An eternal message, a respected name and an unusual venue came together to make the 2021 Fresno-Clovis Prayer Breakfast one for the record books.
It was “praise God” instead of “play ball” May 25 as the prayer breakfast began at a sunny 7:00 a.m. on the field at Chukchansi Park. Setting up on the diamond instead of the Fresno Grizzlies was a team of pastors, public officials, musicians and volunteers.
Evangelist and author Anne Graham Lotz was the featured speaker for the breakfast, one of the first major in-person events in Fresno since COVID-19. Annually the gathering is among the largest community events in California’s Central Valley and the largest prayer event of its kind outside Washington, D.C.
Important for FPU
Fresno Pacific University is a longtime sponsor of the prayer breakfast. This participation is important as the event unites local Christians in support of their civic leaders, including businesspeople, elected government officials and law enforcement.
“The Fresno-Clovis Prayer Breakfast is a call to the Christian community to gather for prayer for regional leaders and critical issues that impact the Central Valley, the state and our country,” said FPU President Joseph Jones, Ph.D., who gave the opening prayer.
“As a partner with the church community, FPU is connected with the planning committee, which happens to include one of member of our staff and three of the university’s trustees. Our athletics teams serve to assist in the logistics. We have committed ourselves to engaging the cultures and serving the cities. Gathering with others in prayer is foundational to this commitment," he said.
Emceed by Jim Franklin, pastor of Cornerstone Church, the local roster included Jerry Dyer, mayor of Fresno; Jose Flores, mayor of Clovis; and Steve Brandau, chair of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. Jon Shabaglian and Pslamist Mission as well as Matt Perkins, pastor at People’s Church, provided music; and Matthew Grundy, Fresno deputy mayor, gave the benediction.
Seating in the stadium was mostly behind home plate and allotted in blocks large enough to allow social distancing. Pardini’s Catering provided a “grab-and-go” breakfast attendees could eat in their seats. More about this year’s breakfast at fresnobee.com/news/local/article251669348.html
Lotz finds a gift in 2020
Anne Grahman Lotz’s first reaction to the past year was normal. “When I look back at 2020 I just want to get rid of it. I just want to say ‘God, what are you doing? Just take it away and make 2021 better,’” she said.
But there is a gift in 2020. “I believe God is using this pandemic and the things that are happening to press us to himself that we might repent of our sin and turn to him,” Lotz said.
Despite disease and division, we are not to be afraid and to keep our eye on God. “Jesus is greater than any power in the universe—no one is higher than him,” she said. “Jesus will always be seated at the throne…If we repent of our sin then he will hear our prayer an heal our land.”
Called “the best preacher in the family” by her father, Billy Graham, Anne Graham Lotz was named one of the five most influential evangelists of her generation by The New York Times. Founder and president of AnGeL Ministries, her “Just Give Me Jesus revivals” have been held in more than 30 cities in 12 different countries to hundreds of thousands of attendees.
A best-selling author, Lotz’s most recent releases are The Daniel Prayer, Wounded by God’s People, Fixing My Eyes on Jesus, Expecting to See Jesus and her first children’s book, Heaven: God’s Promise for Me. She and late husband Danny Lotz have three grown children and three grandchildren.
The Fresno-Clovis Prayer Breakfast traces its roots to meetings between five businessmen in the 1940s, becoming the Fresno Community Prayer Breakfast in the 1970s and taking its present name in the mid-1990s. Next year’s speaker will be Jonathan Evans, mentor, author, speaker and former NFL fullback, and tickets are available now at FresnoClovisPrayerBrekafast.com
(Photo courtesy of the Fresno-Clovis Prayer Breakfast)