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Letter: Kudos for encouraging people to pray

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Good for you, Sutton Stewart: reading the Bible, encouraging Jesus’ followers to pray, and referring to the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Jesus encouraged people to pray. He also said that he is the light of the world, and his light is in all who believe and follow him. Jesus taught, "You are the light of the world. (So) let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Jesus discouraged people from "holier than thou" attitudes, which some Pharisees demonstrated. He told a parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector who prayed. The Pharisee praised himself before God; the tax collector said, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner," and he received praise from Jesus.

During the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil, Jesus’ followers are answering his call to be lights of the world, praying for those affected by abortion. We recognize that each person, including ourselves, is a sinner with opportunities to be justified before God. We pray that Jesus’ light in us will expose the fruitless deeds of darkness, as the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, encouraged us to do. This is done through private and public prayer. As Jesus taught, "If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

Those participating in 40 Days for Life, like nursing student Rachel Humeniuk, pray that those affected by abortion will see the light of truth: God’s forgiveness and grace — no matter what we’ve done — when we humbly confess and leave the darkness.

How good that we (still) have the promise that "the state" cannot impose on "the church" — though many in the church grieve that the state taxes us to support secular organizations, like Planned Parenthood, that advocate and provide abortions. At the same time, Mr. Stewart, it’s good that we (still) have the freedom to assemble in public and to speak, including through prayer — and letters in our local press.

Anne Huhtala

Bemidji

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