Missouri Baptist Convention prayer service
attracts many state government leaders
Governor connects with ‘very kind’
MBC prayer event
By Allen Palmeri
January 10, 2006
JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Matt Blunt indicated to The Pathway after the second annual Legislative Prayer Breakfast Jan. 4 that he feels a sense of ownership in the event. The governor was seated on the first pew of Concord Baptist Church and was part of a gathering of about 200 people that included state lawmakers, judges, the state attorney general and various other Missouri leaders.
“As a Baptist, somebody who feels a kinship with the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), I’m grateful for the invitation,” said Blunt, who as governor-elect last year helped boost the dedication service through his attendance. “We’re always quick to respond whenever we can and want to be here every year, if we can do it.
“It is very kind of the Missouri Baptist Convention to provide this opportunity for all of us to come here and reflect on the challenges ahead. Prayer is one of God’s greatest gifts, and a great gift that an individual can offer to another person is to pray for them. I’m very grateful for all the prayers of Missourians but particularly these pastors who have taken time out of their busy schedules to pray for all of us in government here today.”
Joining Blunt at this year’s MBC Prayer Breakfast was Attorney General Jay Nixon, who called the event “very inspiring.” The dedication service is designed to emphasize pastors praying for the executive branch of government, the judicial branch of government, senators and representatives.
“To start out the year together and blessed about the challenges that face all of us, both personally and professionally, it’s very inspiring and will help me, hopefully, to continue to focus my attention for the best of our state,” Nixon said.
The Pathway, the Christian Life Commission (CLC) of the MBC and Concord Baptist Church continue to serve as sponsors of the dedication service, with an array of MBC officers and statesmen of the MBC conservative resurgence filling various roles within a tightly focused program.
Gerald Davidson, co-pastor of First Baptist Church, Arnold, and immediate past first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, delivered this year’s charge to the General Assembly. Davidson, 70, will complete 30 years in the Gospel Ministry and retire later this year.
Among the many dignitaries in attendance were: Chief Justice Michael A. Wolff and Judges Mary Rhodes Russell and William Ray Price, Jr. of the Missouri Supreme Court; Sen. Pro Tem Michael Gibbons, R-Kirkwood; House Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill; and Ken McClure, the governor’s chief of staff, who played an instrumental prelude. MBC leaders who participated included: Executive Director David Clippard; First Vice President Michael Green, pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Republic; Second Vice President Michael Knight, pastor, First Baptist Church, Viburnum; Monte Shinkle, host pastor and 2003 MBC president; Kenny Qualls, co-pastor, First Baptist Church, Arnold; and Rodney Albert, chairman, CLC, and pastor, Hallsville Baptist Church.
“E.M. Bounds said that the prayers of God’s saints are the capital stock in heaven by which Christ carries on His great work upon the earth,” said Pathway Editor Don Hinkle. “Life-changing events have occurred as a result of these prayers. God is pleased when the prayers of his people are numerous and efficient. What better thing could we do as followers of King Jesus than to express our love and pray for our state and those whom God has placed in seats of public responsibility? God has blessed this event and all of us at the MBC believe God would have us make this an annual event.”
Albert, who prayed for members of the House of Representatives, their families and their staff members, said the CLC remains a very willing co-sponsor of the event.
“We’re reminding our public officials of the importance of prayer, that in spite of all of our differences, in spite of the weightiness of the issues, fundamentally what they need is the help of God,” he said.
Green may have best captured the spirit of the prayer service in a few off-the-cuff remarks right before he prayed for senators, their families and staff members. He noted that he and Nixon both graduated from DeSoto High School in 1974 and had not seen each other since.
“You know I’m not surprised that you are where you are today, but you’re probably surprised that I am where I am today,” said Green in what was the biggest laugh line of the entire service. It revealed the heart of the prayer service by showing how much Green loves Nixon. The pastor from Republic proceeded to fulfill his responsibility by praying for all state senators, their families and staffs.
“What we’re doing today may seem like pesky little preachers nipping at you,” Green told all of the public officials, “but we love you.”
Davidson preached that God is pro-life, pro-family and pro-God. If his third point seemed curious, he meant it to be a direct assault on secularism.
“On Christmas Day, Dec. 25, the biggest holiday of the entire year, to take Christ out of Christmas and call it a holiday season because we might offend a few infidels, atheists, agnostics, Jews and Muslims—dear friends, let’s face the truth!” Davidson thundered. “God is pro-God and God is pro-Jesus. He’s His Son.”
The Missouri Baptist statesman held nothing back on the hot-button topics of abortion, which he declared to be “absolutely wrong,” and homosexuality which “is sin.” There is no excuse in Davidson’s mind for the governor, senators and representatives within Missouri’s pro-life governing majority not to utterly devastate the abortion industry in 2006 through sound public policy.
“I believe the day is going to come when America is going to look back upon the age that we’re living in right now and say, ‘How could we ever have been so blind to legalize the slaughter of millions and millions and millions of defenseless babies?” he said. “‘How could we ever have done that?’”
MBC Executive Board Member Doug Austin called it vintage Gerald Davidson.
“I thought Gerald really, really gave us God’s Word and hit an absolute home run with his message.” Austin said.
Lawmakers left the sanctuary sensing that someone really does care about them.
“This is where it all starts,” said Sen. John Loudon, R-Chesterfield. “We need people praying for us. If people want righteous legislation, they’ve got to pray for righteous legislating.”
Knight, who served as the master of ceremonies, gave glory to God alone through Christ alone by faith alone through the Scriptures alone for all that took place on his watch. He even got in a little prayer of his own.
“It is our prayer that He will sustain you, guide you and bless your work in the months ahead,” Knight told the government leaders in attendance.