TALLIL, IRAQ (Talon News) — A chaplain with a U.S. Army unit in Iraq is asking Christians to pray for the historic election on Sunday and for the troops taking ballots and voting machines who will be “prime targets for the insurgents.”

In an e-mail obtained by Talon News, CH (CPT) Lyle Shackelford, Battalion Chaplain, HHD, 57th Transportation Battalion wrote on Monday that he has “an urgent request for prayer.”

“Your prayers can make a difference,” Shackelford wrote in the e-mail sent to friends and family members of the Dublin, OH native. “I am an Army Baptist Chaplain in Iraq. I’m sure you will be moved by this request even if you do not personally know anyone involved. Thank you in advance for your faithful prayers in this matter.”

Noting that he is part of the “transportation battalion,” which is responsible for “delivering the voting machines and the ballots to villages and cities throughout Iraq during the upcoming elections” on January 30-31, Shackelford said he is on the front line of danger as preparations for the vote unfold.

“Our convoys are prime targets for the insurgents because they do not want the equipment to arrive at the polling stations nor do they want the local Iraqi citizens to have the chance to vote; timely delivery must occur so that the elections occur,” Shackelford explained.

The Army chaplain from Dublin Baptist Church in Dublin, OH asks people to “pray specifically for the electoral process.”

“Historically, the previous totalitarian regime [under Saddam Hussein] would not allow individual citizens to vote,” Shackelford recalled. “Democracy will not be realized in Iraq if intelligent and competent officials are not elected to those strategic leadership positions within the emerging government; freedom will not have an opportunity to ring throughout this country if the voting process fails.”

Encouraging recipients of his e-mail to get the word out about this, Shackelford exclaimed that there is “unlimited potential for God’s presence in this process but if we do not pray then our enemy will prevail.”

He even suggested having a prayer vigil this weekend as “an innovative opportunity for those within your sphere of influence to pray” for this “political battle that needs spiritual intervention.”

Detailing the story about God intervening in the lives of David’s soldiers in the Old Testament of the Bible, Shackelford said the troops he works with also “want to overcome those who would stand in the way of freedom.”

“David’s mighty men triumphed over incredible odds and stood their ground and were victorious over the enemies of Israel,” Shackelford remarked.

With prayer for this, Shackelford added, the insurgents “don’t stand a chance.”

“I will pray with my soldiers before they leave on their convoys and move outside our installation gates here at Tallil,” Shackelford commented. “My soldiers are at the nerve center of the logistic operation to deliver the voting machines and election ballots. They will be driving to and entering the arena of the enemy. This is not a game for them it is a historical mission that is extremely dangerous. No voting machines or ballots. No elections.”

Shackelford continued, “Your prayer support and God’s intervention are needed to give democracy a chance in this war torn country.”

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