By Ms. Elyssa Vondra (Jackson)February 14, 2019
Christianity, Islam and Judaism were all represented in a series of prayers over a meal at Fort Jackson during the 2019 National Prayer Breakfast Feb. 7.
Participants were invited to pray according to their own traditions, come together and seek out the similarities between one another.
The NCO Club hosted the free Religious Support Office event, and the 282nd Army Band performed.
"You see people from all walks of life gathered today for a single purpose: prayer," said Chap. (Lt. Col.) Rodie Lamb, Fort Jackson's deputy garrison chaplain. "We believe in the power of prayer. We believe that God intervenes in human affairs."
Retired Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Douglas L. Carver, executive director of Chaplaincy for the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board, was the guest speaker of the day. He stressed the importance of praying.
"Pray without ceasing … don't quit," Carver said. "Your prayers are powerful, and they work."
Carver said that years ago his dog was very sick, and his Family didn't have pet insurance.
He said his daughter suggested they just pray because "she believed."
He commented that courage can only come through prayer.
"You can get out on the Victory Tower or these roads with the best leaders in our nation," Carver said, "but you've got to have something beyond what we can give each other and instill in each other humanly, something that will instill strength into our soul."
Carver is a Rome, Georgia native and an ordained Southern Baptist minister who has led services in Colorado, Kentucky and Virginia.
He acted as the Army's 22nd Chief of Chaplains from 2007 through 2011, where he oversaw more than 2,900 chaplains.
Carver said he prayed hardest during his time wearing the active duty Army uniform.
"I think there's something very unique about this military life," Carver said. "There are friends who stood closer than brothers and sisters."
He emphasized that no one, active duty Army or not, is alone.
"There's somebody that cares for you, and we need to take that risk and enter into a relationship of accountability as we walk with people, because God did not intend for us to be alone," Carver said. "The scripture says it's not good to be alone."
The National Prayer Breakfasts have been bringing people together for decades, held annually in Washington, D.C. since 1953.
The sitting president of the United States has led the event every year.
The prayer breakfasts were founded during the "dark days" of World War II, when small groups in the U.S. Congress began to meet for prayer and bible study to "discuss their spiritual needs," Lamb said.
Members of the prayer groups approached former President Dwight Eisenhower with the idea for a National Prayer Breakfast, Lamb said, and the rest is history.
Locations such as Fort Jackson have since started holding their own versions annually.
The breakfasts were originally a way to "seek divine guidance for the national leadership and to proclaim their dependence on God and faith in him," Lamb said.
At Fort Jackson, they are now "a means of inviting their units for a gathering of spiritual renewal and inspiration," he added.