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A Disciple-Making Prayer
Desmond Doss is credited with saving the lives of seventy-five soldiers in one of the deadliest battles of World War II at Hacksaw Ridge on the island of Okinawa. The story of his courage and faith is now known by millions as a result of the inspiring action film Hacksaw Ridge, directed by Mel Gibson. The movie is not for the faint of heart as the harsh realities of war are depicted in living color. On the other hand, the fact that this true story of sacrificial love took place in the midst of brutal combat makes it all the more remarkable.
At the end of the movie, the real Desmond Doss in a documentary interview describes what kept him going for twelve hours straight in the midst of a dark and dangerous battlefield – to continue saving lives. He humbly states, “I was praying the whole time. I just kept praying, ‘Lord, please help me get one more.’”
Doss was a disciple of Jesus Christ who felt a call on his life to save lives in the midst of a world war. He knew that while he couldn’t win the war by himself, he could at least try to save one life at a time on the battlefield. God answered his prayer seventy-five times over in that one night on Hacksaw Ridge.
In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis describes the world in which we live as “enemy-occupied territory.” We work, play, eat, sleep, and live in the middle of a harsh spiritual battlefield. The task of fulfilling “the Great Commission,” that of making disciples of Jesus Christ from every nation, tribe, and language group seems overwhelming. The enemy, the world, and our own sinful natures actively battle with us, and we know that we can’t win this war by ourselves.
But what if we were to pray the simple prayer of Desmond Doss, “Lord, please help me get one more,” as we daily seek to play a small part in the Lord’s great rescue operation on this earth?
What if God were to answer that prayer and give each of us “one more” this year? And imagine if we kept praying each year, “Lord, please help me get one more,” and that were to go on for twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty years! We would have played a role in saving the lives of more people than we could have ever thought possible.
The good news is that this prayer, “Lord, please help me get one more,” is in the center of God’s will. He wants you and me to be actively involved in saving the lost and helping them become faithful and fruitful disciples of Jesus Christ. For this reason, if you pray this prayer and mean it, you should expect to see God answer it.
Now, dream some more with me and imagine a church in which every person prayed this prayer, “Lord, please help me get one more,” and the prayer was answered. In one year, the church would help bring as many people to Christ as its membership, and this would continue year after year.
I can’t think of any better strategy for turning the world upside down and making disciples from all nations on earth. Of course, I didn’t come up with this strategy, Jesus did.
Toward the end of World War II, President Harry Truman awarded Desmond Doss the Medal of Honor, the highest award given to a combat veteran, for risking his life seventy-five times over in one night in order to save the lives of his fellow soldiers. While that is an amazing award, just imagine the joy of receiving your reward in heaven when Jesus commends you for praying this prayer, “Lord, please help me get one more,” and you see ten, twenty, or thirty other saints who are there partly in answer to your prayer and obedience as a “medic” in the greatest rescue operation of all time!
Joel Woodruff, President, C.S. Lewis Institute, has worked in higher education, “tent-making,” nonprofit administration, and pastoral ministries in Alaska, Israel, Hungary, France, and Northern Virginia. He served as Dean of Students, Chaplain, and Professor of Bible & Theology at European Bible Institute, where he helped train Europeans both for professional ministry and to be Christian leaders in the marketplace. Prior to joining the Institute, he was on the leadership team of Oakwood Services International, a nonprofit educational and humanitarian organization. He is a graduate of Wheaton College, earned his M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and has a doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. As a Parish-Pulpit Fellow, he studied Biblical Backgrounds & Archaeology in Israel for a year.