Thirty-three years ago this week, I entered the United States Military Academy at West Point as part of the Class of 1988. That first week, we had to learn the West Point Cadet Prayer. This week the Class of 2021 began their journey as part of the “Long Gray Line”.
In honor of Independence Day and the men and women who serve so we can have the freedoms to speak and to pray as we see fit, I am publishing The West Point Cadet Prayer.
Before you read it, ask yourself: “What challenge does this prayer offer me?” Whether you are a person of faith or not, I think you will find a challenge meant for you.
Duty – Honor – Country. These are the three core values that West Point has stood for over the last two centuries. The West Point Cadet Prayer is used by graduates as a reminder of those values and other values that are meant to form the character our nation’s future leaders.
The West Point Cadet Prayer
“O God, our Father, Thou Searcher of human hearts, help us to draw near to Thee in sincerity and truth. May our religion be filled with gladness and may our worship of Thee be natural.
Strengthen and increase our admiration for honest dealing and clean thinking, and suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretense ever to diminish.
Encourage us in our endeavor to live above the common level of life. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won.
Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy.
Guard us against flippancy and irreverence in the sacred things of life. Grant us new ties of friendship and new opportunities of service. Kindle our hearts in fellowship with those of a cheerful countenance, and soften our hearts with sympathy for those who sorrow and suffer.
Help us to maintain the honor of the Corps untarnished and unsullied and to show forth in our lives the ideals of West Point in doing our duty to Thee and to our Country. All of which we ask in the name of the Great Friend and Master of all. Amen”
I repost this prayer every July 4th. Happy Independence Day!
How many different character challenges does this prayer present to leaders?
Dave Anderson is coauthor of the Amazon Best-Seller Becoming a Leader of Character – Six Habits that Make or Break a Leader at Work and at Home with his father General James L. Anderson (USA Retired).
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