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The Paratrooper's Prayer

This prayer was found on the body of Aspirant (Lieutenant) Andrť Zirnheld, killed in action in Libya, in July 1942, during a raid behind enemy lines. A college philosophy professor before the war, Aspirant Zirnheld served in one of the very first companies of the famed British S.A.S.

Although Zirnheld never served in the Foreign Legion, his prayer has been adopted by all French Paratroopers, the Legion included.


I bring this prayer to You, Lord,
For you alone can give
What one cannot demand from oneself.

Give me, Lord, what You have left over,
Give me what no one ever asks of You.

I donít ask You for rest,
Or quiet,
Whether of soul or body;
I donít ask You for wealth,
Nor for success, nor even health perhaps.

That sort of thing You get asked for so much
That You canít have any of it left.

Give me, Lord, what You have left over,
Give me what no one wants from You.

I want insecurity, strife,
And I want You to give me these
Once and for all.

So that I can be sure of having them always,
Since I shall not always have the courage
To ask You for them.

Give me, Lord, what You have left over,
Give me what others want nothing to do with.

But give me courage, too,
And strength and faith;
For You alone can give
What one cannot demand from oneself.

by Andrť Zirnheld