As this year’s prayer breakfast began, Stan Shakespeare, CAIFA president, gave a brief history of the National Day of Prayer, which takes place the first Thursday in May. He thanked the many people from churches, governments and the community who came to add their support and prayers to the special day.
“This special day was passed as a national holiday by Congress in 1952 to give thanks to God for His blessings on this land,” he said. “We’re grateful for the religious leaders and government leaders from community churches in Iron County who are here with us today.”
Patti Lund, from Christ the King Catholic Church and CAIFA president-elect, then offered the invocation, pleading for help to defend religious freedoms so that all may worship without fear.
Throughout the morning, there were several inspiring musical numbers thanks to pianist Harry Taylor, conductor Dee Rich and accompanist Danny Hansen. The Village Voices also sang inspirational songs along with the congregational hymns, “As I Have Loved You” and “God Bless America.”
While everyone enjoyed a traditional breakfast, President Allan D. Rau, director of the LDS Institute of Religion at SUU, introduced the morning’s keynote speaker, Dane O. Leavitt from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
“He has the disposition of a disciple of Jesus Christ,” Rau said of Leavitt. “His blend of intelligence, ability, and compassion certainly qualify him to speak to us today.”
Leavitt spoke about the significance of strengthening prayer’s role in our individual lives, in our families, and in our community.
“Prayer is the language that connects us to God,” Leavitt said. “Prayer is the most powerful of languages. For it is to this language we turn when we need God’s help. It is the language to which we turn when we are in despair, when we are in over our heads, when we are in pain, when we don’t understand and struggle. Prayer is the language to which we also receive answers that guide us to peace, love, joy, confidence, and forgiveness. It heals our spirits.”
Then speaking of the world’s view on prayer Leavitt added, “We live in an age in which increasingly we are taught not to pray and that prayers and faith are not relevant.” He said that those opposing voices are often spoken by “those who don’t know the language, its power and peace.”
Following Leavitt’s remarks, specific prayers were offered up by community church leaders for Faith, Family, a Community in Unity and the Nation and Freedom.
Praying on the topic of Faith, Father Lee Montgomery, of St. Jude’s Episcopal Church, said, “Preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties. Strengthen within our hearts the faith you have given us and let nothing in our world quench the fire of faith that your love has kindled within our heart.”
Ruth Kinney, of Community Presbyterian Church, then prayed for the Family. “Lord, we lift to you our homes, the place where we first learned to love and share, in truth, trust and commitment. We ask that you bring the right people into the lives of our sons and daughters to help them find the way, the truth and the light of Jesus Christ. We ask for the skills and wisdom to raise strong, God loving families of strength and truth.”
Ron Webber, from the Trinity Lutheran Church, prayed for unity in the community. “Help us to embrace those who are homeless, hungry, sick, and afraid as your son did during his days here on earth. Open our eyes to the needs of others. Open our hearts to give generously of our time and talents and resources.”
And Jerry Van Iwaarden, of Westview Christian Center, evoked a patriotic spirit for the nation and freedom. “Our hearts overflow with thanksgiving because in the middle of dark and cloudy times, you have continued to preserve us and bless us beyond belief. We are still in America, a city set on a hill shining forth for all to see and to take hope from. You have given us hearts of love for our neighbors and the desire to bring hope to all those in less fortunate circumstances.”
The congregation then sang God Bless America, and Elder Eric J. Schmutz, Area Seventy, 5th Quorum, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, offered the benediction, grateful for the feelings of faith, family, community and the nation that were expressed.