All three background paintings involve people asking and seeking for heavenly assistance in some way. The children in the front are learning from the images and examples around them. They are learning to which source they can seek to find what they need the most.
I've had many comments about this painting over the years from those in the armed services. They have written me from the midst of battle and across the oceans. They have echoed the sentiments in this piece and have experienced similar scenarios while gathered together in faith, before embarking on their assignments.
The inspiration for this painting came from the words to the old hymn “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” It is believed the writer was William W. Walford, a blind priest in England.
Their eyes are closed for a reason. When we close our eyes we begin to rely on our other senses. As we close our eyes in prayer, we trade our physical sight for a spiritual kind of vision. These men represent the best in human nature. The part that says, "I can’t see what the future holds, but I know Who holds it.” Yes, there is beauty in the idea that by closing our eyes, we begin to see and that it was a humble blind minister who brought about greater vision for untold generations.
I’ve come to realize that history books have their story about which side won what battle, but there are times when each man and woman must become a warrior. Whether we win or lose these battles comes down to who we have become because of them. Wars are not always fought overseas and in far-away places, but also in the fleshy tables of our hearts.