY NEVER BRING SHAME UPON OUR
FAITH, OUR FAMILIES, OUR FELLOW MEN.
GRANT US WISDOM FROM THEY MIND, COURAGE
FROM THEY HEART, STRENGTH FROM THEY ARM,
AND PROTECTION BY THEY HAND.
IT IS FOR THEE THAT WE DO BATTLE, AND TO
THEE BELONGS THE VICTOR’S CROWN.
FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER
AND GLORY, FOREVER.
The Special Forces prayer was written over 40 years ago, in 1961, by a young Army chaplin called John Stevey. At the time he was with the Green Berets stationed at Fort Bragg, NC who were due to ship out to Vietnam, to Lao to be precise, to train soldiers there.
The commanding officer of the Special Forces at the time, General William Yarborough, told Stevey that he wanted him to write a prayer that would remind the men at all times of the spiritual nature of their mission.
Chaplin Stevey said the General requested that it be a prayer that would appeal to all the men, whatever their faith and that it should be short enough that the men could carry it as a wallet sized card. To comply with that request the prayer makes no mention of Christ and has since been carried in the wallets – and the hearts – of Special Forces soldiers, and their family and friends, ever since.
The Special Forces prayer is also a part of a majestic stained glass window in the JFK Memorial Chapel at Fort Bragg and is included in the specially issued bibles that the soldiers carry. It is also, with the army’s full blessing, featured on a number of merchandise items that are sold to support Special Forces soldiers and their families.