Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chair of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast last week about the importance of reflection and careful reasoning by military leaders. He offered a prayer which is worth repeating in full, and worth saying for all in positions of military authority:

“Father in heaven, we gather today to ask your blessing over the lives and decisions of those who lead us around the world.

“Theirs is a mighty task and a noble calling. For upon their shoulders rest the hopes and dreams of billions of people — not only of this generation, but of future generations who know us not. May you guide them in that pursuit, oh Lord.

“Give them the faith to seek your guidance, the wisdom to make the right decisions and the character to see those decisions through. Help them choose love over hate, courage over fear, principle over expediency. Let them always seek concord and peace, and to remember that the best leader is a good and humble servant.

“Encourage them, Father, to seek your counsel as Solomon himself did in 1 Kings, Chapter 3, saying to you, ‘But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties, so give me a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.’

“May you bless us all, Lord – your children – and give our leaders that same discerning heart. Help us always to distinguish between right and wrong and to serve others before ourselves. This we pray in thy name, Amen.”