FORT DRUM, N.Y. (May 4, 2018) -- Fort Drum community members gathered for fellowship and prayer at the Commons on May 3 during the National Day of Prayer Luncheon.

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance celebrated on the first Thursday of May, and it was established by President Harry S. Truman as a nonpartisan, all-inclusive event with the focus on praying for the nation.

"I want to say what a unique privilege and opportunity we have to celebrate the National Day of Prayer on the National Day of Prayer," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) James Foster, deputy garrison chaplain.

The theme of this year's National Day of Prayer is "Pray for America - Unity," which Foster said is based on a passage from the scriptures, Ephesian 4:3, which challenges everyone to maintain a bond of peace.
Foster said that it was fitting that, with the theme of unity, the guest speaker for the luncheon was Chaplain (Col.) Mark Frederick, garrison chaplain.

"His main drive, which I have noticed since I've been here, is bringing the community together," Foster said. "He does a great job of speaking his heart and his mind to the community."

Frederick shared the story of Daniel and King Darius to illustrate the importance of prayer, faith and trust. The new king of Babylon succumbed to political pressure and made a law forbidding people from praying to God. The king was not aware this was a plot to get rid of Daniel, whom he admired as a great man and leader. Daniel continued to pray three times daily, an act which sent him to the lions' den. King Darius final words to Daniel before being sealed inside was assurance that his obedience to God would save him, and it was so.

"So what can you do when you're on the menu like Daniel? First, by being faithful to your beliefs," Frederick said. "That's how we're going to be united as a team here at Fort Drum, and as a team in America."

He said it is also important to be cognizant of limitations and to trust God for help.

"Daniel knew he was trapped," Frederick said. "No one was going to let Daniel out. There might be a tough situation today - maybe it's your job, it may be your marriage or your finances - and you feel like Daniel in that lions' den. When you're in a hopeless situation, what do you do next? You reach out, right? There's a lot of people who care about you and want to help."

Frederick said it is OK to reach out to the team of chaplains at Fort Drum when help is needed, and that there are many leaders who care about the well-being of Soldiers and their Families here.

"They are here because they care about you," he said. "But also, trust God to help. If we are to be united in prayer, I think it is important to trust God to help us, and deliver us sometimes from our difficult situations."

The luncheon included prayers from Chaplain (Capt.) Amy Smith, Chaplain (Capt.) Moshe Lans and Chaplain (Capt.) Daniel Goulet, and a scripture reading from Pfc. Adalyah Broughton. Additionally, the Turning Point Chorus Barbershop Quartet were invited to perform the National Anthem and "God Bless America," and a brass quintet from the 10th Mountain Division Band played during the luncheon.