CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea – Representatives of various faiths gathered for the National Day of Prayer observance, May 26, at the Four Chaplains Memorial Chapel. The event included a Buddhist chaplain, Jewish chaplain, a Muslim chaplain, a member of the pagan community as well as Catholic and Protestant representatives, said Chaplain (Maj.) Christian Bang, the plans and operations chaplain for the Camp Humphreys garrison religious support office
“This is a non-denominational day of prayer, so regardless of religions we want to gather together,” said Bang. “Even though we have different religious backgrounds, we like to pray for the nation.”
The observance celebrated the 70th anniversary of the National Day of Prayer. Attendees were led in four prayers: a prayer for the armed forces/civilians and military leaders; a prayer for service members; a prayer for the fallen and their families; and a prayer for peace and justice in the world.
“We don’t gather just because this is the National Day of Prayer, but because it is really important for us to gather together once in a while so we can pray for the nation, especially our leaders and our Soldiers,” said Bang. “We really need to do a lot of prayer for the nation. Our Soldiers really need prayer support (and) our family members need prayer support, and that’s the reason that we are here.”
Bang said the event was open to the entire Camp Humphreys community and included a free Korean lunch. Chaplain (Col.) Karen Meeker, 8th Army command chaplain, was the guest speaker and talked on the importance of praying first.
“There are a lot of things happening in our world, but we are not powerless,” said Meeker. “We can come together and pray for those who are suffering in North Korea, in Ukraine, those under the pandemic, those who suffered loss in the shootings, those who are considering suicide, and all the mental and behavior health issues going on - lets come together and pray and intercede and see what God will do.”
During her speech Meeker encouraged listeners to not limit their prayers but to request boldly. She also reassured those who may be struggling to make prayer their initial response.
“First pray,” said Meeker. “You can pray anywhere you’re at. You don’t need someone else to do that for you. You can just pray. God is all access: 24/7. It’s simply the words and concerns of your heart. Just lift those up to God and God will hear your prayer – he already knows your concerns so it’s just having a conversation.”
Meeker went on to say Camp Humphreys is home to 19 different worship services. She believes there is something out there for everyone. She shared how one Soldier, during a time of restricted movement, took advantage of the ability to attend worship services.
“The Soldiers were allowed to go to chapel services, and he went to every single chapel service on Camp Humphreys,” said Meeker laughing. “You can do that too. You can go and explore and find the community that works for you. You can also stop in to the Four Chaplains Memorial Chapel, to the U.S. Army Garrison Religious Support Office and talk to the staff here, or if you know the chaplain over your unit or organization or the religious affairs specialist you can talk to them as well.”