By Greg Thompson, Fort Knox News Contributing WriterMarch 10, 2017
On March 2 Soldiers, Army civilian employees, Fort Knox Families and others gathered in Prichard Chapel for the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast.
The hourlong program combined prayer for the nation, deployed Soldiers, the Fort Knox community and Soldiers and their Families.
been burned with problems or situations--now in this sacred hour--you take all of that and throw it behind you and forget about the rest of the world and connect with the Almighty," instructed Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Mackberth Williams, senior deputy chaplain.
This annual time of prayer and devotion was open to the public with the Fort Knox Religious Support Office preparing to host between 250 and 300 spiritual warriors.
Chaplain (Col.) David VanderJagt, senior garrison chaplain, described the event as taking a moment in time to recognize there is a God and that God has a personal interest in every individual and to be reminded that God has something to say to humanity.
Garrison Commander Col. Steve Aiton reminded those present that the prayer groups were inaugurated in Congress in 1942.
"In 1953, President Dwight David Eisenhower established the Presidential Prayer Breakfast that continues to this day," he said. "In 1970, the name changed to the National Prayer Breakfast putting less emphasis on the individuals involved and more on the gathering."
Throughout the program inspirational hymns and songs were offered by diverse groups, choirs and duets of differing styles.
Knees bounced, hands raised to the heavens and heads were bowed low among the vast congregation.
"Sing along, clap your hands and participate if that's your way or just sit back, relax and enjoy the program," encouraged Aiton.
VanderJagt offered the message and it was one giving pointers of how to extend and maintain a heart of praise every day outside of such an event. He gave three points to think about that could foster praise to God.
He instructed those gathered to take their index finger, point it away from themselves and shake their heads no.
"You can't look outward," he said. "There are problems in this world."
VanderJagt said it is easy to stand in a spirit of praise when everything is going well--when the spouse is pleased, the children have received good grades and the boss is complimentary. There are many days when that is not the case.
"When you're focusing on your problems and difficulties it's hard to have a heart of praise," said the senior chaplain.
VanderJagt then instructed everyone to take the same finger, point it inward and shake their heads no.
He said it is difficult to find enough energy from within for a daily heart of praise. Individuals cannot depend on their own wisdom or their strength to supply that type of attitude.
"Our praise cannot be about ourselves," he said. "Because, if it is about ourselves--does anybody actually care?"
Making his third point, the chaplain gave the instruction, one more time, to take that same index finger and point it upward and shake their heads yes.
According to VanderJagt's message, in the midst of daily struggles it is important to pause and realize there is a God who loves and cares for each individual and exercises kindness, justice and righteousness.
"We have to look upward and see a God who is worthy," he said. "If we are going to have a heart of praise we must continue our lives looking upward."
Following closing remarks and the benediction every officer, enlisted Soldier, singer and person of quiet prayer joined for fellowship and a breakfast prepared in the fellowship hall by the various Fort Knox congregations.