Opinion

The power of prayer in Olympia | Nandell Palmer

Two things in life that never seem to be enough: Money and prayer.

Thus, for many of us, there’s always a need for more prayer.

And even our elected officials are never independent of our collective prayers.

That’s why I was so pleased when a contingent of local church members and sponsors rallied on Olympia to “Pray for Washington State.”

Led by Pastors Casey and Wendy Treat of Christian Faith Center (CFC), the duo shared the stage with Gov. Christine Gregoire in front of the State Capitol in a spirit of solidarity.

According to Terry Schurman, assistant to the Treats, about 2,000 people made their way to Olympia to witness this historic event on July 16.

In her four-minute address to the crowd, Gregoire implored listeners to act on their faiths and help the unfortunate among us; namely, those who have fallen on hard times with the downward spiral of the national economy.

Sounding more like a spirited evangelist than a governor, she encouraged her receptive audience to lead the way in a spirit of volunteerism.

“We need help more now than ever. I believe that God has called each and every one of us to follow him and lead. Lead by helping, yes, our families. Lead by helping, yes, our neighbors. But lead by helping that stranger down the street who needs us now,” she said.

Present among the cadre of elected officials were State Rep. Mark Miloscia of Federal Way, state Auditor Brian Sonntag, and Republican Rep. Kirk Pearson.

It is so easy for church and state to point fingers at each other. But how civil it can be when both sides come together in open dialogue.

Enough of that constant bickering, with nary a positive result in sight.

“If you are a Catholic, your goal is not to fight against Muslims, and vice versa. We all want peace, prosperity, and a good economy for ourselves and our state,” said Kennedy Akinlosotu, a deacon of Christian Faith Center. “And I believe that those are some of the changes Pastors Wendy and Casey are trying to bring about with their mission.”

Some individuals would argue that the church has no business dabbling into politics or creating meaningful dialogues with elected officials.

“Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private school... Keep the church and state forever separate,” noted Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th U.S. President.

Inside the other camp, still others would side with our venerable statesman, such as President Lyndon B. Johnson: “The separation of church and state is a source of strength, but the conscience of our nation does not call for separation between men of state and faith in the Supreme Being.”

As citzens of this Evergreen State, we are all gunning for everything that is good and pleasant to befall us. And if that comes at the expense of bridging the political and spiritual divide every now and then, I am all for it.

It is wonderful that a subtle kind of rapprochement is pervading the spiritual and political atmospheres in our state. This change can only spell good news for all and sundry.

It must be further noted that while church and state have had their respective agendas, there is a common ground for partnership and healing across the board for the state’s citizenry.

I strongly believe that the church can show its prowess in myriad ways instead of always being anti-this and anti-that.

My grandmother used to say that you can’t attract bees with vinegar. And isn’t that the truth!

Like the Apostle Paul who sought an audience with the Sophists and lawgivers at Mars Hill, in Greece, the Treats and their entourage are no doubt following in that vein.

Whenever a church prays for its city, state or country’s leaders, it doesn’t mean that a pastor is leaning one way or the other politically. Well, that should never be the case.

As church leaders, it is their biblical command to pray for their elected officials, whether they voted for them or not.

Being the largest church in Washington state, Christian Faith Center is doing the right thing. It is poised to lead thousands of its adherents and other Christians across the state with this powerful gesture of comity and foresight.

Here’s hoping that smaller congregations will not be deterred by their numbers to let their voices be heard, too.

In the words of noted lecturer and author, Marianne Williamson: “Prayer enables us to transform the world, because it transforms us.”

To find out more about this statewide campaign, go to prayforwashington.com.

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