Today is the National Day of Prayer. In Park City, Utah, The Christian Center of Park City joined together this morning and took the day seriously. I, along with a few other STAR Forum members, attended the event. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and was very impressed.
The morning started out with a wonderful breakfast of doughnuts, muffins, sausage, bacon, quiche, juice, coffee, and more. I saw many friendly faces from around the community, and met a few new ones.
The event began with a prayer. We sang a few hymns of praise, and different people from the community spoke. With each community member concluding, we were asked to specifically prayer for just a couple of minutes at our tables for those specific needs. Lisa Kirtchenheiter, a Park City school board member, spoke of the difficulties that children are facing. She asked that we also remember in our prayers the homeschooled children (as she gave me a quick nod), charter-school children, and private-school children. Then the prayers began. I was overwhelmed with the spirit of these prayers, thinking of the youth that will grow into our local leaders, our entrepreneurs, our healers, and maybe even leaders of our nation.
Then it came time for the law enforcement to say a few words. Chief of Police in Park City, Wade Carpenter, and Summit County Sherriff, Dave Edmonds, both had a chance to speak. They spoke of their commitment to community, and Chief Carpenter spoke of the way Sherriff Edmonds always seeks for guidance in prayer every day before his duty begins. They spoke of the hardships of serving, how these officers see things that can disturb you for life. Among other things, they deal with child pornography, abuse victims, drugs, and violence. They spoke of the divorce rate among police officers, and it is around 75%. They asked us to prayer for safety of the officers in both body and mind.
I wish I had taken my camera to the event, because Sheriff Edmonds was in his highest uniform, covered with stars on his collar, and stripes on his arms. Today was an especially emotional day for Sheriff Edmonds. Today four names were to be added to the memorial of fallen officers in Utah. And every year on this day, Sheriff Edmonds thinks of Officer Ron Wood, who served in West Jordan and was killed in the line of duty, after being shot. He was Dave’s friend, and trained with him. I remember this man, because I lived in West Jordan at the time of his death. What a small world it is.
We heard from other pastors and teachers here in the area. The one that struck me, (and I apologize for not remembering his name now,) was the man who quoted from scripture and reminded us to love our enemy, and “pray for those that despitefully use you.” He reminded us to pray for such organizations as Hamas, and al-Qaeda, and request that their hearts be softened toward us, and not wish to do violence. Wise words.
The Christian Center left a sheet on each table that listed National Leaders, from Barrack Obama on down to Eric Holder, State Senators, our State Governor, Park City Local Leaders, the principles of the schools, and our Supreme Court Justices. Sadly, some local leaders that had been invited were unable to attend. The center distributed a book mark put out by Pray! magazine, that listed 30 ways to pray for people in Authority.
The thought that came to my mind, that is often attributed to Alexis De Toqueville, but is unverifiable, where he is claimed to have said,
“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
The spirit of the morning was beautiful. There are many good Christians that understand that while many things are in their circle of concern, they seem out of reach of our circle of influence. However, there is something everyone can do; Pray.
Today, on the 2011 National Day of Prayer, pray for our nation, its public servants, and it’s people. We must remember that we are One Nation, but only under God.