About 200 people from Fort Knox and the surrounding communities gathered in Prichard Chapel on post Feb. 20 for the 2018 National Prayer Breakfast.

Before eating breakfast, which was sponsored by the Fort Knox Religious Support Office, attendees sat in church pews for a service that included musical performances, a message Fort Knox Garrison Chaplain (Col.) David VanderJagt and prayer.

Chaplains focused the prayers on the nation, service members and military Families.

"One hundred years ago, you put it in the minds of men to create this community -- known today as Fort Knox. While we know this post was created to prepare Soldiers for war, and it still serves that function, it is also our home," 83rd Training Command Chaplain (Maj.) Mark Williams said during his prayer for the Fort Knox community. "We ask today for your blessing and guidance for the future of this post. We pray for the commanders and senior noncommissioned officers, who are responsible for executing their missions as well as the other men and women who accomplish them. Give these leaders wisdom and compassion as they balance the needs of our nation with the needs of our Soldiers, civilians and Families."

U.S. Army Human Resources Command Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Carol Highsmith prayed for protection for the post's Soldiers and Family members.

"We pray that [God's] hedgerow of protection surrounds [Soldiers and Families] with guardian angels," said Highsmith. "We pray that you steady the hearts and calm the fears. We pray your blessings upon their children -- that they may find comfort, security and a special pride knowing that their moms and dads have volunteered to serve our country as Soldiers."

"Lord, we pray that one day, there will be no more war," Highsmith added.

Prayer breakfasts have a long history in this country, according to the Religious Support Office.
In 1942, prayer breakfast groups were created in Congress and have since held weekly meetings to discuss individual and national spiritual needs. In 1953, members of Congress and President Dwight Eisenhower established the first Presidential Prayer Breakfast to seek spiritual guidance for national leadership and reaffirm their faith in God.

Every year since then, presidents, members of their cabinet, the Supreme Court, Congress, the Diplomatic Corps and military leaders as well as leaders in business, labor, education, and science from all over the country have met annually for this purpose.

In 1970, the name was changed to the National Prayer Breakfast to emphasize a focus on the scope and purpose of the gathering.

VanderJagt used the opportunity to discuss to those in attendance the importance of selflessness.
"You will never be able to live beyond yourself if you can't get over yourself. There are two parts of that -- pride and selfishness. Pride is a hindrance to our capacity to see the needs of others … God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble," he said. "Selfishness will cause many problems in your life. I have never done a marriage counseling where there was not some form of selfishness in one or both parties. It will create a problem between you and your neighbor … you and those you work with. Selfishness has a tendency to erode and corrupt those around you. Selfishness will always cause a problem.

"You need to have passion to live beyond yourself … Love is passion that will allow you to live beyond your own self… When the love of God possesses and holds you, you will truly live beyond yourself," VanderJagt added. "You will have hope when there should be no hope. You will have faith when all the lights of this world seem dim. You will stand firm in the strongest of storms. You will have peace when your ship is sinking … That truly is the greatest love … The love of God will change your life."

Immediately following the service, attendees enjoyed comradery and a breakfast buffet in the chapel's basement, prepared by volunteer Soldiers who call themselves The Grill Sergeants.

Sheri Williams, who attended the prayer breakfast with her family, explained her opinion on the importance of the prayer breakfast to the Fort Knox spiritual community.

"There are different chapels and services within those chapels," she said. "[In] events like this, we all can come together under the same banner of faith … It's a unique opportunity for unity."