When I am called to duty, God
whenever flames may rage,
Give me the strength to save some life
Whatever be its age.
Help me to embrace a little child
Before it’s too late,
Or some older person
from the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert
And hear the weakest shout,
And quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling
and give the best in me,
To guard my neighbor
And protect his property.
And if according to Your will
I have to lose my life,
Please bless with Your protecting hand
My children and my wife
History of the Fireman’s Prayer
The only way he could find to ease the pain of such a tragedy was to sit down and put his thoughts on paper. The phrase, “enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout”, sends a chill up a firefighter’s spine as you imagine what he experienced on that fateful night. It was a particularly tough time for him as he had young children around the same age.While most accounts of the Firemen’s Prayer conclude with Author Unknown, the world renowned poem was written by Firefighter A.W. “Smokey” Linn. As a young firefighter in 1958 Linn and his crew responded to a fire in which three children were trapped behind security bars and died in the fire.
His granddaughter, Penny McGlachlin said that back then there were no grief counselors to help the firefighters. Penny believes this was an actual prayer from him, to god for the sake of his own family, the other fireman, and the families of the children.
Smokey joined the Wichita, Kansas Fire Department in 1947 after returning from World War 2. He retired in 1975 and became president of the local chapter of the Good Sam Camping Club. He passed away March 31, 2004 of complications following surgery.
The Fireman’s Prayer was originally published in a book called, “A Celebration of Poets” in 1958. The last copyright of the book was 1998. It is the family’s desire that the credit for the Firemen’s Prayer go to the author, A.W. Smokey Linn.
The Firemans Prayer is a call for courage and strength to perform ones duties in the most dangerous of circumstances.
Firemen are truly heroes. They are modern day saviors, laying in wait until we call on them in our time of need. Firefighters deserve our praise and the protection of God.
When I am called to duty, God,
wherever flames may rage,
give me strength to save a life,
whatever be its age.
Help me embrace a little child
before it is too late,
or save an older person from
the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert,
and hear the weakest shout,
quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling,
to give the best in me,
to guard my friend and neighbor,
and protect his property.
And if according to Your will
I must answer death’s call,
bless with Your protecting hand,
my family one and all.
The Firecaptains Prayer
Please guide me in my plight.
Help me think quickly, but safely.
Guild my hand to help those who are seeking knowledge.
Give me the wisdom, to help the injured and the weak.
To help those who have no thrive for life.
Grant me the strength to fight the fire with assertive skill.
And God please grant me the ability to return home, to my family.
And, if in your wisdom I may give my life,
protect them from harm, no matter what the foe.
Firemen are a bit like modern angels. They appear out of nowhere and save us from the flames. But, firemen need protection just as much as we do. Here is a prayer from a mother for her son who is a fireman.
A Mothers Firemans Prayer
The alarm goes off, ready to go, all with no hesitation
Time to save a soul or a home, straight to that destination
This prayers for my son, as that fire calls
Protecting the innocent and fighting flaming walls
Guide him with your strength, the courage to pull him through
Give him that breath of air, if he gets down to his last few
By chance he may get weak; do give him the will to stand
Carry him as you said, your Foot Prints in the Sand
He will have to lift or ax a door today
May your angels chip away, helping along the way
Theres always the unknown, of what they call “back draft
“Secure your arms around him, and the others who have his back
Make way for him to listen, to hear that persons call
Determined to break a window, to rescue that angry dog
Or fight the wild fires, to keep lands beauty how it belongs
Keep their team in motion, to know where one is at
Theyre taking turns in and out, of these fires that attack
When that dutys done, hell have peace of mind
You were right beside him; he now thanks you for your time
Lord I ask this of you, I pray you watch over him
Help him always save the lives, then return him to me again.
Carolyn Kay Carr
Alvin William Linn was a career fireman in Wichita, Kansas who passed away in 2004 at the age of 80 years. He was known as “Smokey” Linn from an incident that happened when he was 15 years old. His grandfather’s barn was burning and he rushed in to save his grandfather’s Model T truck. He was able to drive it out but unfortunately not before the seat of his pants started smoking. He carried the nickname ever since. He served in the Coast Guard during WWII and was one of the few survivors of a torpedo attack. He was one of the first Red Cross instructors to teach and certify people in C.P.R. and first aid. He joined the Wichita Fire Department in 1947 and retired in 1975.
Linn wrote A Fireman’s Prayer after responding to a call of a fire at an apartment block in 1958. Fire fighters could see the faces of three children in the window but were unable to rescue them because of iron bars placed on the window by the apartment block’s owner. He wrote the poem sitting at a table in the station at 1 a.m. as he struggled with his emotions and frustrations at not being able to save the children.
A Fireman’s Prayer by A.W. “Smokey” Linn
When I am called to duty, God, whenever flames may rage;
Give me strength to save some life, whatever be its age.
Help me embrace a little child before it is too late,
Or save an older person from the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout,
And quickly and efficiently to put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me,
To guard my every neighbor and protect his property.
And if, according to my fate, I am to lose my life;
Please bless with your protecting hand my
children and my wife.