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The Power of Prayer

A miracle during the Korean War

The following true story deals with prayer, faith, the Word of Wisdom, and obedience:

I met him just once – at a sacrament meeting held with the LDS servicemen of the 15th Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, during the Korean War.  He introduced himself simply as Sergeant Stewart from Idaho, and he proceeded to tell us how the Lord had blessed him during the previous month.  I noted that he was short – about 5’5″ tall, and that he weighed about 160 pounds.  He had strong arms and shoulders.  He mentioned that his great ambition since childhood had been to become a good athlete.

As he bore his testimony, Sergeant Stewart was moved to tell us of a giant of a man named Lieutenant Jackson.  He was 6’7″ tall and weighed 245 pounds, and he had been an outstanding college athlete.  The sergeant spoke of him in glowing terms, telling us of his bravery, his intelligence, and of his leadership ability.  He considered him to be one of the great company commanders in all of the services, and that he would not ask his men to do anything he would not be willing to do himself.  With noticeable pride, he further depicted him as a man’s man, a tremendous officer, a Christian gentleman, inspiring those who were fortunate enough to serve under his command.

A few days prior to our church service, Sergeant Stewart had been assigned to a patrol.  Leading and at the point of the patrol was Lieutenant  Jackson.  Bringing up the rear as they moved down the steep hill in diamond formation was the sergeant.  As they neared the base of the hill, they were ambushed by enemy snipers.  The lieutenant, being out in front, was riddled up one side by automatic small-arms fire.  As he fell he managed to drag himself to the shelter of a nearby rock and tree while the rest of the patrol scrambled up the hill to regroup.  Since he was next in command, the responsibility of the patrol now fell upon the  shoulders of Sergeant  Stewart.  He immediately formed his men into a half-moon perimeter defense and then assigned his largest and seemingly strongest man the mission of going down the hill to rescue the lieutenant.  The others would provide him with cover.

The man was gone for about 30 minute, only to return and report that he could not budge the wounded officer, as he was too heavy.  It was like trying to lift a dead horse, he reported.  The men started grumbling about getting out of there before someone else was shot.  One of the men said, “Let’s forget about the lieutenant.  He probably won’t survive anyway.”  At that point, Sergeant Stewart turned to his men, pulling himself up to his tallest stature, and spoke in firm tones:  “It doesn’t matter if he is alive or dead — we are not leaving him behind.  He wouldn’t leave any of us in similar circumstances.  He is our commanding officer, and I consider him my brother.”  Turning to one of the corporals, he said, “You take charge and wait for us here.  I will bring him back.”

Carefully, and as noiselessly as possible, he inched his way among sporadic enemy fire toward the lieutenant.  When he finally reached him, Lieutenant Jackson was weak from loss of blood, and he assured the sergeant that it was a hopeless cause, and that there was no way he could get him to the aid station in time to save his life.  It was then that Sergeant Stewart’s great faith in his Heavenly Father came to his assistance.  He took off his helmet, knelt beside his fallen leader and said, “Pray with me Lieutenant.”  Th sergeant, as he bore his testimony to us, said he couldn’t’ remember all he had said in his prayer, but he recalled reminding the Lord that never in his life had he ever smoked a cigarette. Not once had he ever tasted alcohol in any of tis forms.  “Dear Lord,” he pleaded,  “I need strength far beyond the capacity of my physical body.  This great man, thy son, who lies critically wounded here beside me, must have medical attention soon.  I need the power to carry him up this hill to an aid station where he can receive the treatment he needs to survive.  I know, Father, that thou has promised the strength of ten to him whose heart and hands are clean and pure.  I feel I can qualify. Please, Dear Lord, grant me this blessing.”

“Brethren,” he continued, “as I prayed I could feel my muscles bulge with energy, and I know at that moment, as I had never known before, that God truly hears and answers the prayers of his faithful children.  I humbly thanked him, said amen, put on my helmet, reached down and gently picked up my company commander, and cradled him over my shoulder.  We then slowly started  our ascent up the hill.  Lieutenant Jackson cried softly as he whispered to me words of gratitude and encouragement.

I met Sergeant Stewart just one.  For less than two hours it was our privilege to be in his company,  I could feel the presence of greatness as I sat in that bunker listening to that choice young man.  His spirit touched my spirit, and my faith was kindled because of his Christlike attitude and his soul-stirring testimony regarding the power of God and the brotherhood of all men.

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