Cobb County Prayer Breakfast
Acworth's National Day of Prayer
Residents prayed for the county, state and nation, listened to scriptural readings, sang songs of worship and heard keynote speaker Chuck Bengochea, president and CEO of HoneyBaked Ham, share his thoughts on the topic of prayer.
Summing up the event, state Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) said, “It sends a powerful message that a thousand business people from Cobb County can take half their morning to pray collectively for our nation and our community, and this is just the tip of the iceberg of what real faithfulness exists in our community, and I’m real proud to be a part of it.”
Morning prayer for Moon
Virgil Moon, chief financial officer at Cobb and Douglas Public Health, who was involved in kicking off the event back in 1985, said he and his wife, Harveda Moon, pray every morning.
“She’s in the bed, and I’m standing next to the bed ’cause I get up earlier than her and go to work earlier,” Moon said. “I usually go first, and then she goes and we talk to God.”
Their morning prayers usually last about 10 minutes, he said.
“She tends to pray longer than me because she can remember more things than I can. We’ve been doing that for 33 years now,” he said.
Moon said the difference it makes in his day is noticeable.
“The closer you are to the Lord, the better you feel,” he said. “It lifts your spirit, lifts your whole spirit. It makes me feel better all day long, absolutely.”
Evening prayer for Hankerson While Moon’s habit is to pray in the morning, county manager David Hankerson said his practice is to pray before going to sleep.
“On my knees, mostly at night by the bed,” Hankerson said.
Hankerson said he normally prays for two to four minutes, letting the spirit move him as he reflects on the day, at times asking for forgiveness and praying for others.
“It keeps me humble, and not be selfish in how I go through life and through the day,” he said.
Earl Reece, executive director of the Earl Smith Strand Theatre, said he prays on an hourly basis.
“As things go along, I immediately say ‘thank you,’ or I immediately ask for guidance,” Reece said. “It’s something that my parents instilled in me and in Randy, my brother, and I’ve never wavered from it. I just feel so strongly about the power of prayer, and so far it’s worked for me.”
Reece said he knows what he says is heard by God.
“It’s one of those things that having never lived without the power of prayer, I don’t know how I would get through everything, and that’s positive things, too,” he said. “I’m one of those people that if something happens I’ll send an email very quickly, so I guess what I’m doing is communicating the same way but with my spiritual leader,” he said.
Deane Bonner, president of the Cobb NAACP, said she also prays throughout the day.
“It’s sometimes two minutes,” Bonner said. “It’s sometimes three minutes. If I’m going through something very stressful, I’ll probably pray a lot longer. My life really is led by God. People don’t see that in me because it’s so personal, but without prayer I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am.”
Sheriff prays throughout the day
Sheriff Neil Warren said he prays throughout the day as well.
“I try to just go to the Lord and talk to him like I talk to my mother and father and beg and ask for their forgiveness for things I’ve done,” he said. “I always try to do it at night and in the morning to start the day off. But the biggest thing, so many things happen during the day, and sometimes I’m so blessed with so many things that happen to me and my family that I try to praise the Lord and thank him for what he’s given me and keep looking after me and my family and the men and women that work for us.”
Prayer while dog walking
Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds said his ritual is walking his two dogs every morning at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, stopping for about 30 minutes to do some pushups and praying.
“It’s very humbling,” Reynolds said. “It’s a quiet time, and it sets the tone for the day, and hopefully puts you in the frame of mind to go take the day on the way you should, so it’s a very good experience for me.”
County Commissioner Bob Ott said he usually prays when he’s by himself.
“I think it helps clear your mind, kind of gets you focused, because a lot of times you have a lot of different things going through your head, so that kind of helps you put things in order,” Ott said.
Former Gov. Roy Barnes has said how Joe Daniell of Vinings Bank, Georgia Supreme Court Justice Harris Hines, and the late Al Burruss, among others, wanted to have a gathering every year for prayer and thankfulness. Joe Frank Harris was governor at the time and Barnes, who served as his floor leader, asked him to be the first keynote speaker in 1985.
That event, which was at the Cobb Civic Center, was led by former commission chairman Earl Smith and developer John Williams.
A bill observing a national day of prayer was signed by President Harry Truman in 1952. In 1988, the Cobb Board of Commissioners passed a resolution endorsing the Cobb County Prayer Breakfast held annually in May. Since its inception, the breakfast has had an all-star cast of keynote speakers, among them Margaret Thatcher and Charlton Heston.
The breakfast is organized through a nonprofit group led by Moon and others.
“I think it brings the community together for the right reasons, for the medium of prayer and singing and thanking the Lord for all the blessings that he brings on our community,” Moon said. “We really are blessed here in Cobb County, and I think those blessings come from the Lord. I think we have a conservative county, we have a county that honors God, and I think God rewards that.”