More than 200 Christian business leaders, elected officials, candidates and a superior court judge gathered Thursday morning for a single purpose - to recognize the importance of God in their personal and professional lives.
"In this election time, we need to acknowledge that God reigns," Lodi attorney LaDon Bader told the crowd enjoying a breakfast buffet at the Woodbridge Golf and Country club.
Bader and several other Christians spoke or performed at the 36th annual Greater Lodi Leadership Prayer Breakfast, organized by evangelical Christian business and civic leaders to affirm and strengthen their religion by sharing in communal prayer.
Unfortunately, society knows more about sports and Hollywood than about the Lord, Bader said. He also offered a prayer for the White House's ability to handle the nation's economic problems and to protect the nation's borders and ports.
Bader prayed for state officials to be able to deal with California's budget crisis and for the passage of Propositions 4 and 8 on the November ballot. Proposition 4 would prohibit abortion for minors until 48 hours after a physician notifies a parent or legal guardian. Proposition 8 would overturn California's legalization of gay marriage.
Keynote speaker Robert Litchfield, an Auburn attorney and devout Christian, said he has a lot of hope for the leaders of Lodi after having dinner Wednesday night with members of the prayer breakfast committee.
"I was in a room full of people with servants' hearts," Litchfield said.
Litchfield focused on the need for those at the prayer breakfast, whom God chose to be community leaders, to use courage in their leadership. That courage, however, is inspired by love.
"Love your neighbor as you love yourself," Litchfield said.
Lodi attorney Ron Beckman spoke on how the United States was founded on Christian principles and the need to actively communicate with elected officials.
"We need to put pressure on career politicians who are financially and morally bankrupting our country," Beckman said.
Bader read selections from the Old Testament Books of 1st Samuel, Psalms and Exodus, while San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge David Warner read from John and Peter in the New Testament.
Rocky Suess from Lodi Nut Co. sang The Lord's Prayer, and Grant Willis from Federated Insurance in Woodbridge played the violin.
Prayer by the Rev. Billy GrahamExcerpts read at Lodi prayer breakfast by Lew Van Buskirk
We know your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good,"
but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual
equilibrium and reversed our values.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Van Buskirk added, "With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called one nation under God."
Prayer breakfast committeePhil Biddle
Lew Van Buskirk