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Prayers for the nation

Stephen Scoggins, keynote speaker, speaks about the struggles he faced earlier in his life during the National Prayer Luncheon, May 5, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Scoggins discussed how he believes prayer helped him get through his struggles and create a more successful life for himself. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ashley Williamson/Released)

Stephen Scoggins, keynote speaker, speaks about the struggles he faced earlier in his life during the National Prayer Luncheon, May 5, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Scoggins discussed how he believes prayer helped him get through his struggles and create a more successful life for himself. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ashley Williamson/Released)

Team Seymour members bow their heads in prayer during the National Prayer Luncheon, May 5, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Every year, the first Thursday of May is dedicated to the National Day of Prayer and is celebrated with a luncheon at the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ashley Williamson/Released)

Team Seymour members bow their heads in prayer during the National Prayer Luncheon, May 5, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Every year, the first Thursday of May is dedicated to the National Day of Prayer and is celebrated with a luncheon at the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ashley Williamson/Released)

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --

The 4th Fighter Wing Chaplain Corps hosted the 2016 National Prayer Luncheon, May 5, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

More than 100 Team Seymour members attended the annual luncheon, which was held in honor of the National Day of Prayer and highlight the importance of strengthening each Airman’s spiritual resilience.

“Spirituality is one of the Air Force’s four pillars [of strength] and is a crucial piece of what we are as a nation,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Douglas Dixon, 4th Fighter Wing chaplain. “We all have a spiritual element to us. We need to focus and lean on that for strength and hope for inspiration and to keep going forward.”

Dating back to 1775 when the colonists prayed for the wisdom to form a nation, the National Day of Prayer has been a part of United States history. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln set aside a day each year for “humiliation, fasting, and prayer.” President Dwight D. Eisenhower finally declared the first Thursday of every May, National Day of Prayer in 1953.

The event’s keynote speaker, Stephen Scoggins, spoke about his own personal story of spiritual resilience. He elaborated on his early struggles with family and a period of homelessness. His life’s journey is also what he attributes as the driving force that led him to prayer and a more successful life.

“The National Day of Prayer means everything to me because without prayer, I wouldn’t be where I’m at,” Scoggins said. “I wouldn’t have had the chance to lead people and help them grow. I learned a long time ago that part of prayer is listening; when you listen first, you hear more. You get clear direction. You get clear steps ahead. You get that next step, that next piece of faith that comes with the prayer specifically.”

Scoggins added how the event was a great way to remind oneself that when all is lost, there is still hope; sometimes the best place to be is on our knees with open arms and open hearts, asking and listening for guidance.

“The National Day of Prayer is important because it offers hope when people have none,” Scoggins said. “It allows people who are broken to be built, relationships to be healed, and allows their faith to be found.”

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