General Douglas MacArthur: A Prayer for his son

General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), a decorated five-star general who served our country in WW1, WW2 and Korea, wrote this prayer for his only son.

In honor of my son Austin’s 29th birthday this week, I reprint it for you, with Austin’s picture at the bottom.

Build me a son, oh Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be; a son who will know Thee and that to know Thee is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”

5 comments to General Douglas MacArthur: A Prayer for his son

  • Susa M.

    How beautiful! I adopt this prayer for my own son, Austin!

  • Ethan

    Happy Birthday Austin. I see all these qualities in your life. Let your light continue to shine in a dark world. Proud to be your dad!

  • Natalie

    Happy birthday Austin!

  • Richie

    Powerful prayer! I like the way he prayed for his son to know God who is the foundation stone of knowledge. I know you have prayed a similar prayer for Austin his whole life. Happy birthday, Austin!

  • Shan

    Wow, Janet, thank you for sharing Gen.
    Macarthur’s prayer for his son. Happy birthday to Austin! I would like to
    pray this for my son, a Major in the Army
    Reserves, as well, and especially that he will know God more deeply.