God Must Have Been Smiling..Prayers Heard in Shreveport
The National Day of Prayer was observed everywhere Thursday, and one of the churches holding services was Shreveport's First United Methodist Church.
I had the privilege of worshipping with folks who attended, as well as political and community leaders who were there. In fact, a judge, a local television reporter and a United States congressman attended. Fourth District Rep. John Fleming recited the 2012 National Prayer from the pulpit after remarks.
Congressman Fleming is a family physician from Minden. He said it didn't matter where you prayed, saying his home church in Minden was also observing National Day of Prayer.
In my hometown of Carthage, there's always a gathering of members of all the churches on the courthouse steps.
Prior to FUMC's service, I interviewed Congressman Fleming about religion and prayer and our freedom to exercise those rights. He said our founding fathers in writing the US Constitution, wrote that we have freedom "OF" religion, not freedom "FROM" religion.
And, that's been misinterpreted by liberal courts and justices for decades. History tells us the so-called "Wall of Separation" that exists between government and religion was never there in the Constitution, but was written in a letter by President Thomas Jefferson.
The whole idea Jefferson was relating was that religious freedom should be protected from government forcing a certain religion, and that in history at the time, the Church of England, was mandating that all citizens had to belong to that church.
Fleming says it was intended to protect the church from government intrusion, and not meant that you literally cannot worship God in your daily life and in the places you work or even in government offices. In fact, he said, that's precisely the freedom our laws were meant to protect.
It was exciting and encouraging for me to hear prayers given by representatives from every segment of society, and they were all leaders right here in our community.
Caddo District Judge Jeanette Garrett said a prayer for government and judicial officials, businessman George Baldwin prayed for the economy, KTBS television reporter Rick Rowen gave an emotional take on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, following that with a prayer for the community.
FUMC Assoc. Paster, the Rev. Jonathan Beck prayed for the church, everywhere, Sharon McCullar prayed for our military servicemen and women, and their families, and Laurie Boswell prayed for everyone's family.
Soloist Margaret Williams Jones sang, "The Prayer," and her rendition was so beautiful you felt like you were in Heaven among angels.
Organ interludes were played by E. Ray Peebles. I'm thankful to be part of community whose leaders are not afraid to worship God in public. May we never lose that ability.
To read the prayer read by Rep. Fleming click on the above link: