Governor’s Prayer Breakfast has Baptist feel
By Allen Palmeri
January 10, 2006
JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Matt Blunt hosted his first Governor’s Prayer Breakfast Jan. 5 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel, celebrating the majesty, power, beauty and mystery of prayer with 755 attendees, the largest number in the 25-year history of the event.
Blunt, a Southern Baptist who worships at Second Baptist Church, Springfield, said he believes in the power of prayer. The 35-year-old governor spoke quite plainly and directly of its great significance.
“I believe, as I think everybody in this room believes, that there is indeed a power in prayer that transcends all other human activity,” Blunt said. “One of the greatest gifts that any person can offer to another is the gift of prayer—to pray for their needs, to pray that they’ll have wisdom and insight and perseverance. I know I speak for all elected officials when I express to all of you my gratitude that you would take time from your very busy schedules to be here this morning to pray for us and to pray for our state.”
Mark Earley, president of Prison Fellowship, delivered the keynote address. Earley is a former attorney general in Virginia who unsuccessfully ran for governor before becoming president of the ministry founded by prominent Southern Baptist Chuck Colson.
Earley spoke about how he came to terms with the idea that maybe those who have the least to offer society have the most to offer.
“I believe more than ever now that Jesus really meant what he said in Matthew 25 when he said, ‘If you visit those in prison, you visit me,’” Earley said. “‘If you clothe the naked, you’re clothing me. If you give someone who is thirsty a drink of water, you’re giving it to me. If you visit those who are sick, you’re visiting me.’”
Helping to provide music for the event were Bill Shiflett, former Missouri Baptist Convention worship specialist who is now ministering through music at Lenexa Baptist Church, Lenexa, Kan., and Tara Bronson, wife of Mike Bronson, associate pastor, Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City.
Among those praying or reading from the Bible were various state legislative leaders, judges, businessmen, ministers and college presidents. Mike Kelly, the play-by-play voice of the University of Missouri Tigers, was the master of ceremonies. Typical of the morning’s activity was a prayer in Jesus’ name uttered by Sen. President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons, R-Kirkwood.
“Lord, we ask you to bless our great state, Missouri,” Gibbons said. “For citizens and all visitors, grant them Your peace and give them some share of your generosity. Protect them and their families.”
The theme for the Grand Ballroom event was “Faith of Our Fathers,” based on the Frederick W. Faber hymn of 1849, with music by Henri F. Hemy and James G. Walton and tune by St. Catherine. The Scripture verse to accompany the theme is Jude 3, where true believers are urged to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.