COB Adder gathers for National Day of Prayer
May 11, 2011
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq - Contingency Operating Base Adder, near Nasiriyah, Iraq held a breakfast May 5 to observe the 60th National Day of Prayer, an annual event held on the first Thursday of May each year.
"The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage," says the official website of the observance. "Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln's proclamation of a day of 'humiliation, fasting and prayer' in 1863."
This year's theme was A Mighty Fortress is our God. It was based on the passage, "I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust," as found in Psalm 91:2, which Chaplain (Maj.) Martin Kendrick incorporated into his sermon while Soldiers, Airmen and civilians listened intently over their breakfast.
Kendrick, the chaplain for 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, explained that when the book of Psalms was written, building materials were difficult to come by and tools were primitive, so people built dwellings and shelters into the side of a mountain, utilizing the natural caves in the rock.
"The psalmist takes this imagery of hiding in a cave for protection and applies it to God," he said. "God is our fortress. God is our shelter. God is the one that will provide the protection that we need. Because God will protect us, whom shall we fear' Nobody and nothing!"
The service continued with a series of topic focused prayers, presented by chaplains and chaplain's assistants from around COB Adder. Among the topics were prayers for the government, military, education, church and family.
"O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect. Amen," said Sgt. Richard Courtney, the chaplain's assistant for 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, in his prayer for peace.
Courtney said being able to participate was humbling and that prayer maintains a healthy relationship between an individual and their spirituality.
"This is important because it reminds people that our spirituality is a relationship first and foremost, and like any other relationship communication is the key to success. Prayer is how we communicate with God and to do it collectively like this is powerful," he said.
The service ended after participants read eight various prayers and the group sang a hymn.
Afterward, attendees mingled and chatted about the service and agreed that the service was valuable to the morale and spiritual health of those that attended.
"Soldiers must be physically, mentally and spiritually strong and it's important for leadership to allow us to develop in all those areas," said Maj. Allison Day, the brigade's engineer. "The service showed the diversity of all different denominations. It was a real bonding experience."