Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany --
Gathered together in the Base Conference Center for breakfast May 7 were Marines and civilians with one common goal. They were there to observe the 58th National Day of Prayer, Friday.
Created in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress by President Harry S. Truman, the first Thursday of May is set aside as the day for the annual observance.
The theme for this year’s annual observance was ‘Prayer: America’s Hope.’ According to the website, www.ndptf.org, the mission of the National Day of Prayer Task Force is to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, mobilizing the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership in the military and government.
Col. C.N. Haliday, commanding officer, Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, GA., welcomed attendees to the prayer breakfast and celebration of the national day of prayer. “I am so very happy to see everyone here this morning bright and early. It is a tremendous opportunity to gather together, fellowship together, share some good food and reflect on the importance of faith and prayer.”
“The idea of hope is a wonderful theme and is derived from Psalms 33, verse 22. As a matter of fact, leaders use it to inspire and our president used it amply during his election campaign and more recently as he reflected on the first 100 days of his administration. The ability to hope is a force that exists in all of us,” Haliday said.
“Our guest speaker’s 30 year Marine Corps history spans a wide range of duties as an enlisted Marine, a warrant officer and an officer. What I think is remarkable about his career is that while he served his country faithfully, he simultaneously and consistently served God and the faithful in multiple capacities and in multiple locations during that same period. There is no doubt in my mind that he made a difference in many communities around the globe,” he said.
The guest speaker was retired Marine Maj. James Edwards, pastor of New Salem Baptist Church, Baconton, Ga., and previous MCLB Albany base adjutant until he retired in 2000. He also serves as the chaplin for Autry State Prison in Camilla, Ga.
Following a musical selection by Jacqueline Clark, program assistant, Logistics Support Division, MCLB Albany, Ga., and Sandra Inman, financial management analyst, Program Support Center, Marine Corps Logistics Command, an introduction by Chaplain Ken Miller, Edwards delivered a rousing speech that drew several applause’s and amen’s. Miller said Edwards is not only a man who loves his country, but his God.
“I thank God for allowing me to be here and all of you for coming to share in this day. It is a great day to be a citizen of the United States of America. I am a Baptist preacher, so I must read a foundational scripture (2 Kings 2:9) even though I will read others. The story of Elijah and Elisha is relevant for our hope today, because our young people need mentors and leaders they can look up to. Don’t leave them behind, take them with you. That is the easiest way to keep a young person off drugs and out of trouble,” Edwards said.
“When I got the call from Chaplain Miller to come today, I started thinking about what I could say to the people here today who have been there and done that. Each of you know how great this country is and we know how God has blessed us. Because this is my country, I need to make sure I pray for my country. I may not be able to do a lot of things for it, but one thing I can do is pray,” Edwards said.
Edwards stressed that everyone has got to make sure that we are preparing the next generation to take over this country.
Edwards continued, “As I travel around and look at this nation, I see where a lot of our young people are missing out because the Elijah’s of today have stopped ministering to the Elisha’s. What is happening is, our young people are falling by the way side. The problem in our community is not the fault of the young people, but the fault of the older people. We have stopped doing what we need to do.
“In the book of Joshua, it talks about a generation that had died out and a new generation who did not know our God. How is it we can allow this generation to grow up in a nation and not know the God that brought them over, kept them and fought their enemies for them?” he asked.
“When you don’t know what to do, you do what feels right or what the people around you do. We now have a generation who doesn’t know what to do because they have not been taught. We need to reach out and give this generation hope they can stand on and they too need a double portion,” Edwards said. “What I mean is we are trying to reach this generation with the information we were taught in ours. It simply won’t work because there is a disconnect and a gap that needs to be reconnected. Until we do that, we can’t get to where God wants us to be.”
Haliday challenged those in attendance to stop and think a little bit.
“Acknowledging that it is a wonderful theme, I want to offer a brief critique of it, not a criticism. As we often say in the Marine Corps, hope is not a plan. Hope for peace, justice and an end to suffering are worthy objects, but not a plan. We need to translate that hope into action, to engage in involvement, leadership, followership, direction, action and hopefully affect,” he said.
The day of prayer website further states, “In the wake of the September 11 attacks on our own soil, the American people have realized that the face of war is forever changed. No longer can we think of combat being fought solely on faraway shores. We must acknowledge that many of the United States’ enemies are among us, even as others plot against us from afar.
“With this sobering reality in mind, pray for the courageous troops who are actively serving our country each day not only at bases around the world, but also here within our borders. Our soldiers daily place themselves in harm’s way in order to defend the way of life we hold dear, and they desperately need our prayer support,” according to the website.
Edwards added that new ideas and strategies are needed to reach this generation. He said we must reach out by volunteering and giving back.
“John C. Maxwell said in one of his books, ‘when you pray, pray logistically by letting the small things I do count; pray tactically by being an example; and pray strategically by asking God what we need to do to make a change right here in this community to instill hope and make a difference.’ We need to stop thinking “they”, it is “we” or “us” that need to make a difference,” Edwards said.
“Growing up in rural Arkansas, I remember when we used to take an old mule and pair them with a younger one. This made the job easier because they worked in unison. The same idea applies today; we must reach back and get that younger generation and walk with them, talk with them and share with them this message of hope,” he added.
Edwards concluded by stating, “As a Marine, I used to tell the troops that worked for me not to worry about making mistakes. Mistakes can be corrected. The only thing you need to ask is if I make a mistake will someone die or will it lead to war. If the answer is no, do what you need to do. Hope for this nation is based on the fact that we keep our faith and hope in the Lord and our nation will be blessed.”