Today was the National Day of Prayer. Usually I observe this by attending a breakfast held every year in Cannon Falls. This year I was asked to come to the State Capitol and take pictures for the National Day of Prayer event held in front of the Capitol building. Now technically, I could have done both, but seriously, if I get up at 5:45 a.m. to attend a 7:00 a.m. breakfast in Cannon Falls, there is no way I'm going to make it through an event at the capitol that doesn't start until 11:30. I'd need a nap by then. I'm just not good with mornings, think what you want.
Anyway, I don't know how to convey my feelings regarding my afternoon at the capitol. I was totally humbled by the day. I started taking pictures the moment I arrived and didn't stop until I was on my way back to my car. I did have a press badge, as I was taking these pictures for Midwest Chaplains and I'd asked for a badge so that people wouldn't think me odd as I moved all around to get shots from different angles. While some may have been impressed by my badge, the camera men from Channels 4, 5, and 11 didn't even seem to notice it as they set up their ginormous cameras right in front of me. This is not what humbled me, however.
As the event progressed different people were called up to pray for specific areas such as the legislators, senators, judges, children, marriages, churches, military, pastors, media, etc. Governor Pawlenty spoke and was then prayed for. (By the way, when he finished speaking the big gun camera guys left, making my job much easier.) Some of the legislators and senators came out and we prayed for them. I'm not one who is generally overly impressed by a person's title or status but I was impressed by their recognition of their need for prayer. There was just something about standing in front of the capitol for all of this that was quite moving. I can't even begin to put it into words.
At one point, my former pastor, Pat Hall, was at the microphone praying for the survivors of the 35W Bridge Collapse. This was the moment that brought tears to my eyes. I remembered when I first met Pat, probably 16 years ago. I heard him pray and thought to myself, "I want a pastor that prays like that." I know that may sound dumb, but you can tell a lot about a person by the way they connect to God in prayer. He did become my pastor probably one year after I first met him. I worked with him on some big events and he was, and continues to be, one of my biggest cheerleaders. Through a series of events, he is no longer my pastor but still a man I have a huge amount of respect for. I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today if it weren't for him.
The most humbling moment for me today was when people were directed to pray for the media/press. This man, whom I had stepped in front no less than 15 or 20 times in an attempt to get the right angle on a shot, motioned me to come over to him. He'd been quite gracious at my being in his way all day but I couldn't really figure out why he'd want to talk to me. When I got over to him, he and two other guys said they wanted to pray for me (since they were to be praying for the press.) I tried to explain that I really wasn't all that media related and that I was just taking pictures for Midwest Chaplains. They didn't care. They said I was doing God's work and they wanted to pray for me. I was totally blessed. And, I was grateful that one of the men prayed that my equipment would work properly, especially in light of the fact that the last time I went to the capitol I had trouble transferring my photos to my computer.
I ended the day at another prayer event held near the Stone Arch Bridge for the survivors of the 35W Bridge Collapse. My friend, Pat Hall, was leading it and I wanted to be there to support him, as he's done so often for me. Present at the event were some who survived the collapse, the spouse of one who didn't, and a woman who felt the bridge collapsing, gunned it, and was the last one off. Needless to say, there were plenty of tears. Hopefully, they were healing. Please continue to keep them all in your prayers.
2 Chronicles 7:14 - if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.