FORT HOOD, Texas - Chaplains, religious affairs specialists, Soldiers and civilians from across Fort Hood came together for the III Corps and Fort Hood National Prayer Breakfast at the Lone Star Conference Center here, May 4.
Chaplains of all faith backgrounds provided a litany of prayers of peace – for the world, for the United States, for the armed forces, for deployed service members and for military families.
“The significance of prayer has been central to the human experience since the dawn of creation,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Robert Fry, 1st Cavalry Division Artillery chaplain. “In every culture on earth, human beings have recognized that the strength needed, both to endure life’s challenges and fully appreciate creation’s wonders, lies outside themselves. They have, therefore, sought to connect with the divine.”
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the National Day of Prayer, which is celebrated annually on the first Thursday of May. The National Day of Prayer was formally established by President Harry S. Truman in 1952. Traditionally, the president makes a National Day of Prayer proclamation, as people from across the country, of all religious backgrounds, come together to pray for the nation.
Speaking to more than 200 people gathered for the prayer breakfast, retired Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Douglas Carver, executive director of chaplaincy for the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board, said he had another message prepared, but Proverbs 19:23 came to him, and although he had never preached on that scripture before, he is not one to ignore a message from God.
Reading the scripture, Carver said, “The fear of the Lord leads to life and all who hear it will be satisfied. They will be untouched by trouble, they will not be visited by evil.”
The former Army chaplain, who served as the Army’s 22nd chief of chaplains from 2007-2011, shared the story of Pfc. Ross McGinnis, who saved the lives of the Soldiers in his humvee on Dec. 6, 2006. When a grenade entered the vehicle, and with only seconds to spare, McGinnis dove onto the grenade, taking the full brunt and saving his battle buddies.
Carver said he will never forget what McGinnis’ father told those same Soldiers during his son’s posthumous Medal of Honor ceremony.
“‘You can’t replace my son, but do me a favor,’” Carver said, sharing Thomas McGinnis’ message. “‘Go out and live a good life and make Ross, make us, proud of what you’ve done with your life.’”
Carver’s message of fear, faith and satisfaction included Texas native Robert “Pete” Taylor’s story of survival during the Bataan Death March in April 1942. While the 74,000 American and Filipino prisoners-of-war were forced to march 65 miles, more than 21,000 people died. Taylor’s faith kept him and other Soldiers alive.
“He was preaching to his troops and said, ‘I’m not gonna die. I am choosing to live. And you are not gonna die, because the Lord our God is with us, so be strong in the Lord,’” Carver said, “That’s a person who looks death in the face and says, ‘My God is greater than death.’”
In conclusion, Carver reminded those in attendance that Fort Hood is the Great Place and prayed it could be that much greater.
“How much greater could this city, this community, be if you truly chose this day to make the Lord the fear and the reverence of your life?” he said. “I pray that God continues to make Fort Hood a great place – greater than any you have ever seen or could imagine, for God’s glory alone.”