Battles are won, or lost, in the midnight hours by those who dare to wear, the mantle of…The Silent Knight.
Burt Silver lived in Ordinary. But he lived far from it. He just didn’t know it…yet.
3:00 a.m. September 11, 2001
The General was upset. He didn’t know why – he just knew he was. He didn’t notice the warriors. But felt more at ease when they walked in.
The General and The Commander were communicating – they had been for three days. It was intense. Neither stopped to eat or sleep.
The warriors waited. They knew they were there on assignment – that’s all they knew. The fact that they didn’t understand, didn’t matter. Waiting is harder than doing. But they waited. What else could they do? They knew that obedience brings understanding. And they knew if they stood – they would understand. And so they waited.
At dawn they deployed. Into infernos they flew. Twin Towers fell. Towers of Faith and Courage grew. The General and his team played no small role in saving lives from the flames of hell on that fateful September day. Most of those who discovered their mission – didn’t live to tell about it.
The General doesn’t think of the impact he’s made. His place is behind the scene making the scene, doing the work of a super hero without anyone knowing. He’s protected presidents and influenced world leaders, but none would recognize him if they saw him face to face. He’s changed history – he just doesn’t know it, yet.
If he considered who he was, he couldn’t be who he is. Only the humble wear it well. And many who wear it best are those who don’t know they wear it at all.
Tonight, once again, he will wear The Mantle, wield The Sword and carry the honor of …
The Silent Knight.
Today 2:58 a.m.
The Voice whispers… “It’s time.”
The General wakes, listens. “It’s time.” With that the General is alert – somewhat alert. His wife sleeps peacefully he’s tempted to join her.
I should just go back to sleep and finish my dream…my dream. That’s all it is; a dream. I don’t know why I keep dreaming this stuff. Who am I? A washed up, worn out, misfit, that’s who. You had your chance – and blew it. Make a difference? Yeah right. A graham cracker maybe – but another Billy Graham – gimme a break. And these dreams…A mighty warrior for God? Sheese man when are you gonna grow up. Go back to sleep and forget about it.
The Voice whispers again, “It’s time.”
I’m tired...what difference does it make anyway… He has the same conversation with himself almost every night.
And usually the same answer…it’s not about you.
And the same result…tired bones creak toward the door.
The General doesn’t notice the three smiling warriors waiting for him. He’s grown so accustom to their presence, if they weren’t there he’d notice.
Nathanial has been a lifelong companion. Although stronger, more knowledgeable and in many ways wiser, Nathanial considers it an honor to serve The General. They’ve grown older together. It shows on The General. If speed had a face it would be Nathanial’s. He likes fast. He’d rather do fast twice than slow once. His motto: Quick is slick. The General takes his time. His motto: Take your time, you’ll get their faster. They balance each other well.
Daniel came to know The General at the end of the rebellion years – The General’s very own civil war. It was a time when he questioned everyone and everything he once held sacred. He needed courage to face his fears. That’s when Daniel showed up. If courage had a face, it would be Daniel. Even if outnumbered and outgunned one look from Daniel can make adversaries tremble and shrink back in fear. Daniel stood with The General in heavy warfare. His encouragement helped The General to stay the course. In short, Daniel has kept The General alive.
Stephen with vision so keen, it seems he can see things before they happen; the latest arrival of the three. He’s helping The General grasp his calling; see his vision. Dream.
The General’s headquarters are located just outside a sleepy town called Ordinary and it resembles the name. A simple county home nothing fancy. A wooden shed out back houses lawn and garden equipment. A handmade table with a hole cut in the center is attached to the back wall of the shed. A five gallon bucket sits under the hole. A garden hose attached to the wall with a bent nail hangs over the table. Custom made for cleaning fish.
Nothing would reveal this to be the birthplace of world changing events. The strategy that saved all passengers on the Hudson River crash birthed here. His daughter was on that flight. The malfunction of missiles recently sent directly over Jerusalem also birthed from this location. Much needed aid to areas torn by storm or war starts and strengthens from this very location. Missions saving multitudes have been birthed from this Command Center. And so, those who know it best call this simple place, Bethlehem Two.
Like thoroughbreds at the gate the warriors stand ready.
Data pours in through the highest form of communication available to man.
The General listens. Never hurried, his motto; “Take your time, you get there faster.” A motto Nathanial wishes he would forget.
Then it happens.
He submits to wisdom beyond and strength above, his own. He shines with the very authority of The Commander Himself.
And with that authority The General commissions each warrior to flight.
