National Day of Prayer4 min read

By Ruth Scovill

The National Day of Prayer commemoration in Cedar City was a beautiful and unique evening of prayer and music. While it is customary in Cedar City to open many events with a prayer, it is unusual to have prayer be the main focus of the evening, and it was very interesting and touching to hear representatives of different traditions within our community share their thoughts to the Lord in their own ways. It was an evening of sharing and growing understanding. It was truly a unifying event. The music was a highlight of the evening. In the Latter-Day Saint scriptures, there is a verse that says “My soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads” (Doctrine and Covenants 25:12). Feeling the shared traditions of other community members of many faiths was a wonderful experience.
Greg Powell, the President of Cedar Area InterFaith Alliance served as the emcee for the evening. The prelude and postlude music was provided by Caroleen Lee. The invocation was given by Russel Nakken representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He gave thanks for the opportunity the community had to come together in prayer. He gave thanks for the service of military members in protecting our freedoms and the freedoms of others and asked for the Lord’s protection for them in their service.
In her keynote address, SUU President Mindy Benson, noted that it was wonderful to see a crowd gathered at the event. She recalled that recently the campus had had a series of swatting calls, warning of an active shooter on campus. Not long after she received a call from Pastor Pete saying, “We’re praying for you, and we’re praying for your campus.” She said that she felt so many prayers that day from people in the community and was grateful to be lifted up in those prayers.”
President Benson also recalled her gratitude to the many people who told her that they were praying for her during the time that the university was searching for a new president.
She closed with the quote, “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God, or the requesting of good things from God. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without heart. Whether we realize it or not, Prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.”
Cedar City’s Boy Scouts of America Troop 1848 the posted the colors and led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance
Once the flag was posted, the Master Singers, directed by Alan Lee, and accompanied by Caroleen Lee sang The Star-Spangled Banner, and The Lord’s Prayer
Paul Erickson, Chaplain of the Iron County Sheriff’s department who attends church at Red Hills Baptist Church, offered a prayer for faith and our nation. Before he began, he expressed how much he loved to pray, and his willingness to pray with anyone who had that desire. He expressed gratitude for the opportunity the evening afforded to get to know those in attendance and the pastors of the churches in this area, Christians, as well as all other faiths, because in his role as chaplain he serves the whole community.
Village Voices, directed by Melissa Leavitt and accompanied by Danny Hansen sang a lively and joyous rendition of Jubilation Deo followed by a heart-felt All Creatures of Our God and King.
Reverend Timm High of Community Presbyterian Church prayed for the families of our area. His prayer was a poetic offering to the Lord expressing the blessings that the community our families give to us. His prayer celebrated the diversity in families.
The women’s choir In Jubilo, directed by Jackie R. Jackson with pianist Teresa Redd sang a unique rendition of Amazing Grace. It was followed by My Shepherd will Supply My Need featuring harpist Ellie Leavitt, and violinist Suzanne Teland
Sheriff Ken Carpenter of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gave a prayer for the community. Before he began, he read this quote by Confucius, “To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order. To put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order. To put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life. We must first set our hearts right.” His prayer was a prayer of thanks for the place that we live in and the community that supports us. He prayed for those who suffer and that we might also serve as God’s ministering angels to them and be welcoming to those who come here.
The final number of the evening was a dance performed by the Messianic Dancers called Heal Our Land.
Melanie Whitney gave the closing prayer. She read a beautiful prayer from the Baha’i faith. It was a reminder of the universal yearnings of believers of all faiths to become better and to turn to God for his goodness and mercy.


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