A ‘ Confederate Soldier’s Prayer’

Published 10:46 am Saturday, December 17, 2011

by  Steven E. Johnson

I am certain that many Civil War enthusiasts, particularly Confederate enthusiasts, have read this prayer, written by an unknown Confederate soldier during the War Between the States.

While I was reading, I was surprised how much it reflected on my life as a young boy and man growing up in a world of uncertainty. Having a life that was less than desirable for any young child, I found myself continually guided by Christian adults and the grace of God.

Having served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, my assignments never sent me to the battlefields, however the wounded from battles came to me. You see, I served as an independent duty hospital corpsman.

No, the wounded did not come to me from beneath the seas.  My shore duty assignments placed me in a position to receive and treat casualties of war and of war-torn countries.

While reading the “Confederate Soldier’s Prayer,” it took me back to when I had nothing, when I was on my knees begging God for strength, success, happiness, wisdom and answered prayers.

As a Navy sailor, I have traveled the world and seen countries, customs and cultures I would have never been able to experience on my own. As a health-care provider, I was blessed to meet the casualties, listen to their stories and most of all, their humble code of ethics.

Many in impoverished countries were starving because of a war, but the natives would not touch the chickens, pigs and cattle in the fields to feed their families. Why? Because they did not know who the animals belonged to. Unbelievable!

I find it befitting for most men, as we try to achieve and succeed, that we must first be made weak to see and appreciate the values that are before us. We are so busy trying to accomplish our goals that we lose sight of what God has already laid in the palms of our hands. I further believe that we see God’s greatness most in our moments of weakness.

I know that to many members in the Sons of Confederate Veterans Urquhart-Gillette Camp 1471, at the age of 52, I am only a child in your eyes, but I now find myself only wanting to achieve greatness in the eyes of God; by being a good and loving husband and father, loving my extended family, cherishing friends and friendships, and simply being more generous to others. Lord knows, there have been many in my life who have shared their generosity with me.

So men, take a walk with the “Confederate Soldier’s Prayer.” Are you among the men richly blessed?


I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.

Author unknown
Attributed to a battle-weary Confederate States Army soldier near the end of the war

STEVEN E. JOHNSON is a member of Urquhart-Gillette Camp 1471 Sons of Confederate Veterans and can be reached through Commander Jon Pyle at 651-4971.