This will be an eventful night. Eternal destinations hang in the balance. The General as usual, will stand in the gap. Tonight it’s more than super-hero stuff. It’s bigger than that. Tonight for The General -it’s personal.
Nathanial’s deployment begins in the bed of an old pickup.
“Yeeeeeeehaw! Thank God it’s Friday!” Josiah doesn’t notice the extra passenger as he jumps in and turns the key. “Happy hour here we come.”
Loosen the tailgate, change the flat. What kind of assignment is this? Nathanial wonders. Did I hear correctly? How in the world could this have anything to do with The General?
The fact he doesn’t understand doesn’t matter. He whispers three words that have helped him stay the course a multitude of times before. “Obedience brings understanding.” He loosens latch on the tailgate.
For some reason, about a mile from town the tail gate falls open and with a little help from Nathanial so does a box of roofing nails. Ten pounds of tire poppers dance like the happy hour crowd, carpeting the south bound lane. Josiah doing his best Kenny Chesney imitation doesn’t hear dropping tailgate or bouncing nails.
About two miles away, and at about the same time Josiah’s tailgate slammed open Travis’s screen door slammed shut. As he ran out the door, jumped worn out porch steps and wished he could do the same with the last five years of his life. He feels like the farm house looks. Used… Abandoned...Tired.
She’s gone. He’s done. Five years of towing the line, five years of trying to make ends meet and a marriage stick. He curses under his breath, “Five years, what a waste.” He wants to forget. He heads to town to forget.
About a mile from town, for some reason, thump, thump, thump. Old truck limps to the shoulder. “No, no, NO.” And he slams yet another door. “The jack is missing. The spare is flat. OF COURSE.” Next; the obligatory tire kick and curse. The nail that punctured the tire couldn’t compare to the words that punctured the air. There was a black streak on the road and a blue streak in the air when he showed up.
“Can I give you a hand?”
Travis can’t believe his luck. Not for the tow truck, either. He just realized he forgot his wallet. He curses again – under his breath this time.
“Hey you wouldn’t happen to have a jack?”
Without a word the driver begins jacking up the truck.
Travis starts to ask, but before he can… “Lug wrench, under that chain on the left side of the box.”
They talk little while they work. Travis talking to himself as much as the driver; “How in the world did all these nails get out here, in the middle of nowhere? We must be a good mile from town, for crying out loud, this is just my luck… Then, you pull up and I don’t have my ….jack.”
He started to say wallet but stopped short thinking if his helper knew; he might vanish into thin air.
The driver chuckled, Travis just shook his head.
They pulled the flat, swept the nails off the road. The driver gave them to Travis as a souvenir. The driver plugged the flat, replaced the tire and lowered the jack. And fast; Travis had never seen anyone work so fast.
Travis read the embroidered name on the drivers shirt and asked; “Nate, umm… well you see I forgot… I just live… how much do….”
“Forget it. You owe me nothing. Go home and have a great night. This one’s on me.” Nathanial said with a smile.
Somewhere between kicking the tire and shaking hands with Nate, Travis forgot what he was going to town to forget. Opening the door to his old truck, he turned to say thanks one more time, but Nathanial was gone.
It was as simple as that – changing that tire changed his life.
Travis headed back to the house – and dusted off his Bible instead of the bottle.
Later that same night, in another town and another state…
“I bet every kid in the world wishes he had my job tonight,” Stephen whispers from his bird’s eye view overlooking the remains of St Joe’s Regional Hospital.
The news reporters buzz: “Had it not been for the mysterious false alarm hundreds of lives would have been lost. After all patients were safely evacuated from St. Joes Regional due to their fire alarms being triggered, the hospital was struck by a tornado. A ruptured gas line then caused the entire complex to go up in smoke. Fire Chief William Sevenia reports that the fire alarms which prompted the evacuation were actually false alarms. An evacuation was ordered by the Chief for security reasons. However, investigators were unable to determine what triggered the alarms. Just before an “all clear” was given the tornado struck. The Fire Chief claims the timing to be; ‘simply a very fortunate set of coincidences.’ However, police Chief Doug Hammer claims this was no coincidence at all stating: ‘The wind was an act of nature. However, the fire alarms sounding before the incident… Now that was AN ACT OF GOD.’ The explanation offered almost unanimously by eye witnesses: ‘It was a miraculous warning.’”
Printing presses whirred the words:
“FALSE ALARM SAVES HUNDREDS!”
Invisibly watching and silently listening, the smiling, alarm pulling Stephen whispers,
“I love my job.”
As the black sky turns to grey, heralding the arrival of the sun, The General slips back into bed, his nights work done.
