Fireman's Prayer

The Firefighter's Prayer

"When I a 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."

There is not a firefighter out there that isn't familiar with this prayer.  Often seen on station walls, giving a boost of courage to the firefighters before responding to an emergency.  The origin of the prayer, originally known as the 'Fireman's Prayer', which has changed in recent years to be gender neutral, dates back to the mid 1900's, shortly after the end of the World War II.

The author of the prayer was a man named A.W. Smokey Linn. Linn was a firefighter for Wichita Kansas Fire Department after finishing service in the war. It is said Linn acquired the nickname Smokey at a young age after a fire broke out in his grandfathers barn and Linn ran into the smoke and flames to save his grandfathers model T truck by driving it out of the barn.  After that incident, his grandmother knew firefighting was in his blood and from that moment on he was known as A.W. 'Smokey' Linn.

It is also said that the incident that resulted in the prayer came one night while on duty, Linn had been fighting a fiery blaze in a building where several children were trapped.  The firefighters did they're best to battle the fire and save the children but they were unable to make the rescue due to iron bars that had covered the windows.  They were left helpless and desperate, and they could see the little faces stare out the window knowing they would not be saved.

With sadness gripping Smokey's heart, he put his pen to paper and let out his emotions in the form of the "Fireman's Prayer".  Smokey was able to portray the feelings he felt as he tried his best to do his duty that night.  His oath as a firefighter is to save lives, if it means sacrificing his own.  He calls on God to give him STRENGTH to save lives, he asks to have heightened senses to hear the weakest shout, and the ability to put the fire out.  He knows he needs to give his best to protect his neighbor and their property and if it means the loss of his own life, he asks God to protect his family.  

Strength, courage, faith, skills, abilities and SACRIFICE.  A.W. Smokey Linn is detailing what it takes to be a firefighter.  Unfortunately, we are sometimes unsuccessful, however, that will never stop us.   The Firefighter's Prayer will help give us the courage and strength to push forward no matter how challenging the obstacle may be.  A.W. Smokey Linn was a firefighter until 1975 and passed away from illness in 2004.

From this prayer came the the Fireman's Wife's Prayer, which also gives perspective from the wife's point of view.

"The table's set, the meal's prepared, our guests will soon arrive.
My husband once more disappears with a hope of keeping a child alive.
While waiting at home alone, our plans having gone awry.
My first impulse is merely to sit right down and cry.
But soon again I realize the importance of my life.
When I agreed to take on the duties of being a fireman's wife.
While there are many drawbacks, I'll take them in my stride.
Knowing "My daddy saved a life", our children can say with pride.
The gusting winds and raging flames may be his final fate.
But with God's help I can remain my fireman's faithful mate."
Author Unknown.

Stay safe out there. As always, please share your thoughts below in the comments. 

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Jason S. 



    I think the first line of the Fireman’s pray should say
    When I am called to duty not When I a called to duty…

  • John Rowlands

    Smokey Smith apparently wrote The Firemans Prayer in 1958.
    In 1962 my wife and family moved into a fire dept house {30 houses in a square behind the fire hall).in Salford England.
    Under the stairs my wife found a rolled up parchment type paper on which was written The Firemans Prayer.
    It had obviously been in a crevice under the stairs for some time
    Considering that travel and communication was not what is today, I find it highly unlikely that Smokey Smith had anything to do with the poem that I have,as 1958 to 1962 is a short period of time to have found its way to a city in England. It is also interesting that the word neighbor is spelled the English way – neighbour
    My opinion is that this Firemans Prayer pre dates the smokey smith version

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