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A soldier’s plea for prayer was the best kind of wake-up call

My alarm itself is not all that bad. 

It’s the time of day when it goes off that’s unforgiving.
For a morning anchor, “morning” comes in the middle of the night. I wake up at 1:30 a.m., just so I can help wake up viewers from 4:30 to 7.
But it’s how I start my day that helps me do my job.
Inside Story | Wendell Edwards
The stillness of the early morning, the quiet darkness, the empty streets — it is all so serene and the perfect time for my quiet time. It’s the way I start my day. It centers me and guides me.
My prayers are so repetitive, but really, you can’t say “thank you, God,” too much. 
I remember one particular Tuesday when my prayer  was short, sweet and personal. It was the morning after the May 20 tornado in Moore, Okla., last year. The EF5 storm killed 24 people — including seven children at an elementary school.
And that prayer served me through the rest of the day. I anchored out in the field, hearing the stories of survival — a couple that jumped in a ditch, a family trapped in a storm shelter, first responders trying to make sense of all the chaos.
But it was a National Guard lieutenant who realized just how vital faith is after a storm. 
I interviewed him about his job — making sure residents didn’t enter places they weren’t supposed to — and how his fellow soldiers blocked off roads and directed traffic. I asked him, “What was the toughest part?”
“Seeing the folks and the looks of shock on their faces,” he said. “It makes me want to just pray with them immediately.”
“Really?” I said, shocked. “Me too.” 
Then he shocked me even more.
“Would you pray with me right now?” he asked. And so we did. 
For the next few minutes, we just stood a few feet apart, with heads bowed and hearts lifted.
He prayed for recovery, resilience and strength for the people hurt, for those who lost loved ones.
It was simple, concise and to the point — just like my quiet-time prayer earlier that same day.
Just because you’re on the job, it doesn’t mean that your light can’t shine for others to see. The soldier reminded me of that.
It’s the best kind of alarm that really wakes you up — spirit and all.

WENDELL EDWARDS co-anchors KOCO 5 News in the Morning for the ABC affiliate in Oklahoma City. He is a graduate of Abilene Christian University in Texas and a deacon of the Memorial Road Church of Christ in Oklahoma City. 

Filed under: Headlines - Secondary Inside Story

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