CAMP ZAMA, Japan – The guest speaker at Camp Zama’s National Prayer Breakfast said the event was an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to come together and acknowledge their collective faith and trust in God.
After giving remarks at the event, held April 17 at the Camp Zama Community Club, Col. Craig Evans, the assistant chief of staff, G2, U.S. Army Japan, said he felt privileged to have been invited to speak.
“[My spirituality is] my foundation, my anchor point for all of who I am as a man, as a husband, as a father, and as a Soldier,” Evans said. “I live by the verse Matthew 5:16—‘Let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and glorify your father in Heaven’—so the opportunity to share my story of faith with this community, and be a light in this community, is a huge honor.”
In his welcoming remarks following the invocation, Col. Christopher L. Tomlinson, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Japan, told the more than 100 people in attendance about the history of the event in America. In 1952, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill into law proclaiming the National Day of Prayer, which President Ronald Reagan amended in 1988, designating the day be observed on the first Thursday of May.
“The Army currently focuses on holistic health and fitness for our Soldiers, and spiritual readiness is one of the domains of that program,” Tomlinson said. “Prayer is an essential element in strengthening our Soldiers’ spiritual readiness. Today, I welcome you to pray with us.”
Attendees helped themselves to scrambled eggs, potatoes, bacon and French toast and ate their meal prior to Evans’ remarks. Community members from different faiths being able to share a meal together is a large part of what makes the prayer breakfast a beneficial event, Evans said.
“Despite our different backgrounds and organizations, we can come together and acknowledge the truth of our oath,” Evans said. “When we say, ‘so help me God,’ we [are saying that] we really do need God’s help. The National Prayer Breakfast and events like this are occasions for us to rally around that theme.”
Different command chaplains and community members offered various prayers after the meal—for families, for peace, the armed forces and the nation—before Evans was introduced.
Evans’ remarks focused on what he views as an important aspect of one’s faith, which he explains as “seek[ing] God’s heart, not just his hand.”
“When we get [God’s] heart, we inevitably receive his helping hand in every area of our life,” Evans said.
This year’s National Prayer Breakfast was held for the second year in a row, following past cancellations due to COVID-19.