National Prayer Luncheon

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Brooklyn Golightly
  • 374th Airlift Wing

The 374th Airlift Wing held a National Prayer Luncheon on March 23, 2023, at Yokota Air Base, Japan. For 70 years, the 374th Airlift Wing has held a meal in honor of the original “Presidential Prayer Breakfast" in 1953, which was attended by Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States.


In 1970 this event’s name changed to the National Prayer Breakfast and was celebrated at Yokota this year with a luncheon. Participants from across Japan gathered to observe a variety of religious practices. The services included sacred readings from the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths. Prayer for the nations and prayer over the United States and Japan military forces accompanied.


“This event is a great opportunity for our Airmen and families of all beliefs to focus on their spirituality and readiness,” said Col. Andrew Roddan, 374th Airlift Wing commander. “It is important for everyone to take time to look after themselves as being healthy encompasses much more than just physical health. Our spiritual health is equally important to our overall wellbeing and ultimately our ability to be successful.”


The event included words from guest speaker David Weiss, an Oscar and Emmy-nominated screenwriter currently working on an upcoming movie in Japan.


“I really feel so honored to be able to come and speak to the servicemen and women who are doing such a great service for our country,” said Weiss. “We talked about prayer, and it just lifted me up. I expect to hear about prayer at a church, at a synagogue, at a mosque, right? I’m on an Air Force Base, and we're in a lunchroom, and we're all talking about things that are much bigger than the meaning and purpose and prayer and infinity. And I love that.”


During the luncheon, the Pacific Air Force Band played scores from movies written by Weiss, and members from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Ward choir performed a hymn regarding the importance of prayer. Following the meal, Maj. Angeles De Leon, 374th Airlift Wing Chaplin, gave a benediction asking for safety and strength for Airmen.


“Faith is a very personal thing,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Friedman, 374th Maintenance and Operations Groups chaplain. “To know that once a year we have an event where people from all different faiths come together, and are able to proudly express their faith, realize they're not alone, and there are people who have the same burning desire in their heart to connect to something much greater than they, is very empowering. It's very beautiful. And it really gives us the ability to walk out of here knowing we can face tomorrow, just that much stronger.”