Answered By: Marie Rose
Last Updated: Nov 17, 2015     Views: 1239

The Citadel adopted many of its traditions from The United States Military Academy at West Point. The Cadet Prayer was no exception. This prayer was written by Colonel Clayton E. Wheat, when he was Chaplain at the Untied States Military Academy 1918-1926. The Citadel was substituted for West Point in the appropriate place.

THE CADET PRAYER

O God, our Father, Thou Searcher of men's hearts, help us to draw near to Thee in sincerity and truth. May our religion be filled with gladness and may our worship of Thee be natural.

Strengthen and increase our admiration for honest dealing and clean thinking, and suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretence ever to diminish. Encourage us in our endeavor to live above the common level of life.

Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole truth can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy.

Guard us against flippancy and irreverence in the sacred things of life. Grant us new ties of friendship and new opportunities of service. Kindle our hearts in fellowship with those of a cheerful countenance, and soften our hearts with sympathy for those who sorrow and suffer.

May we find genuine pleasure in clean and wholesome mirth and feel inherent disgust for all course-minded humor. Help us in our workd and in our play, to keep ourselves physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight, that we may better maintain the honor of the Corps untarnished and unsullied, and acquit ourselves like men in our efforts to realize the ideals of The Citadel in doing our duty to Thee and to our Country. All of which we ask in the name of the Great Friend and Master of Men. - Amen.

As The Citadel observed its Centenial Celebration in 1942-43, Bishop Albert S. Thomas, First Honor Graduate of the Class of 1892, composed a new cadet prayer for The Citadel:

THE CITADEL CADET PRAYER (1943)

Almighty God, the source of light and strength, we implore Thy blessing on this our beloved institution, that it may continue true to its high purposes.

Guide and strengthen those upon whom rests the authority of government; enlighten with wisdom those who teach and those who learn; and grant to all of us that through sound learning and firm leadership, we may prove ourselves worthy citizens of our country, devoted to truth, given to unselfish service, loyal to every obligation of life and above all to Thee.

Preserve us faithful to the ideals of The Citadel, sincere in fellowship, unswerving in duty, finding joy in purity and confidence through a steadfast faith.

Grant to each one of us, in his/her own life, an humble heart, a steadfast purpose, and a joyful hope, with a readiness to endure hardship and suffer if need be, that truth may prevail among us and that Thy will may be done on earth. "Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. - Amen.

A number of other prayers have also been composed for use at The Citadel.

(1) Capers Prayer. The following is attributed to Ellison Capers, class of 1857, while a cadet at The Citadel, June 1857. He later became a brigadier general, CSA, and after that, Episcopal bishop of South Carolina. It came from The Journal of Tom Law:

Lord of love
Look from above
Upon this tainted ham;
And give us meat
That's fit to eat
For this ain't worth a damn!

(2)Prayer of The Citadel. Last appeared on the back cover of The Guidon, 1996-1997. It was written by Jim Herritage, Class of 1972.

Give me a boy, Oh God, who is wiling to learn the true value of honor, the necessity of perseverance and loyalty, and the meaningfulness of devotion to God and country. And I shall take this boy as does a blacksmith take a crude piece of metal, and place him over a forge whose liberating flame of education is fired by the bellows of strict military discipline. Into this ingot of a man I shall temper self-respect and self-discipline, fear of God and respect for mankind, appreciation of freedom and awareness of what sacrifices must be made to preserve freedom, and above all an insatiable desire for truth and honesty. And when all these things I have done, I shall brand my finished work with a ring of gold to let all of humanity know that I have given back to the world a ...Citadel Man.

(3) A Prayer From Grace was written by Sarah Burke, Class of 2009

A Prayer From Grace

Bless this institution with a girl
Who craves for the fruits of knowledge,
Whose faithfulness to others, to her country and You
Provide her with an incorruptible beauty 
that outlasts the wearing of time.
Through her hospitality, she will ease the worried;
Through her modesty, she will humble the arrogant;
And through her patience, she will tame those who set fire.
With a sound balance of feminine grace under rigid structure,
She will embrace any obstacle that comes her way.
Let her hard work contribute to a noble cause
And her perseverance to a worthy ambition.
Grant to her a spiritual giftedness so that
She may shine brightly in Your name.
And when You find pleasure in her genuineness,
Mark your joy with a ring of gold
So that all may see grace in her,
The rarest of all women…
A Citadel Woman.

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