By Staff Sgt. Tony Foster
Division West Public Affairs
FORT HOOD, Texas - First Army Division West hosted a prayer breakfast at the Spirit of Fort Hood Chapel here, April 17, featuring words of prayer and preparation from the incoming U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains.
"The purpose of our gathering together is to reflect and ask ourselves, where am I in my own prayer life," said Chaplain (Col.) Paul K. Hurley, incoming Chief of Chaplains. "It's in that prayer, it's in that life that we will come to experience the awesomeness of our God working in us and through us and for us."
The morning's breakfast started with about 189 people mingling to a medley of soft music presented by the 1st Cavalry Division Band followed with an invocation by Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Kenneth R. Sorenson, Division West Command chaplain.
Following Sorenson, Lt. Col. Damar K. Jones, Division West Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program manager, spoke to reflect on April as SHARP Awareness and Prevention Month.
"April offers a unique opportunity to build an existing momentum to fight this crime and ensure that all service members are treated with dignity and respect," said Jones.
She went on to explain the meaning of the color teal as it relates to the SHARP campaign, emphasizing that teal represents the idea of enriching the spirit while coinciding with the prayer breakfast's theme.
"Teal represents a touch of sophistication and richness," said Jones. "It also indicates trust, devotion, healing and spiritual guidance."
A scripture reading of Proverbs 3:5-6, was followed by musical selections from Staff Sgt. Chor Park, Division West's senior driver, Richard Lewis, an English musician, and Huw Priday, a Welsh opera singer and Christian recording artist.
Before Priday began his rendition of what became known as "The Love Song of the Welsh Revival of 1904," he gave affirming words to the crowd.
"Wales stands firm with America. When we sang this morning, when you all faced the flag, I sensed such a heart of commitment and compassion for your nation," said Priday. "I was reminded that this mission was founded on Christian principles, as is the land of Wales."
Patrice L. Sorenson, wife of Chaplain Sorenson, had heart-felt words to reflect her thoughts toward the breakfast's atmosphere.
"I felt like it really prepared the people for what the speaker was about to say," she said. "It was so quiet in the room once the song was done and we were all ready to hear a word from the Lord."
The event's speaker was introduced by one of his chaplain counterparts, Chaplain (Col.) Robert H. Whitlock, III Corps Command chaplain.
Hurley captured the audience with humorous statements which filled the room with laughter. He spoke on the need for spiritual preparation and paralleled it with the military profession's own standard of being prepared.
"We are masters of being prepared," said Hurley. "Think about how much it takes to prepare a single Soldier and their family for deployment."
He stated how impressive the Army's preparation skills are, but also intrigued the crowd with a question that was the foundation of his speech.
Hurley asked, "Do we prepare ourselves in our spiritual life? Do we take a fraction of our time and resources to prepare ourselves in this way?"
As silence gripped the room, then Hurley continued with a quote from former General of the Army George C. Marshall, commenting on the importance of the spirit.
"The Soldier's heart, the Soldier's spirit, the Soldier's soul, are everything. Unless the Soldier's soul sustains him, he cannot be relied on and will fail himself and his commander and his country in the end," quoted Hurley.
Marshall's words emphasized the significance of working on the inward parts of ourselves that are more permanent and lasting.
"We are building on a belief of a belief. We are building on things infinitely more potent," said Hurley. "For it's what men believe that makes them invincible."
He referenced Marshall's words again to further explain our innate need to seek for something greater inside.
"We have sought for something more than enthusiasm, something finer and higher than optimism or self-confidence, something not merely of the intellect or the emotions but rather something in the spirit of the man, something encompassed only by the soul," said Hurley, quoting Marshall.
Hurley concluded his sermon in the same way he began, with words about spiritual preparation and the need for a relationship with God.
"We can't do backwards planning for when we'll meet our God," he said. "Our lives are mysterious in that sense and there are aspects of our lives that are a complete mystery that we don't entirely understand.
"Our lives are awesome and have an element, that if we let it, will surprise us and put us in awe," he continued. "That kind of life requires something of us that is to be prepared for those times. It's in that prayer, it's in that life that we will come to experience the awesomeness of our God working in us and through us and for us."