The East Baton Rouge Parish mayor-president pro tem acknowledged that his politician’s call to prayer may seem odd as he urged prayer breakfast attendees to search themselves and look to God for guidance, deliverance and restoration in hurting societies.
Metro Councilman Lamont Cole was the guest speaker June 24 at the Baker Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, a tradition that dates back more than 50 years in the community. Cole began his message drawing reference from a Bible text that explains that healing and restoration happen when God’s people humbly commit to prayer, seek the Lord’s face and adopt better practices.
Recent natural disasters and social unrest linger as wounds in the community. “Spiritual restoration is a fitting theme for this morning,” Cole said. “The city of faith has faced extreme challenges over the last six years — interesting challenges. We see challenges: an increase in crime, which is people not interacting with each other in a way that exhibits love and compassion. And we recognize that we have to do something.”
Cole explained there is a connection between one’s soul and God, and that restoration means we have to replace something that has been lost. As a whole and individually, Cole espoused a return to a fear, or acknowledgment of God, and that the community equip itself as urged in the book of Ephesians. “Put on the full armor of God, so that on the day of evil, you may be able to stand your ground,” he quoted.
Baker Mayor Darnell Waites has continued the tradition of the prayer breakfast only interrupted briefly by COVID-19 restrictions. All departments of the city of Baker, including the police and fire departments, participated along with members of the faith community and officials from nearby cities.
Waites marked the 50th Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast before the pandemic by honoring former mayor and councilman at the time Norman “Pete” Heine.
Heine had been mayor for three years in 1967, when he accepted an invitation to travel to Washington, D.C., for the president’s annual prayer breakfast. He returned to Baker and became a pioneer of both the growing area and the local prayer breakfast tradition, the city said.
Heine, 93, participated in the 2022 event offering prayer for the city of Baker.
“God, we praise you, we thank you, and pray continued to blessings on Baker, Louisiana,” he asked. “Trust the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your understanding, but acknowledge him in all your ways and he will guide your path. Wouldn’t you love to have somebody like God, guiding your path each day in every decision that you have to make?”