Prayer of an Unknown Confederate Soldier

I asked 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 that I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered,
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.


  1. We should all take a lesson! Bless you.

  2. According to the editor of Time Magazine, Presidential Candidate Adlai Stevenson, whose Christmas card bore the prayer, got it from a book called Think on These Things by the Rev. Dr. John Ellis Large (rector of Manhattan’s Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest), who, in turn, had clipped and saved the original from a newspaper some 25 years ago when he was a student at Hartford’s Trinity College.

  3. […] An absolute classic. I get a lot of comments on this, and if you enjoy it, then chances are good you’ll also appreciate this piece, called “Prayer of an Unknown Confederate Soldier.” […]

  4. You shared this some time ago and I printed it out and it’s on my bathroom wall. I read it every time I shower. Love it. Also LOVE the picture of you and Char on your about me site. So sweet!

  5. I LOVE this. Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

  6. Is this your own personal work? It is very inspiring.

  7. I can’t take credit for it, but I’ve also been unable to find the original author.

  8. While reading the references in the back of our church hymnal this is listed on page 527 under the heading of “answered prayer”
    The Heights Church, Saint Paul,MN

  9. Very interesting… I’ve done some research on this and the only hint at attribution is that it is alleged to have been found on a Confederate casualty at Devil’s Den, Gettysburg.

  10. I heard this prayer for first time today on tv. It was written by General MacArthur in 1952. to his sons. His version is different than the one I read from you. They are both well written.

  11. I found this prayer at a midpoint in my life-between significant physical weakness, infirmity beginning in my past and and increased infirmity and poverty in my future. It was a treasure then and continues to be a more cherished treasure of insight into the ways El Shaddiah has lavishly blessed me. I want this read at my funeral and put on my headstone.

    Melissa Myers

  12. God bless you, Melissa.

  13. Tremendous prayer! Thanks for posting it!

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