Army Specialist Ramona Cruz often felt discouraged, overwhelmed and weakened from the stresses of everyday living. One rainy morning, she walked into a Fort Sill dining facility for breakfast at 0530 hours. Many other military personnel and civilian employees were there but no one spoke to anyone. With a tray in her hand, she stood away from the serving line trying to decide what to choose for her breakfast. An act such as choosing something to eat was also a difficult and stressful for Specialist Cruz.
After ten minutes, Specialist Cruz decided on pancakes, bacon, orange juice and coffee as her breakfast. Locating an empty table, she sat down to eat when three loud, energetic Privates sat down at the table almost directly behind her. One of the Privates broke the verbal silence when he said: “Hey, guys! We should say grace. We need to be thankful, ya know!
A second Private said: “Say, you’re right. So you say the grace since you brought it up.”
The first Private bowed his then asked the other two to do likewise then said in a loud voice: “Bless us, O Lord, for these your gifts, that we are about to receive and will receive, from Your bountiful hands, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord…”
Everyone who could hear the Private’s voice responded: “AMEN!” After the Private’s grace, the atmosphere in the dining facility changed. It was though everyone was waiting for someone to say grace.
Specialist Cruz felt an unusual change come about her after the hearing the Private’s thanksgiving prayer. After finishing her breakfast, Specialist Cruz told her team leader that having experienced a Private’s prayer of thanksgiving changed her life as she had recognized faith in action. Within a matter of days, she inquired about Christianity and was baptized seven months later. She began to pray daily, attend church services weekly and read short verses and passages from a Bible given her by one of the chaplains.
Specialist Cruz experienced the power that pray gives even when difficulty haunts them. Her witness of positive action and the realization of the goodness of God made all of difference in her life. She also realized that fear, despair and being negative day in and day out made unbearable. In time, she came a conclusion…that if she relies on God, God will be there to see her through anything life presents her.