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Maj. Dawn Orta believes God is there wherever two or more people are gathered in his name, as said in Matthew 18:20.
That’s why she joined about 300 people Wednesday morning for the annual National Prayer Breakfast at Fort Knox.
Orta, who works as a recruiter for the Army’s medical department, said prayer is important to her so she was excited to meet in prayer with fellow soldiers.
Col. Pete Criner, garrison chaplain, has attended the breakfast each year for the past 32 years because he enjoys the camaraderie and reminding soldiers that their “senior commander in chief is God Almighty.”
“I hope that they can understand that there is power in prayer and that they don’t have to live a life of helplessness and hopelessness,” he said.
Criner said he saw the power of prayer about eight years ago when he was at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. An F16 fighter pilot was severely burned when his plane malfunctioned and he had to eject.
Criner said the man’s wife asked him why God would allow her husband to suffer. Criner told the woman that she needed to give her husband permission to die. Soon after she did so, her husband died.
Guest speaker Gregg Curtis, senior pastor of Stithton Baptist Church in Radcliff, told the audience a similar story from his time as a pastor.
He advised a woman to give her husband, an 85-year-old veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, permission to die. He, too, died soon after his wife told him that he had to go to heaven and wait for her.
Some audience members discreetly wiped their eyes on their hands and the sleeves of their fatigues after hearing the story.
Curtis and Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, commanding general of the U.S. Army Accessions Command and Fort Knox, said international issues, such as the U.S. fighting two wars and unrest in Egypt, and national issues at home, such as drugs and abuse, show a need for prayer.
Freakley called upon those at the breakfast to pray as often and faithfully as Joshua in the Bible. He said the Biblical leader received wisdom to reach political and military success because of his faithfulness to God.
“We should have hope,” he said. “We should have the faith of Joshua and we should move with courage into the future.”
Curtis said political and military leaders in the U.S. have historically prayed for help.
“Calling a nation to prayer seems to be part of our national heritage, one of our most basic and cherished freedoms,” he said. “So do we need prayer today? Without a doubt.”
Curtis said having a son deployed by the Army to Iraq and Afghanistan has taught him that there’s an even greater need and drive for people connected to the military to pray faithfully.
“I know that when your soldier goes off to a combat zone, I don’t know if you pray much prior to that, but I promise that you pray a lot during that year of deployment,” he said.
Col. David Hubner, chief of staff for the U.S. Army Cadet Command, said during his four deployments he has seen some things that he wishes he hadn’t. Turning to his faith helps him cope.
“Life can be tough and you’ve always got to have a rock to hang onto, and for me it’s my faith,” he said.
Hubner said his parents raised him to have faith in God and events such as the prayer breakfast help him to stay grounded in that faith so he can pass it on to his own children.
Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746.