Interfaith Day of Prayer
My name is David Craighead. I am the Legislative Monitor for the Oklahoma Conference of Churches and I’m speaking on behalf of the Conference of Churches.
We note that the 2004 theme for the National Day of Prayer is “Let Freedom Ring, the freedom to gather, the freedom to worship, and the freedom to pray.” It is those last words that we particularly honor today as we lift our hearts and minds in supplication to God.
Governor Henry, in issuing his National Day of Prayer Proclamation, ended it by inviting his fellow Oklahomans “to pray, each after his or her own faith.” Sharing faith traditions, worship, and prayer has been at the core of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches’ task since the Conference’s inception, thirty-two years ago.
The Oklahoma Conference of Churches brings together eighteen denominations in Oklahoma to share ministry, inspired by the prayer of Jesus in John 17: “That they [that is, His followers] may all be one . . . “
In Matthew 22 we read that he said: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” He gives both government and the realm of Godly faith their due authority. It is an integral part of the genius of our democratic system that both can carry out their functions with mutual respect and dignity.
The state provides the legal framework for communal life, and education for sound citizenship.
The church is concerned for spiritual well-being, moral quality, and an inclusive understanding of personal and social responsibility. As the world ecumenical movement stated at its Oxford conference in 1937, the state is the highest authority in its own sphere. “But,” as that statement went on to declare, “as all authority is from God, the state stands under [God’s] judgment. God is the source of justice, of which the state is not lord but servant.”
And so, as we pray today, let us give thanks for our religious freedom, and our governmental processes that allow that freedom.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”
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