Local minister attends opening session
When Bob Yawn, pastor of the Luverne United Methodist Church, went to Montgomery two weeks ago, he found himself in front of a very unlikely congregation.
“I was asked by our representative Chris Sells. I didn’t want to make a big deal of it because others have gone before me and there will be others after me; this wasn’t anything that I did,” Yawn said.
“But someone said to me, this is a big deal for our community. I thought it was great when that person put it like that.”
Last week, Yawn had the opportunity to appear at the opening session for the Alabama House of Representatives on Feb. 7 and open the meeting in a word of prayer.
Yawn said the opportunity came to him one day after talking with Chris Sells, Alabama Representative for the 90th District.
“After I delivered the prayer, Chris came up to me and shook my hand and said that’s why I asked you, because I knew you would deliver something just like that,” Yawn said.
“When I go into something important like that, I just don’t wing it. I sit down prayerfully and write the prayer out. I ask the Lord to give me what I should be praying about on that particular day.”
Yawn’s prayer focused on not only the needs of the nation but specifically the needs of Alabama. He asked for blessings to be poured out over the legislative body and over every elected individual, and asked that each person would be strengthened and empowered with purpose in doing what is best for the state.
He prayed that no selfish passion would hinder them from accomplishing what is best for the state, and he prayed for boldness, integrity and humility for each person present.
“Lord, we acknowledge that each representative and each senator for that matter has been called by you through the voice and votes of those who elected them,” he said.
“So Lord, close their ears to the special interest groups that seek to outshout the voices of those they come to represent. Let them hear only your voice as you speak through the voices of their represented constituents.”
With the amount of controversy surrounding the separation of church and state, Yawn still says it does not surprise him that this meeting was opened in prayer because of Alabama’s location in “The Bible Belt”.
“I think it’s more commonplace because we are in the South, and it’s a difficult issue. Years ago you wouldn’t think anything of it, but I’m not all that surprised but I’m really glad for it,” Yawn said.
“I’m very tolerant of other people’s faith, and not everyone believes that same as I do. I think there needs to be a tolerance there. We have the right to freedom of religion, and we have the right also to freedom from religion. I, for one, am glad that our state understands where truth lies and where the strength they have comes from.”
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