Joe Ortwerth's
 Jeff City Update
Missouri Family E-News March 30, 2009
House Committee Moves
Prayer Amendment
A Missouri House committee has advanced legislation which would guarantee Missouri citizens and schoolchildren the right to voluntary prayer and religious expression.  The House Committe on General Laws approved the proposed constitutional amendment, House Joint Resolution 11, sponsored by Representative Mike McGhee.  The proposal, which would have to be approved by Missouri voters, would assure that the religious liberties of Missourians cannot be infringed upon by state or local governments.  Representatives David Day, Michael Frame, Brian Nieves, Mark Parkinson, Mike Parson, Dwight Scharnhorst, Kevin Wilson, Larry Wilson, and committee chairman Tim Jones voted in favor of the bill.  Representatives Steve Brown, Mike Colona,Curt Dougherty, and Beth Low voted against the measure.  A similar proposal, Senate Joint Resolution 12 sponsored by Senator Delbert Scott, is awaiting debate by the full Senate. 
Senators Stall Ultrasound Bill
Legislation which would require that abortion-minded women have an opportunity to see an ultrasound of their child has run into stiff resistance in the Missouri Senate.  Senator Rob Mayer is the sponsor of Senate Bill 264, which would dramatically strengthen Missouri's informed consent law on abortion, and would also make it a crime to coerce a woman to have an abortion against her will.  The comprehensive pro-life bill was debated in the Senate for nearly five hours this past week.  As expected, Senator Joan Bray championed the interests of the abortion industry.  What was not expected were the actions of Senate Minority Leader Victor Callahan.  Senator Callahan, who has a history of pro-life support, joined with Senator Jolie Justus in what press observers described as a filibuster of the bill.  Senator Callahan criticized pro-life organizations and argued that there were other issues more important to the state than the pro-life issue.  He accused pro-life senators of using abortion as a "wedge issue," and claimed that pro-abortion senators were acting in good faith, which has certainly not been the case.  The ultrasound bill will likely be taken up by the Senate again in the final weeks of the session, and will require considerable commitment by Senate leadership to obtain its passage.  Please continue to pray for each of the 34 senators that they will recognize the life-saving benefits of this legislation, and will have the courage to overcome the many obstacles to its passage.  Please also pray for Senator Callahan that he will reaffirm by his actions his support for the welfare of unborn children. 
Help Us Keep You Informed and Engaged
The goal of our Jeff City Updates is to provide you valuable information about issues and people in state government from a Christian values perspective.  This information equips you to be an active and engaged Christian citizen in communicating your concerns to your elected representatives.  It also helps you focus your prayers on specific people who need intercession, and specific subjects that call for measures of God's Grace.
We hope you continue to find the Jeff City Update to be informative and instructive.  Should you have any questions or comments, please contact us by e-mail at info@missourifamily.org, by phone at (636) 536-0014, or by mail at the address below. 
Please be in prayer for our ministry as we work to promote Biblical principles and Christian convictions in the hallways of the State Capitol.  Please also be in prayer for our Christian witness as we seek to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ with legislators, legislative staff, lobbyists, and all those who frequent our State Capitol.
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Area Coordinators Sought for National Day of Prayer
Missouri leaders of the National Day of Prayer are seeking local coordinators to organize prayer gatherings in their community.  This year's National Day of Prayer observance will be held on Thursday, May 7th.  This is the
58th year of the nationwide prayer event, and this year's theme is "Prayer...America's Hope."  The theme is taken from the Scripture in Psalm 33:22:  "May your unfailing love rest upon us, even as we put our hope in you."
The Honorary Chair of the 2009 National Day of Prayer is popular Bible teacher and author Beth Moore.  She joins longtime chairwoman Shirley Dobson, the wife of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.  Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy and NASCAR legend Darrel Waltrip have also stepped forward to promote this year's national prayer gathering.
"With our economy struggling, many people losing their jobs, the family being threatened, thousands of 'unwanted' babies killed each day, and American soldiers in harm's way, there is a great need for us to gather and pray," says Tom Otley, State Director for the National Day of Prayer in Missouri.
The official acknowledgement of a national day of prayer has a long history.  In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for a day of "humiliation, fasting, and prayer."  In 1952 the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution signed by President Truman declaring an annual national day of prayer.  In 1988 President Reagan signed a law establishing the first Thursday of May as the official National Day of Prayer.
Believe it or not, an atheist group has filed a lawsuit to try to invalidate the federal laws creating the National Day of Prayer.  The Freedom from Religion Foundation claims that such laws violate the First Amendment to the Constitution.  The Alliance Defense Fund has organized a campaign called "Save the National Day of Prayer."  They are calling on Americans to send a message to President Obama urging him to sign a presidential proclamation in observance of the day.  Every President since 1952 has issued such a proclamation on an annual basis.  You can join the ADF campaign by going to the website at www.savethendop.org
Last year, local prayer gatherings were held from sunrise in Maine to sunset in Hawaii, uniting Americans from all socio-economic, political, and ethnic backgrounds in prayer for the nation.  It is estimated that more than two million people attended more than 40,000 observances organized by a similar number of volunteers.
Otley says that prayer events are already planned at the State Capitol, at the Arch in St. Louis, and in other Missouri cities large and small.  Some communities are planning prayer breakfasts and many churches are hosting prayer gatherings. 
Otley is looking for volunteers to organize additional events.  "We are looking for people who will invite others to gather with them at work, or who will invite family members, friends, and neighbors to gather in their home, or who will organize a public gathering in their church or community."  If you feel called by God to do so, you can contact Tom Otley at his e-mail address:  moprayer@gmail.com, and he will assist you with your planning and the resources you may need. 
While much attention is given to the annual "May Day" prayer event, the National Day of Prayer is actually a year-round effort.  There is a Missouri Prayer Team that joins in focused prayer throughout the year.  Prayer team members receive a monthly prayer bulletin and are invited to prayer gatherings around the state.  Prayer team members focus each day of the week on one of the seven centers of power:  government, military, media, business, education, church, and family.
Missouri leaders of the National Day of Prayer also have organized an "Adopt a Leader" program.  You can adopt a statewide official, state legislator, judge, municipal official, police officer, or fireman.  You then make a commitment to intercede with God on their behalf on a regular basis.  For more information on the state prayer team or the adopt a leader program, contact Tom Otley at moprayer@gmail.com.
In addition to Otley, Missouri is blessed to have the leadership of Sue Stolz in the National Day of Prayer effort.  Stoltz is the Midwest Regional Director for the national group.  She oversees efforts in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.  Stoltz is the Mid Missouri Area Manager for the Bott Radio Network.
We strongly encourage you to play an active role in the National Day of Prayer.  Each of the 12 years I served as County Executive of St. Charles County, I had the great privilege to participate in a prayer gathering at our county courthouse.  If there is not such a gathering at your own county courthouse each year, I would challenge you to organize one.  What a glorious thing it would be for unified prayer to be occurring at each of the 114 county courthouses in Missouri on the first Thursday of May each year.
For more information on all facets of the National Day of Prayer, visit the website at  www.ndptf.org