First Responder

Lincoln and candle


“Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep,

God bless Mommie and Daddy,

And Garry and Gayle and Gregg,

And keep us safe from the communists.”


and keep us safe from the communists?


I was a freshman in college and we were sitting around one night talking (as we often did) and the subject came up about memorized prayers. (those late night talk sessions covered a vast array of topics) Several of us started reciting our bedtime prayers from childhood and when I said the last line from my prayer, we all stated to laugh.

Where did “keep us safe from the communists” come from?

I had no idea. I hadn’t thought of that prayer in years. So I went to the source of all things childhood and asked my mother.

“It was the time of the Bay of Pigs invasion and your older brother was concerned about communists invading our country. I suggested he pray about it, so he did. Of course you and Gregg copied his prayer,” my mom informed me.

I have two thoughts about that prayer looking back –

  1. when global events concern us  – pray about them
  2. where is the communist threat now?

If we are paying any attention to global events right now – there is certainly cause for concern. There are threats to peace and security on every continent, some are the most brutal threats I can remember in my lifetime. There is little we can do as ordinary citizens about these concerns – there is even less a child can do.

This can bring fear into our lives and fear into the lives of our children and grandchildren.

We can pray.

Not only is that enough, that is the most important thing we can do. God is in control even when things appear to be in chaos. These awful situations are the result of sin. Mankind’s desire to be in control leads ultimately to death and destruction.

Prayer does change things, most of all it changes us. Prayer adjusts our focus from suffering to the Lord God who loves us and gives help in time of trouble.

Philippians 4: 6-7  (TLB)

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. 7 If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.

I love these verses. God’s peace is FAR more wonderful than the human mind can understand! The peace comes from trusting  in Christ Jesus, not in our ability to fix things ourselves.

Our daughter’s pastor encouraged us to ask ourselves what our first response is to concerns we face. Do we worry, call a friend, get angry? Our FIRST response should be to pray.

It made me think about first responders to disasters like earthquakes, fires, or floods. Those are the people who arrive on the scene first, assess the situation, and then determine a plan of action.

I realized how much better my response to any concern would be if I prayed first – asking God what my plan of action should be. Prayer centers my vision on God and His will for me in every situation – big or small. Then I should determine my response.

I want to be a first responder when it comes to prayer – pray first – then act. I want to model that for my children and grandchildren as well.


4 thoughts on “First Responder

  1. Gayle, I still want my first responce to be prayer. Asking him to alert me to my need and then praying about it. It is a wonderful way to live and see what he wants for me — convinced he loves me most.


  2. Donna Large says:

    Out of the mouths of babes, those of us with children that do ask questions, have them pray about it. To make ISIL/ISIS as inconsiquenciel as the communist are today, how wonderful that would be. Us adults need to be praying too. I dare say it isn’t a daily prayer of mine and it should be.


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