A final prayer

policeman walking near tanks
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Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.

Matthew 5:44.

Towards the end of World War II a Christian was cycling through an “occupied zone” in France to rejoin his family. Just as he was passing through a village, he was arrested by the German army. A German soldier had been killed there the night before, and the occupying forces had decided on reprisals: ten persons from the village were to be picked out by chance and lined up against a wall to face an execution squad. The Christian who happened to be passing at that moment was one of them.

He asked for permission to pray before being executed, which was granted, the German officer agreeing to translate the prayer. In a loud voice he prayed for the victims about to lose their life, for the soldiers who would carry out the order and for the officer who would give the order to shoot. When he had finished his prayer, the officer gave the command for the weapons to be put down and ordered the squad to leave the place.

What a remarkable answer to the fervent prayer of the one who put all his confidence in his God! Were those who benefited from that intercession touched by God’s grace? Did that scene give them the means to get to know God’s salvation, which is available for all?

“Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (Psalm 50:15).