By Sgt. Jared N. GehmannFebruary 22, 2013
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - More than 300 soldiers gathered at the Fort Bragg Club to dine, mingle and pray during the 60th annual National Prayer Breakfast Feb. 20.
The purpose of the National Prayer Breakfast is to bring soldiers together and celebrate God's blessings through prayer and cause spiritual awakening throughout various religions and denominations.
"The National Prayer Breakfast is held army-wide throughout the country and among multiple denominations. It's open to everyone, but here at Fort Bragg, we primarily target soldiers. It's an opportunity for us as soldiers to unite, take a knee, and remind ourselves of the power of prayer," said Capt. Todd Morrison, a native of Clarion, S.C., who serves as a chaplain with 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment.
The morning began with breakfast being served to soldiers by the Fort Bragg Club staff. Soldiers of diverse rank and experience, from privates to general officers, were all present in the same room practicing their faith.
"This is one of the rare opportunities in the army where high ranking officers and sergeants major are seen in a different and more relaxed light by lower enlisted soldiers. Everyone is here to exercise their faith and bond," said Nathan Carather, a chaplain assistant assigned to Special Troops Battalion, 82nd Sustainment Brigade and a San Antonio native.
After breakfast, the 82nd Airborne Chorus sang several songs and scripture was read from the Old Testament, New Testament, and Qur'an. Every year the event features speakers who recite scripture and prayers from multiple religions.
"There are times in the army when we have to pray while using a more pluralistic sense of God. What's unique about this event is that there are chaplains representing different traditions, so each chaplain is able to pray in their own tradition," said Morrison.
Following the reading of scripture, chaplains prayed for the welfare of the United States, the safety of deployed soldiers, the healing of wounded Soldiers and for the strengthening and support of military families.
The National Prayer Breakfast's guest speaker was Maj. Gen. Donald L. Rutherford, the 23rd Chief of Chaplains, who spoke on the importance of faith, community and tradition.
After all the prayers and scripture recital, the theme of the National Prayer Breakfast could perhaps be summed up by Morrison who said, "As chaotic and hectic as some of our lives are, and as fast as our op tempo can be, sometimes we need to consciously slow down and turn to a strength beyond ourselves. The prayer breakfast helps us slow down and draw on that strength God can give us."