By Michael Bassett, ASC Public AffairsMay 10, 2016
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. - Tracing its origins from Presidents Washington, Truman and Reagan, Rock Island Arsenal's 6th Annual National Day of Prayer on May 5 featured speakers who reminded attendees of the importance of diversity, peace, unity, faith and the greater good in ourselves and all of humanity.
The invocation by First Army command chaplain, Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Steven Moser began by asking God to provide guidance and blessings in "a season that tries our souls, in a battle against violence and terrorism." He prayed for God's imparted wisdom during a tumultuous election season, and that God's righteousness guide the hearts of Americans navigating contentious issues.
Rev. Canon Edward den Blaauwen, Christ Anglican Church, Moline, continued with a Plato quote: "Mankind will never see an end of trouble until lovers of wisdom come to hold political power, or the holders of power become lovers of wisdom."
Den Blaauwen asked God to open our hearts and minds to the voices of leaders close to his kingdom, that they may be filled with love of truth and righteousness, mindful of the call to serve the people of this nation - "One nation under God." He prayed for America's leaders to inherit godly wisdom.
Rev. Stephen Palm, Evangelical Free Church, Geneseo, told the story of Alexis de Tocqueville's wide-eyed enthusiasm, observing America's formation "against the backdrop of his European culture that had largely abandoned God.
"I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers -- and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce -- and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution -- and it was not there," he said, citing de Tocqueville. "Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. The safeguard of morality is religion and morality is the best security of law as well as the surest pledge of freedom."
Palm prayed for America during its election cycle, that the men and women we elect seek the counsel of the Lord, saying those who lead on their knees before the Lord lead the great nation to persevere through turbulent times.
"So often in our foolishness we desire the benefits of blessing without walking the path of blessing. We want freedom without responsibility," said Palm." We want justice without morality. We want respect without acting with integrity. And we want blessing without God. It is not the narrow path that Jesus said leads to life, it is the broad way that leads to destruction."
Rabbi Henry Karp, Temple Emmanuel, Davenport, prayed for humanity to coexist peacefully under the same God despite varieties and diversities of age, sexual orientation, or religious denomination.
"We are all one in that we are all your loving and beloved children," said Karp.
He prayed for God's strength in accepting this diversity through mutual respect for each other as his children to work for the common good to repair the broken world.
Chaplain (Maj.) Willie Mashack, Joint Munitions Command chaplain, thanked God for the ability to lead our great nation, but also for the ability to empower nations who are not as strong, praying that God may be "the source of our supply" to do justice in an unjust world until the day we can "turn our weapons into ploughshares and study war no more."
Guest speaker, Col. James Baker, Army Sustainment Command deputy chief of staff for Intelligence, focused his discussion on "the power of prayer," stating that prayer is an essential part of our daily lives, especially in our hardest times. Baker encouraged guests to remember we are not alone and always have God's love -- "a love too deep, powerful and profound for us to fully understand." He said we become more loving like God when we have him in our hearts.
More important to God, Baker said, are those who do not know him because those are the people who need to be found and shown his love.
"The peace of God provides all understanding and will guide your heart and your mind to Jesus Christ, so when you pray, speak to God using your own words," he said. "God understands all thoughts, feelings, problems, and languages.
"The power of prayer has overcome enemies, overcome death, brought him, and even defeated demons," Baker said. "Indeed, God through prayer, opens eyes, changes hearts, heals wounds, and grants wisdom."