WASHINGTON – Thursday’s opening prayer on the House floor had a little Texas twist.
Long-time Lubbock resident Phil Crenshaw, 95, is the last living chaplain’s assistant to serve in World War II. On Thursday, he served in the House of Representatives as guest chaplain.
Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, invited Crenshaw. He was the 22nd guest chaplain to pray for the House of Representatives this year, and Crenshaw said it was the honor of a lifetime.
“Almost every one of the men I had trained with are buried in the South Pacific. I wondered why my life was spared,” he said. “And it seems like to me that the Lord has made it possible in very recent times for me to give my testimony.”
Crenshaw brought a Japanese Bible with him to the House floor: the same one he used in 1944 to communicate with prisoners of war.
He may not know a single word inside the torn pages, but it reminds him why he is here.
Crenshaw said his prayer to Congress is the same that he prayed during the war, to put differences aside and love each other.
“At every stop on his journey, Mr. Crenshaw’s mission has always been the same: to love God and serve people,” Arrington said.
Read Phil Crenshaw’s prayer transcript below:
“Dear Holy Father,
It is with grateful hearts we begin this day with Thee, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
We come praying for Thy blessing for every man and woman in this assembly, representing all the people of our great nation.
We recognize our inability to exist at our best without Thy supreme wisdom, for Thou hast said, ‘A contrite heart, O God, thou will not despise.’
And because of this, we seek supreme direction in the deliberation and our need for divine petition.
We further recognize our imperfection and beseech Thy forgiveness when unintentional errors in judgment are forthcoming.
Grant, dear Father, Thy unhindered blessing to all those assembled at this moment, remembering Thy words, ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.’
Thank you for loving us and praying that we may in turn love you with grateful overflowing hearts.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.”
Read Congressman Arrington’s remarks on the House floor about Crenshaw:
“Mister Speaker, the Good Book says, a righteous man’s prayers availeth much. What a prayer, Mr. Crenshaw. What a man. What a great American.
Mister Speaker, I rise today to recognize our guest chaplain and my dear friend of mine, Mr. Phil Crenshaw.
Mr. Crenshaw’s life has taken him across the globe, from serving our country in World War II to spreading the Gospel of Jesus in places like Norway, Israel, Russia and India. At every stop on his journey, Mr. Crenshaw’s mission has always been the same: to love God and serve people.
While stationed in Okinawa, he ministered to Marines, soldiers, and airmen as well as over 4,000 Japanese POWs, living out God’s commandment to love not just our neighbors, but our enemies as well.
Over the years following his return from war, Mr. Crenshaw, along with his late wife Ruth with who he was married for 66 years, opened up their home and their hearts to more than 50 young people who were in need of a place to stay, some of them orphans.
At 95, Mr. Crenshaw is the last living chaplain’s assistant from World War II, and still he lives every day to the fullest, serving our community and serving the Lord with all of his heart, with all his soul and with all his strength.
Mr. Crenshaw, your life of personal sacrifice and faithful service to our country and to the Kingdom of God is an inspiration to all of us, and we are all honored to have you here this day.
God bless you, Mr. Crenshaw; God bless this country you fought for and served; and go West Texas!”