Pray about the Nails

As I was meditating last night, I was visualizing the vastness of creation and the infinitesimal size of me – one tiny speck of grit in the universe. Wondering how important the prayer of one insignificant person could be, I asked the Lord what he wanted me to pray about right now.

I wasn’t feeling very confident in my prayers at that moment.

But even before I could get my thought completely articulated, He reminded me of the little poem “For Want of a Nail.”

Pray about nails, He said. Watch, and when you see a likely scenario on the news, pray about the nails. Pray that nails will be lost.

WILL be lost? I asked. Not that nails WON’T be lost? Not that they’ll all be present and accounted for, in good working condition? I was thinking about every Christian doing his assigned task.

No, He said. One man can’t tackle an army by himself, but with prayer one man can tackle a nail. Sabotage a nail. The enemy’s nail.

What are these nails? I asked.

He began to show me images of past events, where odd things happened to hinder the enemy.

The Dunkirk miracle – In WWII fog suddenly covered the English Channel, hindering detection as England’s civilian armada of small boats crossed the channel to evacuate over 330,000 Allied soldiers.

4 Jun 1940: Allied soldiers became trapped on Dunkirk beaches when the Germans used a fighting technique called “blitzkrieg,” an all-out blitz on Allied forces.

The only way to evacuate them from the shallow waters was by small boat, and the English people were urged to provide every small boat they owned for the effort. But the weather was too good — Nazi planes could see them coming! (

“The grave plight of the troops led King George VI to call for an unprecedented week of prayer. Throughout the country, people prayed on 26 May for a miraculous delivery.” (

“Nazi dive-bombers hovered overhead, unable to penetrate the cloud of fog for 72 hours. God had placed this shield over the straits of Dover, where the Atlantic Ocean, North Sea and English channel met, forming a busy thoroughfare for shipping in the 21 mile Strait. Historically, it was always rough, never still for more than three minutes. Now it was becalmed for 72 hours during this God-controlled rescue mission.” (Over 330,000 soldiers were rescued.) From an interview with a survivor,

In recent years, Stuxnet – this computer malware made history as the most advanced real cyber weapon. It sabotaged the Iranian centrifuges at Natanz being used to enrich uranium.

While designed to spread widely, the worm was programmed to execute against a highly selective list of targets. (

What are the nails we should pray about?

At Dunkirk — good weather. Prayer brought about a change in the weather, something a man could not do.

At Natanz — good operating system. Prayer led someone to change that, something a man could do.

So, I will be watching for opportunities and praying about the nails.


For Want of a Nail

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost —
All for the want of a horseshoe nail.

This proverb has been around in many variations for centuries. It is found in a number of forms starting as early as the 14th century. The earliest reference may refer to the death of Richard III of England at the Battle of Bosworth Field.

The short version shown above was published in “Fifty Famous People” by Richard Baldwin. Click here to read his short story about the nail.

And note: this is a story about the fall of an evil king, and the victory of a good one.