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A Message From FGFD Chaplain

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John Rayls


Fairfield Glade Fire Department

November 19, 2022

The Firefighter's Prayer

"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."


This is the traditional Fireman’s Prayer which came about in the early 1900’s.  Some of the language is dated because we have both men and women serving as volunteers with the FGFD.  But the message is clear…we serve to protect each other and our community.

I serve a dual role in the Fairfield Glade Fire Department.  I drive our fire engines and work the pumps to ensure water with sufficient pressure is available in emergency situations 24/7. That fact makes me an Engineer in the fire department.   However, I also function as the Chaplain for the Department.  This involves looking after the emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being of our volunteers who are also on call 24/7.  A difficult fire or tragic auto accident can leave open wounds and scars for those of us that respond to the scene.

After graduating from Seminary, I have served as a church planter, teacher, evangelist and pastor for my entire adult life.  The last 15 years (before retirement) were served as an Episcopalian priest.  It was during this time that I became a First Responder with the 2nd Regiment of the Texas State Guard for six years.  We were deployed at the Governor’s command to major hurricanes, fires, floods and other tragedies to provide shelter and care for the affected people.  After moving to Tennessee in 2018, I was offered the privilege of joining our local volunteer fire department as a First Responder.

Three bible verses give me the vision for serving the FGFD members and our greater community:

  1. Micah 6:8   “He has told you, mortal one, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
    But to do justice, to love [a]kindness, and to walk [b]humbly with your God?”

  2. Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

  3. Galatians 6:9 “Let’s not become discouraged in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not become weary.”

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