By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
BATON ROUGE (LBM) — For more than an hour, clergy, community leaders and public officials prayed for Gov. John Bel Edwards, the military, law enforcement, first responders and the state, April 10, at the Raising Canes Center in Baton Rouge, uniting more than 1,000 legislators, pastors, businessmen and others as the body of Christ just days after the start of the 2019 state legislative session.
Ray Swift, administrative pastor at the First Baptist Church in Lafayette, delivered an invocation and Charles Harper, steering committee chairman, introduced the head table of program personalities and other special guests.
State Rep. Katrina Jackson, Assistant District Attorney Ken Fabre, state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, Ascension Parish Sheriff Deputy and Chaplain Ken Spivey, state Rep. Thomas Carmody, Jr., and steering committee member Phillip Juban were among others offering prayers and reading scripture during the annual the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast.
Keynote speaker Ken Boa, president of Reflections Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia, reminded the crowd to live out God’s purpose for them.
“His desire for you and me is that we will live a life that will so reflect a life of Christ in us that you live a life that demands an explanation,” he said. “And that is my desire for all of you, that you will live well, that you love well, learn well and live well. And that God will then be pleased. And your desire is to be pleasing to Him.”
He also told them how they should run the race.
“Those who finish well learned how to love well, learn well and live well,” he said. “They have learned to understand intimacy with Jesus is the key to finishing well.”
In his closing remarks, Edwards, who was introduced by his wife Donna, thanked the crowd for their commitment to pray for him and legislators as they make critical decisions in the coming months.
“We’re called upon to [pray] every day,” he said. “Let us not be caught asleep in our faith. I believe we are called, those of us in public service, to be servants. Through our service we actually have the ability to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”
Edwards, citing Proverbs 31:8-9, said elected officials are called to speak up for those who are unable to do so themselves. Likewise, he said all Christ followers are charged with a similar task.
“The Bible is replete with references that God will order our steps,” he said. “But we have to move our feet. We have a role to play in that. So, as we return to our daily routines, I ask that you continue to pray for our country and for our state and leaders at all levels that we will reason together and that we will do what is in the common interest.”
Jay Johnston, associate pastor of the First Baptist Church in Covington and a member of the steering committee for the event, said he was pleased that so many turned out early in the morning to pray.
“The Governor’s Prayer Breakfast offers the people of the state of Louisiana to come together and publicly pray for our governor and elected officials,” Johnston said. “I encourage all Louisiana Baptist pastors to commit to making this a priority in the future.”
Tim Hisaw, pastor of Tioga First Baptist Church, left with a sense of encouragement and hope for the state.
“This was my first time to attend the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast and I was amazed by the number of attendees,” he said. “There was genuine, heartfelt prayer offered up to God for our nation, our state, our elected officials and first responders. The keynote speaker, Ken Boa, brought a winsome and challenging message about living in relationship with Christ. I was honored to be there and my outlook and hope for our state was encouraged for having been in attendance.”
Brad Delaughter, pastor at Satsuma Baptist in Livingston, said he was blessed to see so many come together to pray for the state and its elected officials.
“Dr. Boa was a blessing as he reminded us of what it means to live with an eternal perspective and to build relationships with God and others for the Kingdom,” he said. “I was personally blessed by hearing of our governor’s faith and concern for our state.”
The 55th annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast takes place annually during the first few days of the Louisiana Legislative session. According to the Prayer Breakfast website, the event’s purpose is to “seek God’s guidance for all leaders and citizens of our State, and to strengthen ourselves for the journey as we try to live as a responsible community of faith. It is an interdenominational event centered on the person of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world and is intended to promote His glory.”
For information on starting a prayer ministry or about ways to participate in the National Day of Prayer May 2, contact Johnston at firstname.lastname@example.org.