Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.
Editor’s Note: We have the privilege of reading four days’ worth of evening prayers from a Navy chaplain. What he shared with others on his ship is encouragement to all of us.
Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise His name, proclaim His salvation day after day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples. — Psalm 96:1-3
Day One—The Best Ship in the Navy
I wanted to thank you personally because, though we are logging long hours, we are having a good turn at the wheel and we are building our team one cat shot and trap after another. Looking deeper within the skin of the ship, the CIC, Galley, Engine Rooms, Admin Spaces and more are all turning out what keeps us moving and keeps us safe.
Together we are answering the question, “What is the best ship in the Navy?” I see it one shipmate at a time. I see it in Leadership, Ownership, Stewardship, Partnership, Relationship, Fellowship, Kinship and all leading up to today in Worship. When we have all these, the best ship in the Navy is a by-product. “Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do it all for God’s glory” (I Cor 10:31).
Let us Pray: Wondrous God, as we pause during our busy schedule of flight ops and simulations, we invite Your presence. Where our journey is long and across many waters, we recognize that in the beginning Your Spirit moved across these waters and You gave life to all that followed. Today, as we follow Your Spirit and as He continues to move among the waters we sail upon, may Your breath fill us with new life and offer rest into the deck plates of our ship. Amen.
Day Two—The Rally Point of Our Flag
While observing Ft. Sumter under fire, Francis Scott Key wrote what became our National Anthem. During the bombardment, he saw bombs bursting in air and the rockets red glare from the shells of mortar attacks.
However, he did not stop at the awe of the rockets and bomb bursting. His focus was on the flag. “And the flag was still there.” His flag was more than just a symbol . . . It was a rally point that stood for something larger than someone just leaving the light on. As long as it stood, the U.S. troops still prevailed and the devices of the enemy were still thwarted.
Just as important were the principles of freedom that remained and the sacrifices it took by each soldier–the sacrifices and will to sustain that freedom under adversity. The soldiers stood for something, rather than fall for anything.
Tonight we rest easy, not because of our own efforts. We stand upon the shoulders of others and continue to stand upon the principles of freedom and You as its source.
Let us Pray: Lord, where our daily trials challenge us and the winds and waves have buffeted our bows, help us to be mindful within the battles we wage. As Francis Scott Key discovered, may we also discover that our flag and You as our rally point are still there. May we not fail and our hearts prevail upon the freedoms found with Your sacrifices that others may live. Amen.
Day Three—The Impact of Small Things
The small details of our life offer a huge impact on our mission. We have been conditioned to identify things that would otherwise be missed:
- FOD on a flight line that can bring down an aircraft.
- A blip on a scope that can be a threat.
- Simple seaweed that can clog a condenser.
The conditioning of our faith also makes a difference. In the mustard seed of faith parable, a tiny seed settles into a small crack and makes a huge impact.
- Once the seed mixes with dust and rain, it brings forth life.
- Ironically, where the desert once existed, the seed that once seemed meaningless brings forth the spice of life.
- As these cracks widen, other seeds enter to bring forth even more life.
- As this seed emerges, the strength of expanding roots cracks the largest of rocks.
- Over time, this tiny seed even moves mountains, one rock at a time.
Where is your seed of faith placed?
Let us Pray: Father, as we replay the events of the day in our mind and prepare to rest, we ask that You help our faith grow where we find rocks in our path. We ask that Your faith would become ours so that we may be found faithful in all we do. Amen.
Day Four—Knowing He is God
Knowing and understanding are oceans or worlds apart.
As Navy professionals, we strive to be proficient in our roles and rates. This proficiency makes us the best Navy in the world and lets us project influence that has no equal. As a global force for good, we can turn the neck of tyrants and the tides of battles.
How does God turn our heads and the tide of our battles? By knowing Him. We can either grow through our battles or go through them.
How then do we move past a knowledge of God toward an understanding of God?
God’s answer arrives with two commands in one breath. “Be still and know He is God” (Psalm 46:10). In order to know He is God, we must be willing to be still. Still enough at times to hear His still small voice.
Let us Pray: Lord, as we pause for this brief stillness of prayer and listen within the battle rhythm of our planes, turning of our screws and visions within our scopes . . .May we hear Your standing orders. As You speak, may we know more of You and less of us. May we embrace You as our source of strength and the life that comes from You. In our purposes, may we find Your presence. May we rest this night and be still, so that we can know You are God. Amen.
Questions to Share:
1. How difficult is it for you to be still for a moment during the day, so that you can hear from God? Share with each other your efforts to make this possible.
2. How have you seen your faith grow during this deployment? How have you been able to encourage spiritual growth in your spouse during this deployment?