Daily Devotional Offers Comfort and Hope

The Military Chaplain
September 2007

Strength for Service speaks right to the heart of a warrior and hits on the topics that are at the forefront of our thoughts. The size is ideal for carrying in a cargo pocket or in the pouch of a pack. The recruits seem to enjoy reading it and are blessed by the stories and prayers,” says Chaplain Lieutenant Jason Rochester.

Rochester is one of many United States military chaplains who request hundreds, even thousands, of the daily devotionalStrength for Service to God and Country each week. The books are provided free of charge to chaplains and military personnel thanks to the generosity of people across the nation who financially support the project.

Strength for Service was first written for World War II troops and went out of print after the Korean conflict. A young Eagle Scout pursued getting the book republished and in 2001 he successfully accomplished his goal. Since 2001, almost 300,000 books have been distributed both stateside and abroad.

“There are a variety of resources that I hand out to the recruits, but I think [Strength for Service] is the best and most relevant,” says Rochester, who is based at the Marine Corps Training center in Paris Island, S.C.

The non-denominational daily devotions are written specifically for those serving others, like military personnel. Pastors, college personnel, missionaries and others involved in churches, ministries, etc. contributed to the book. Since the military is made-up of people from many different faith backgrounds, the variety is important.

“So many of the other resources are great, but don’t address the issues that we face here,” Chaplain Colonel Curtis Wells adds, “Military personnel are not always able to attend religious services for various reasons, which makes religious literature like this critical to help sustain their faith.”

Navy Chaplain David Glassmire says he cannot keep the books in stock. He reports that Marines read the books and also give them to their Iraqi counter-parts “to share from their hearts about what faith in God meant for them.”

While many chaplains distribute the books for individual meditations, some use it for group devotional times. Marine Major Tom Conner, stationed in Fallujah, uses the book for a daily devotional period with 15 other Marines.

The book’s impact is immeasurable. As Captain Vincent Dominique, chaplain at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., reflects, “When I place a copy of Strength for Service to God and Country in the hands of wounded soldiers, they are elated beyond measure. They see the book as a tangible manifestation of God’s help and protection. They get so much out of the daily devotionals that it is unbelievable.”

If you or someone you know would be interested in receiving copies of Strength for Service, please email Larry Coppock at lcoppock@gcumm.org or call him at 615-620-7261. For information about the book and to learn how churches can support this effort, please visit www.strengthforservice.org.