Power of prayer crosses party lines

The Covington News - - Opinion -

It’s the third con­sec­u­tive day that we have been snowed in. I had thought that I would have time to read, re­flect and get or­ga­nized while my two chil­dren frol­icked in the snow. In­stead, my days have been filled with cook­ing meals, clean­ing up and do­ing laun­dry af­ter chang­ing wet, dirty, snowy clothes into wear­able gar­ments. We have gone through al­most 3 gal­lons of milk mak­ing hot choco­late.

The high­light of the first day was walk­ing a mile from our home in At­lanta to sled down a long hill. There, we met up with friends and ran into ac­quain­tances.

The high­light of the sec­ond day was shov­el­ing off our own drive­way and that of our neigh­bors. Af­ter be­ing cooped up, it was a wel­come change to be out in the fresh air en­gaged in phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

Stuck at home, we have seen a lot of our neigh­bors, and it has re­minded me of the im­por­tance of com­mu­nity, real com­mu­nity.

Com­mu­nity is im­por­tant be­cause it’s through our re­la­tion­ship with oth­ers that we de­fine who we are. Alone, we face no chal­lenge, no need to com­mu­ni­cate, re­late or con­nect. It’s the con­nect­ing with oth­ers, es­pe­cially those who have dif­fer­ent ideas and opin­ions, that is chal­leng­ing and lifechang­ing.

On. Jan. 7, I had the priv­i­lege of speak­ing at a leg­is­la­ture prayer break­fast in Newton County. It was started a few years ago by judges serv­ing in the area, and spon­sored this year by the Ki­wa­nis and Ro­tary ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tions. The au­di­ence of more than 150 peo­ple in­cluded more than 30 elected of­fi­cials. It was mov­ing to be in­volved in an event that fo­cused on the im­por­tance of prayer, work­ing to­gether, and serv­ing each other and our nation.

The event was not about par­ti­san­ship or pol­i­tics, it was about join­ing to­gether as a com­mu­nity to pray.

While talk­ing to one of the judges be­fore it be­gan, I re­al­ized that I had to al­ter my planned mes­sage. The right mes­sage was to re­lay my per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence, my un­der­stand­ing of the in­cred­i­ble power of prayer, as well as my orig­i­nal mes­sage of the im­por­tance of faith in the his­tory of our nation.

I talked about my mother’s di­ag­no­sis of can­cer five years ago, her jour­ney through chemothera- py, her stay in a nurs­ing home, her move to as­sisted liv­ing and her re­turn to in­de­pen­dent liv­ing. She of­ten ref­er­ences the power of prayer in de­scrib­ing her re­cov­ery.

The power of prayer can­not be over­stated.

The day af­ter the com­mu­nity prayer meet­ing, our nation was touched by a tragedy. The heart­break­ing event this past Satur­day de­fies un­der­stand­ing. In a free coun­try that cel­e­brates free speech, an un­think­able tragedy oc­curred.

Rep. Gabrielle Gif­fords’, D-Ariz., pub­lic meet­ing with con­stituents, a typ­i­cal “meet and greet,” ended with a shoot­ing, the death of six peo­ple and the wound­ing of 14 oth­ers. Gif­fords, shot in the head, was ini­tially re­ported dead by CNN and oth­ers, then alive. As I write this, she is in sta­ble con­di­tion and fac­ing an un­cer­tain prog­no­sis.

Gif­fords was do­ing her job, meet­ing with her con­stituents and lis­ten­ing to them.

Those killed were Gabriel Zim­mer­man, Dor­wan Stod­dard, Phyl­lis Sch­neck, Judge John Roll, Dorothy Mor­ris and Christina Green.

Two days be­fore the shoot­ing, Gif­fords had par­tic­i­pated in the read­ing of the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion on the floor of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. She read the First Amend- ment:

“Congress shall make no law re­spect­ing an es­tab­lish­ment of re­li­gion, or pro­hibit­ing the free ex­er­cise thereof; or abridg­ing the free­dom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the peo­ple peace­ably to as­sem­ble, and to pe­ti­tion the govern­ment for a re­dress of griev­ances.”

This amend­ment is im­por­tant to the foun­da­tion of our nation. Even those who do not agree with a par­tic­u­lar point of view un­der­stand and ap­pre­ci­ate the im­por­tance of peo­ple be­ing free, and that these free­doms are in­her­ent and can­not be taken away by Congress.

While some are at­tempt­ing to as­sign blame of the tragedy, as­sign­ing blame can­not cre­ate change. But prayer can. Prayer for the vic­tims, for their fam­i­lies, for the speedy re­cov­ery of the wounded and for all those touched by the tragedy.

As Pres­i­dent Abra­ham Lin­coln stated in his sec­ond inaugural ad­dress, “Let us judge not, that we be not judged.”

Prayer changes both those who are prayed for and those who pray. A nation in prayer is a nation with unimag­in­able power.

Re­mem­ber, and prac­tice this week, the in­cred­i­ble power of prayer.

Learn more about Jackie Gin­grich Cush­man at www.cre­ators.com.

Jackie Gin­grich Cush­man

Colum­nist

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