By CAMILLE YOUNG
Why praying for Speaker Gunn
was more powerful than I thought
“Gather together.” There can be so many opportunities to gather, but how often are we gathering in His name? Matthew 18:20 reminds us that, “Where two or more are gathered in My Name, I am in their midst.” Mission Mississippi creates numerous opportunities to gather in His name and make a difference with people, one relationship at a time.
One of my most memorable times of gathering in worship was Mission Mississippi’s 2020 Legislative Prayer Breakfast. This event is always a wonderful time of fellowship and camaraderie, but this year’s event felt different. If we had only known then what we know now — COVID-19 was knocking at our door.
During that time of gathering and worship, the presence of the Lord provided a joyful yet peaceful environment. Elected officials and Mission Mississippi guests hugged necks, shook hands and slapped backs. Those kinds of expressions of love and respect soon would be forbidden with the onset of a pandemic.
I had the honor and privilege of praying for our Speaker of the House of Representatives, Philip Gunn. Speaker Gunn and I sat next to each other during the breakfast and exchanged pleasant, polite conversation. We have had a professional relationship since his election to the House many years ago, but that day we established a spiritual connection. We talked about our church homes. We discussed our families. We laughed and connected on things that had nothing to do with the legislative process.
Mission Mississippi facilitated that conversation. Mission Mississippi allowed us to gather together and experience the sweet spirit of God in a unique gathering of people. As we sat in prayer with his elected colleagues, we both could sense the presence of God moving in the room. It was amazing! The people there were not focused on politics; we focused on God.
As the time on the program neared for me to pray for Speaker Gunn, I asked him if he would stand with me as I prayed. At our appointed time, we walked to the podium and I placed my hand on his shoulder and began to pray. I asked God to bless him with wisdom, guidance, good health and patience. I asked for protection for him, his family and the legislators he led.
Neither of us, nor anyone there, could have expected the imminent need of that prayer. Throughout the next few weeks and months, Speaker Gunn would need that wisdom, guidance, good health and patience like never before as he and other elected officials navigated one of the deadliest health crises in our state, nation and world’s histories.
Without Mission Mississippi, I probably would not have had the opportunity to pray for Speaker Gunn behind a podium on a stage in front of his colleagues and other elected officials. Without that opportunity to gather together, we likely would not have had the opportunity to connect spiritually.
I am so thankful for that opportunity to gather together and connect with a person I respect. I was thankful for the opportunity to see more of his heart, and for him to see more of mine. Most importantly, I am thankful we were able to share the Spirit of God and ask for His continued grace in such a unique setting.
After the prayer breakfast and in the following days, I would continue to pray for Speaker Gunn. I don’t feel like my only obligation was to pray for him that day and never again.
We are reminded in 1 Timothy 2:1–4 (Modern English Version) that, “Therefore I exhort first of all that you make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
I pray that our gathering together through Mission Mississippi was as meaningful for those present as it was for me. #GatherTogether
Camille Scales Young is a principal and director at Cornerstone Government Affairs (a full-service, bipartisan consulting firm specializing in government and public relations) and has served as a public affairs professional for more than two decades. She is a proud wife, mother and community volunteer.