By Corey Baumgartner
Iron County Today
CEDAR CITY–On May 10, the Cedar City Area Interfaith Alliance held a special gathering for community members, in the Gilbert Great Hall on the beautiful campus of Southern Utah University. The special devotional and breakfast was held in commemoration of this year’s National Day of Prayer. Musical guests and local leaders from many faiths, offered their praise through songs, words, and prayers.
Prayer is an important part of religion, but it’s more than just piety to Deity. It’s also about the relationship between the Creator and the created. It creates harmony within diversity. It builds relationships between family members, friends, community members, our nation, and our world. These relationships are needed now, more than ever, as our country continues to face challenges both from within and without. Prayer has the power to transcend boundaries and unite our hearts. Thus, the National Day of Prayer seeks to create stronger relationships of hope and unity, through prayers and song.
Inspiring music was provided by the talented Village Voices, accompanied by pianist, Harry Taylor and conductor, Danny Hansen. Along with their special musical spirits, Hansen shared a touching moment by dedicating their song, “My Country ‘tis of Thee,” to their dear friend, Dee Rich, who retired from his mortal musical mission to join the heavenly choirs above.
Guest speaker Elder Michael Scott Wilstead (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), then spoke of the power of prayer. “What a blessing and what a gift it is to know that God loves us as His children. That He cares for us and that He wants us to address Him in prayer.” Noting that not all people are free to pray in this world, he added, “What a sweet blessing it is to live in a land, this land of America, where we have freedoms to pray individually and in our congregations.” Elder Wilstead also spoke of the importance of seeking divine guidance for our hearts and our homes, which will create a righteous ripple effect of love and unity throughout the world.
Echoing those inspiring words, President Alan Rau (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), prayed that everyone would focus more on God each day and to keep the flame of faith burning bright in our hearts, homes, and places of worship throughout the world.
Following President Rau, Dixie Leavitt (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), prayed for God’s guidance in the home; to strengthen mothers, fathers, and grandparents, to then make wise choices as they teach, provide, protect, and love their children. He also prayed for single parents to be directed as they create homes where love reigns and children feel safe and secure.
With a special prayer for the community, Pastor Nancy Person (Community Presbyterian Church), prayed for Cedar City’s leaders, corporations, and organizations; including those who protect and serve. She also prayed for those among us living in the margins; the hungry, homeless, and hurting. She prayed that as individuals in the community, we would have eyes to see, and hands reaching out to help—even to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Concluding the moments of prayer, Pastor Jerry Van Iwaarden (Senior Pastor at the Westview Christian Center), prayer for more unity in our community. He prayed for God’s guidance for our state and nation. He also prayed for the rule of the righteous to be restored and for those who have departed from embracing the Biblical values our forefathers sought to establish. And may God continue to bless each of our hearts, homes, and America.