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Event looks for power of prayer to help city

POSTED May 8, 2012 8:30 p.m.

In the Bible, the power of prayer can move mountains. A group of committed Turlockers hope prayer can help the city, state, and nation recover and prosper.

On Thursday, the Turlock Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast will bring together people from all faiths for a morning of prayer.

“We believe that if we as a people will pray, and from our hearts tell God what it is we want to see happen in our city and our country, he will do that,” said Jim Madsen, a member of the Turlock Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast organizing committee.

The event has its roots in the National Day of Prayer, a tradition since President Harry S. Truman signed it into law in 1952. By asking people to pray for their nation on the first Thursday of May, the event hopes to create a better America by recognizing the nation’s religious roots.

Turlock’s observance, now celebrating its 19th year, directs a bit of that prayer locally. Attendees pray for city and county leaders, local youth, and families.

“We have some different things that we pray for while we’re at the breakfast, and we all feel very strongly that prayer works, and we want to let God know what we’re thinking,” Madsen said.

The event isn’t all about prayer – it’s also about learning from notable speakers. In past years, Oliver North, Michael Reagan, and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer have been among the speakers.

This year’s event will be keynoted by Steve Saint, who was born in Quito, Ecuador to a missionary family. Saint’s father, Nate Saint, was slain by indigenous Ecuadorian people while trying to make peaceful contact.

But Saint’s aunt eventually made contact with the tribe, eventually living with the Waodani Indians. At age 10, Saint began to live in the jungle with the tribe, developing close relationships with even his father’s killers.

That’s a sterling example of both God’s forgiveness, and how God helps people overcome challenges in their lives, Madsen said.

“I can't even imagine that kind of love,” Madsen said. “I just can't even imagine it.”

Today, Saint leads a ministry called I-TEC, which looks to bring easily maintainable technology to rural missionary churches. He has developed a flying car, the Maverick LSA, which can easily transport individuals to faraway medical care.

Turlock Mayor John Lazar will also provide a brief opening address at the prayer breakfast, which he said he considers a boon to Turlock.

“I view it as an opportunity for our community to come together and pray for the City of Turlock, and ask God’s grace to do good things for the City of Turlock,” Lazar said.

Some of those past years’ prayers have borne fruit, Lazar said, with Turlock beginning to see signs of a recovering economy. Blue Diamond Growers’ massive new almond processing facility is under construction in Turlock, as are spaces for retailers Ulta Beauty and Old Navy, and restaurant Olive Garden.

But those developments only mark a starting point for Turlock’s recovery, with unemployment still hovering above 14 percent. That means there’s still a lot to pray for at this year’s prayer breakfast, Lazar said.

“I know we still have a long way to go,” Lazar said.

The Turlock Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast will be held from 6:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Thursday at Larsa Banquet Hall, 2107 E. Monte Vista Ave.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students, and are available at Geigers Fine Jewelers, The Salvation Army, Canal Veterinary Hospital, Postal Center USA, Hilmar Cheese Company, or online at www.turlockprayerbreakfast.com

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