The kids think he’s getting old because he slips in a nap every now and then. He wakes to the beep of a horn. Important business of the day has arrived. Lexi throws the door open and yells “We’re here!” She runs and jumps on the bed, “Getup Papa, the fish are bitin’!” Levi begins loading the tackle and casting his lure across the lawn for practice.
Earlier, at their favorite fishing spot, Stephen placed two rocks together; one large boulder resting comfortably against another smaller smooth rock.
After an hour and a half of detangling lines, baiting hooks, giving lessons on how to tie a fishing knot and set a hook, The General finally gets to bait his own hook. Spying a natural easy chair, a large boulder resting comfortably against a smaller smooth rock, he makes himself at home and settles in for a little fishing of his own.
As the bobbers drift off shore, the General drifts off for, a sweet afternoon nap. The warriors are there, too. They watch. “Rest well General the victory lap is yet to be run.”
“Look, Papa’s taking a nap. We must have worn him out.” The kids giggle.
On the way home from fishing, The General is silently praying. Without being seen Stephen bumps the radio dial and adjusts the volume up a notch.
“Terrorist plot to blow up Israeli train station failed today when would be bomber surrendered stating, “I looked upon the station I planned to bomb, and noticed the guard looking at me. I simply began to tremble and shrink back in fear. My courage melted and I surrender to you.”
Three warriors smile, “He’s starting to wake” says Stephen.
The General remembers his prayer for Israel. “No weapon formed against you shall prosper and may all your enemies tremble and shrink back in fear.” The General feels a sense of familiarity, with the story; almost as if he were there.
Nathanial points at Daniel “Sounds like they’re talking about you Mr. Courage Melter” Daniel flexes his muscles and grins. “You’re quick” he replies. “Quick is slick – that’s me” Nathanial quips. “Watch, there’s more” Stephen interrupts eyeing The General.
The General wonders if his simple prayers could affect such things. I wonder if the simple prayers of a simple man named Burt Silver from a place called Ordinary could actually make a difference. Nonsense – you’re dreaming again. Wake up Burt and watch the road.
He grips the wheel tight, rubs his eyes, smiles at the kids and thinks I always figured insomnia was what prompted my prayers. But I wonder. He ponders the simple prayers he had uttered hours earlier while much of the world lay sleeping…
“I believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, I am saved and my household. My children are taught of the Lord and great is the peace of my children. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Angels of the Most High God, assigned to watch over and protect my children, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, guard my children and keep them in all their ways, let no harm come to them. Sound the alarm and alert them as to any impending danger. Transport and shelter them from any whirlwind or flame of destruction.”
Buzzzzzz….he shakes his head and grabs the phone.
“Hello.” “Dad!” Kayla almost screaming. “It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle! I was working the night shift last night when suddenly the alarms went off! We were evacuated. It was a false alarm. Well, not really a false alarm. But a false alarm for what we thought was the alarm but the alarm wasn’t for what we thought it was for. But nobody knows how anyone knew that we needed an alarm! And no one could have known because there was no time to know because it wasn’t a fire it was a whirl wind, I mean a tornado! And there was no warning, just BAM! Only seconds they said and we were all dead. Because there was no warning nothing – just WHOOSH! No warning except there was a warning but how?? Oh my God. It must have been God. Do you think He could have warned us? How else could that happen? Isn’t that just amazing! …..Did that make any sense?”
With effort, Kayla calms herself and explains how she and 232 patients and staff were saved from certain death by a freak false fire alarm just before a devastating tornado and subsequent fire made rubble of the hospital she was working in.
With tears and quivering lip, this man from Ordinary feels extraordinarily blessed. Words whispered only hours earlier flash through his mind. Quietly and humbly he offers thanks.
Back home in Ordinary (or as those in the know call it; Bethlehem Two) Burt Silver is happy he has no fish to clean.
The General sits on a lawn chair with a contented groan like older folks do. And he watches his son’s pick up pull into view, driving too fast, as usual.
This time Travis hasn’t come for money. Nor has he come to complain, brag or ask a favor. This time is the time, The General’s been fighting for. For a long, long time.
Travis leaves the door open as he jumps from the barely stopped truck. The speed he carries himself resembles twenty-four hours earlier when he was heading to town for a bottle of forget. And for some reason he had a flat tire. He walks straight up to his Dad and looks him in the eye, something he hasn’t done for a long time. He shakes his hand and then gives him a hug, something he hasn’t done in years. Travis is tired, a good tired. He’s not a reader, but he’s been reading. All night he read the Bible. He prayed. He asked God to forgive him. He asked God to help him. He asked God to use him. “Dad… I think I met an angel. I wanna be a preacher.”
