Stanley Carlson-Thies, Founder and Senior Director of CPJ’s Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance (IRFA), was recently honored to participate in the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast by offering a prayer of thanksgiving and supplication for religious freedom. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, North America Division, is a valued ally of IRFA in the work to safeguard the religious freedom needed by faith-based organizations to make their best contributions to the common good. The Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast, a multi-faith annual event, is organized by the Public Affairs & Religious Liberty section of the North America Division, headquartered in Columbia, Maryland.
Dr. Carlson-Thies first thanked the Adventist Church “for its extensive, deep, and energetic commitment to religious freedom for all,” and led in prayer:
Let us pray:Heavenly Father, maker of all things, Supreme ruler and gentle redeemer, we ask you to strengthen in our nation and around the world the commitment of citizens to uphold the right of their fellow citizens to worship and live in accordance with their religious convictions.
We ask that you restrain the power of government officials, armed forces, courts, and strong private groups when they are inclined to use their power to suppress the exercise of religions that they do not favor.
We ask that you guide those who are certain about their convictions also to understand their own limitations. We ask that you guide them to acknowledge the great value of every person so that they will be determined to protect the religious freedom of others.
Give us the patience and courage to leave it to you to vindicate ultimate truth, your honor, and final justice.
We thank you for the blessing of religious freedom that we enjoy in the United States. We acknowledge it is imperfect, but thank you that it is very substantial. We thank you in particular that we are free not only to worship in accordance with our convictions, but are also able without much hindrance to live out our respective religious beliefs through our schools, charities, and businesses. We ask for the continued and enlarged freedom to serve others based on our own respective convictions.
We thank you for government officials and courts who protect equally those of every religion, particularly when they are courageous not to give in to fears and suspicions about minority religions.
We thank you that the United States has been to other nations a witness to, and advocate for, religious freedom, and we pray that you will enlarge our nation’s commitment to work internationally to protect religious freedom for all.
And we ask you, great God, to give us each, personally, the courage to stand up for our deep convictions, knowing that religious freedom is protected only when believers exercise their own beliefs while advocating also for the rights of others.