Des Moines, IOWA – The Iowa Capitol resounded today with the name of Jesus and the sounds of praise, worship, and prayer, as part of the National Day of Prayer.
An estimated 200 people filled the Capitol Rotunda to join in in prayer, led in song by The ELIM Arrival out of North Liberty, Iowa, led in a recital of the Word of God by students from Mt. Olive Lutheran School in Des Moines, and led in prayer by pastors, community leaders, and government officials of both political parties, in an event led by The FAMiLY Leader.
The theme of this year’s National Day of Prayer comes from Colossians 2:6-7, “Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”
“The National Day of Prayer dates back to 1775,” The FAMiLY Leader’s Greg Baker explained at the opening of the event. “And every year since 1952, Capitols across the country have had National Days of Prayer.”
Among those leading in prayer were Pastor Jamel Crawford of New Life Center in Des Moines, The FAMiLY Leader’s Bob and Darla Vander Plaats, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Iowa Deputy Sec. of Agriculture Julie Kenney, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand, Doug Seidenburg of the Seidenberg Group, Iowa Department of Health and Human Services Director Kelly Garcia, Des Moines Chief of Police Dana Wingert, West Des Moines Mayor Russ Trimble, Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and School President Greg Scheiwe, Charles Daugherty of REACH Iowa Together, and State Sen. Jake Chapman. State Rep. Brooke Boden joined with leading worship in song.
Baker invited the crowd to look at the diverse list of those leading prayer, including Republicans and Democrats, local and state officials, and leaders from churches of multiple denominations.
“If you want to see unity in America,” Baker said, “your hope is Jesus Christ.”
During a prayer for local, state, national, and world leaders, Attorney General Tom Miller echoed the heart for unity.
“We repent of the times we put politics over governance,” Miller prayed. “In government, give us the ability to respect differences … and grant us justice and compassion for all people.”
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds called the National Day of Prayer a welcome reminder of “a truth that should never be forgotten: The fate of our state, nation, and world lies in the hands of a loving Father who hears the prayers of His children.”
Reynolds also addressed this week’s big news: a leaked, early draft of a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade and return to the states the power to pass laws regarding abortion and the protection of unborn children.
“This week a glimmer of light broke through the darkness,” said Reynolds. “Nothing is decided yet, and it’s clear the [Supreme Court] justices are facing tremendous pressure to compromise the truth. So today, they need our prayers, now more than ever. And let’s not rest until our laws and our society recognize that all human beings are precious, no matter how small.”
The preciousness of life was also heard in the opening words from the students of Mt. Olive Lutheran.
“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” proclaimed the students, quoting Psalm 139. “Wonderful are all your works; this I know full well!”
The students also quoted a poem about the value of life, even life within the womb, written by Julie Dueker: “Just a speck, some would say. But God brought me to life that day. Just a speck, but He could see – All that I was and all that I’d be. Just a speck never was I, never will I be. Not to God who created me.”
Perhaps the highlight of the day, however, was the final speaker, Senate President Jake Chapman, who shared a public testimony of turning from “the religion of my youth” to saving faith in Jesus Christ, only a year ago.
From having “the American dream” to risking it all for Christ, Chapman proclaimed a changed life and encouraged any who could hear to surrender to faith in Jesus.
“Whatever challenges you face … let me declare that God is bigger,” Chapman said. “He is madly in love with you, and even when you turn from Him, He will recklessly pursue you. … And if you need evidence of His miracles, I am standing before you.”
Watch video of the prayer service at the Iowa Capitol below: