Fort Leonard Wood hosted the 2019 National Prayer Breakfast at Pershing Community Center May 1.
The event, titled “Becoming a Leader God Can Use,” featured four prayers: for the nation, for the president and congress, for the military, and for the community.
Chaplains led the prayers following performances from the 399th Army Band and two congregational songs, “Amazing Grace,” and “Sweet Hour of Prayer.”
Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood Commanding General Maj. Gen. Donna Martin delivered remarks on the significance of the event, which, she said, lies in the preservation of Soldiers’ spiritual and mental welfare.
“Drill sergeants and command teams work long hours, seven days a week, but we must preserve and look out for each other and we do that by building and maintaining spiritual resilience to preserve ourselves, our battle buddies, our families and our forces,” she said.
“The most effective senior leaders I have met in my career intentionally work on spiritual resilience and they benefit from it with increased strength, faith and character. We have to make time for it,” Martin said.
Martin introduced the keynote speaker, retired Chaplain (Col.) Marc Gauthier. He completed two tours of duty in Iraq and served as the command chaplain for the U.S. Army Special Forces Command.
Gauthier began his message with a quote from scripture, John 13:1–5; 12-17, in which 12 hours before his crucifixion, Jesus uses his status of power to serve and not be served.
“He has gathered his 12 disciples to celebrate the Passover,” Gauthier said. “He rises, takes off his robe — a symbol of his authority as a rabbi and teacher — takes up a towel and pours water in a basin and proceeds to wash the feet of the men gathered around the table.”
“Jesus, at his realization of the fact he is the most powerful man in the room, takes the job of the lowest servant,” he added. “Rank, position, authority is all about stewardship.”
Gauthier challenged leaders to “love your Soldier as you love yourself,” likening leadership to a “loving act of devotion.”
Gauthier said great leadership starts with love. “Second, great leaders are great examples. Third, great leaders are great servants.”
He said that in choosing to wash the others’ feet, Jesus exemplified all three characteristics.
“Based on the example of Jesus, the reason we are given rank is to give it away. It is a tool for service,” he said. “So, in the times that you are the most powerful person in the room, lead like Jesus; look for that opportunity to use your influence to serve those under your charge.”