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Thursday, May 05, 2016

National Day of Prayer: Murrieta Prayer Breakfast

By Douglas V. Gibbs

Prayer is the most powerful tool Christians and Jews have at their disposal.  America, each and every year, has a National Day of Prayer, which is an opportunity for us to pray for our nation, our communities, and our leaders (both political leaders, and church leaders) as our country moves into a difficult period through our history.  Murrieta, a very conservative community in Southern California, takes the National Day of Prayer very seriously.  This morning I had the blessed opportunity to attend the 25th Annual Murrieta Valley Community Prayer Breakfast at the Murrieta Hot Springs Christian Conference Center.  The invocation was given by our Police Chief, Sean Hadden.  His prayer was uplifting and powerful, and was a reminder of the blessed Christian influence our great city enjoys at the leadership level.  After the event, I spent some time talking to the Police Chief, and City Councilmember Jon Ingram, and again I was reminded of the wonderful Christian influence our city enjoys.

After the opening prayer, and Pledge of Allegiance (during which I saluted the flag as a U.S. Navy Veteran), Michael and Tiffany Kirton sang the National Anthem.  Funny thing, though.  They were joined by the whole room within the first couple words of the song.  Looking around, I also saw a few teary eyes as we all sang together The Star Spangled Banner.

Murrieta Mayor Randon Lane gave an inspirational welcome speech, throwing a couple funnies into his delivery, and taking us through his childhood (as a pastor's kid) in regards to the power of prayer.  Then (once again in an amazing show of the Christian influence we have in our fine city), there was a scripture reading by Patrick Kelley, the Superintendent of the Murrieta Valley Unified School District.

"Shout it aloud, do not hold back.  Raise your voice like a trumpet.  Declare to my people their rebellion..." - Isaiah 58:1a

"...if my people who are called by My name, humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicket ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land."  - 2 Chronicles 7:14

"You know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep.  For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.  The night is far gone; the day is at hand.  So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light."  - Romans 13:11-12

"But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light.  Therefore it says, 'Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'  Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."  - Ephesians 5:13-17

Then, we prayed.  We offered prayer for our nation, our State, and our communities.  We prayed for our political leaders, our church leaders, and all of our other folks in important positions - from the school district to the various local boards.  I offered my own words of prayer at my table a few times, and in one of my prayers I thanked the Lord for the opportunities we are being offered by these storms that many believe are destroying our nation.  What an opportunity to strengthen our sea-legs, and to spread our faith to those who are eager to hear good news as the political scene continues to head in such a frightening direction.

After our prayers concluded, we were provided an incredible message by the young pastor of Orchard Christian Fellowship in Temecula.  Pastor Jim Jackson led us through a journey that included his own path to Christ.  Not only is prayer a powerful tool because of the loving God we follow, but because Jesus is Real.  But knowing "of" Jesus is not enough.  We must "know" Jesus.  Through this, Pastor Jackson discussed what it means to have a relationship with Christ, for our lives to be changed because of that relationship.

Pastor Jackson then prayed for our group, our community, and our nation - followed by worship music by the same team who led us in the National Anthem.

Then we all closed singing "God Bless America" - and again, in some cases (including mine) tears ran their paths down our cheeks.

As I departed, and shook a few hands, I had a chance to thank Pastor Jackson for his incredible message.  Orchard Christian Fellowship is among the fastest growing churches in the country. . . and I could tell why.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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