This morning, for the second consecutive year, an Abilene Christian University graduate participated in the National Prayer Breakfast when Dr. Kent Brantly (’03), led a “Prayer for World Leaders” at the 63rd annual event at the Washington (D.C.) Hilton.
Also in attendance today were ACU chancellor Dr. Royce Money (’64); trustee Steve Mack (’82), his wife, LaDonna, and his son, Will Mack (’14).
Brantly’s prayer was followed by a keynote address from NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip and the closing prayer was led by Andrew Young, former mayor of Atlanta, Ga. and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Musical performances were by 2014 Miss Mississippi Jasmine Murray and 12-year-old rhythm and blues singer Quintavious Johnson.
A medical missions advisor for Samaritan’s Purse, Brantly contracted Ebola virus disease while serving in Liberia in 2014 and survived a near-fatal experience that made headlines around the world. He was recently named one of Time magazine’s Persons of the Year.
Last year, U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn (’74) of California served as co-chair of the event. Previous ACU graduates to participate include actor Curt Cloninger (’76) in 2012 and minister/best-selling author Max Lucado (’77) in 1999.
Brantly adapted his words today from “The Lord’s Prayer in Time of War” by Wendy Lyons:
Our Father, who art in heaven, The LORD, The LORD, The God of compassion and mercy, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness, lover of all peoples of the earth, There is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion. Hallowed be thy Name.
Remind us that “all the nations are as nothing before you,” their governments but a shadow of passing age; Authorities are meant to be your servants, to do good to the people under their care and to ensure justice for those who have been wronged. But we all, including our leaders, will stand before your judgment seat, O God. And as surely as you live, O LORD, every knee will bow and every tongue confess and give praise to You. Thy kingdom come on earth.
Grant to thy children throughout the world, and especially to the leaders of the nations, the gifts of prayerful thought and of thoughtful prayer; that following the example of our Lord, we may discern what is right, and do it. Bless the leaders of the nations that they may not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers. Bless the leaders of the nations that they might delight in the law of the LORD, that they might meditate on it day and night, that Thy will might be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Help us to protect and to provide for all who are hungry and homeless, especially those who are deprived of food and shelter, family and friends. For true religion that is acceptable to you, O LORD, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress and to flee corruption. Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us for neglecting to “seek peace and pursue it,” and finding ourselves in each new crisis, more ready to make war than to make peace, choosing violence and war over peace and reconciliation. “We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves”; Forgive us for neglecting the needs of our people, for choosing corruption and greed over integrity and generosity. Forgive us for oppressing the minority while the majority is filled with pride and self-reliance. We have all sinned and fallen short of your glory, O LORD.
Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Let us not seek revenge, but reconciliation; Let us not delight in victory, but in justice; Let us not give ourselves up to pride, but to prayer; Lead us not into temptation.
Be present, LORD, to all your children: Be present to those who are killing and to those who are being killed; Be present to the oppressed and to the oppressor; Be present to the leaders of the nations. Deliver us from evil.
Subdue our selfish desires to possess and to dominate; forbid us arrogance in victory and self-pity in defeat; Bless the leaders of the nations, Father, that they might act justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly with you, O God.
For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
The National Prayer Breakfast was founded by President Abraham Lincoln but has become an annual event since 1953, at the urging of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.