The year 1863 was crucial not only for the outcome of the Civil War but ultimately for the future of the United States. The war had already raged for two years. The Emancipation Proclamation, declaring an end to slavery in the nation, had gone into effect in January. Later, President Lincoln set aside April 30 as a day of fasting, prayer and humiliation. But in early July, the Battle of Gettysburg began. The stakes were high, because this battle could well determine the outcome of the war.

    Just before the battle began, President Lincoln prayed fervently, and he left a record of his appeal to God: "I went to my room one day and I locked the door and got down on my knees before Almighty God and prayed to Him mightily for victory at Gettysburg. I then and there made a solemn vow to Almighty God that if He would stand by our boys at Gettysburg, I would stand by Him. Soon a sweet comfort crept into my soul that God Almighty had taken the whole business into His own hands and that things would go all right at Gettysburg."

    But not even Lincoln understood how powerfully God would answer his prayer. Colonel Joshua Chamberlain described the event in his report to the War Department:

   "Our lines began to break before the overwhelming number of Rebel soldiers. Our guns let loose, but the enemy kept coming. We had to defend that hill. To lose Little Round Top would have been to lose everything.

    Then a terrible thing happened: we ran out of ammunition. I thought we would have to pull back. [Then] out of nowhere rode a tall figure on a shining white horse. Now I know this is incredible, but the rider was dressed as a Revolutionary general and the face -- I will swear it was the face of George Washington! He raised his arm high and gave the signal to advance. My men began to shout and cheer. The rebels saw it, too, and they began to shoot at it. The figure rode back and forth and the Confederate guns followed it. He should have been killed a thousand times over. No human being could have survived that fire. The rider urged our men on and raising their bayonets, they charged down the hill on top of the Rebels. The bayonet charge must have taken them by surprise for they turned and fled. We almost lost Little Round Top, and if we had, we could have lost Gettysburg."

    Through the years, God has responded to the prayers of His people. During times of war and times of peace, through triumphs and tragedies, for better and for worse, our God has listened to and answered the prayers offered up to Him by His children. In 1 Timothy 2:1-3, the apostle Paul urged believers to lift up "requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving", especially for "kings and all those in authority."

    Today, let's take a few minutes to bow in prayer before our Lord on behalf of our nations and our world. God has promised that if we call upon His name, He will hear us (2 Chronicles 7:14), so take the time today to intercede on behalf of our nation, our world, and even our own lives. Let's not wait till the amunition runs out, let's pray today!


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Devotion copyright © 1998, Timely Truths Ministries, Brent Nidiffer. Used by permission.
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