The General nearly faints. Nate caught him.
Later that evening The General watches waves lap against the shore, unending, countless, like his prayers. For the first time in his life, he realizes his prayers are making a difference. And not a small difference, they’re powerful and effective. It’s nearly unbelievable but he believes. He silently thanks God for hearing him. And that’s when he hears The Voice.
“Thank You, for hearing Me. The effectual fervent prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Pray. There is one more before tomorrow.”
“There is one more before tomorrow, what does that mean?” The General asks. His answer is the return of a long felt longing. He envisions all of his children sitting with him at church, and each one praising God in their own special way, with all of their hearts. The General says it first this time… it’s time, to pray.
The next morning The General is up before the sun, ready for church, excited for church. Sitting in their usual spot they wait, expecting. One by one they file in. Just as he envisioned, all of his children sitting with them at church, and each one praising God in their own special way, with all of their hearts.
As he looks at his children he realizes another dream has come true. Not as planned; better than planned. He thinks, I may not carry a title, Reverend, Pastor, Missionary or Evangelist but by God I’m in the ministry. Wow. God is using little old Burt Silver from a place called Ordinary to make a difference, a worldwide difference, an eternal difference.
The General thinks of the nights he’s spent praying for these children next to him. The countless tears and ceaseless prayers flash through his mind.
And the thought occurs to him, I’m a Pray-er. I’m a Prayer Warrior. I pray silently in the night; warring in the night; silently warring in the night like a knight; a silent knight. I’m a Silent Knight.
He felt new strength healing old wounds. After all he’s a warrior; a knight; a Silent Knight.
“Today is the day of Salvation” the preacher cries. “Now is the time! Today is the Day! Now is the moment of Salvation, harden not your heart! The Lord has patiently waited for you and this is your moment to step from darkness into light. This is your day to be born again! Harden not your heart receive, Jesus today as your Lord and Savior! He is calling you now. IT’S TIME!”
Unseen to the human eye, three guests look on. Nathanial snaps to attention hearing the preacher’s words, “IT’S TIME.” Stephen and Daniel chuckle at Nathanial. The General chuckles to himself and that startles Stephen and Daniel which makes Nathanial laugh out loud.
The General hears none of them, but quietly whispers, “Amen and amen. It certainly is, yes indeed. It’s time.”
Pastor continues. “Please stand as we sing.”
The General stands taller and sings louder than ever before. Admiring their friend sing with new confidence the three invisible guests think out loud.
Where will we be tomorrow? Here?
The Grandma in Chicago?
How about that young mother in Sandstone Mississippi? We haven’t been there in awhile.
Remember that teen in St Louis? Maybe he’ll be the one.
You will wear the mantle of
The Silent Knight.
Surrounded by the strongest of the strong, the elite carry The Mantle, will you dare to wear?
The host of heaven waits to be put to flight. Willing to fight. They wait.
Will you heed The Voice?
Battles are won or lost in the midnight hours by those who dare to wear The Mantle
The Silent Knight.
Called to Intercession
"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."
"Do you know what Jesus was really talking about when He said those words? He was talking about the mourning of the intercessor. He was teaching about the comfort that comes to the intercessor when he is assured by the Holy Spirit that he has prayed through.
To pray through means "to break through the barriers that have stopped the work of God in the lives of others." It means using your spiritual armor to push back the forces of darkness that surround them.
There's a desperate need for believers who are willing to do that today. There's a need for intercessors who will go before God and reach out for His mercy and compassion for the sinner, for the sick, and for this downcast world. For prayer warriors who will stick with it until they have the assurance inside, in their spirits, that every barrier is broken and every area of bondage has been abolished.
God is looking for intercessors like that--and there are certain things that won't happen on this earth until He finds them. There are blessings and moves of God that won't come until someone gives birth to those things by prayer.
Even the Lord Jesus Himself was ushered into the earth by intercession. Remember Simeon and Anna? They were both intercessors, prayer warriors of God. They'd spent years in spiritual mourning, praying for the Messiah to come. But when they were done, they experienced the comfort of the Holy Spirit. For when they saw Jesus as a tiny baby in the temple, they recognized Him and rejoiced.
If you're wondering if you're one of those who's been called to intercession, then you probably are. God is calling believers everywhere to experience that unique kind of mourning and comfort that only the intercessor knows. He's calling you to lay down your life for others through prayer.
Somewhere in the world, someone needs you to pray them through. Spend some time on your knees today." Kenneth Copeland 2.9.10