Angela and I headed off to Washington, DC a couple of weeks ago with Keith and Beth to be a part of the National Day of Prayer festivities with James and Shirley Dobson. We had a great time. It was fun to get away. Although, it probably wasn't very fun for the loved ones who were watching our kids cleaning up puke for about 24 hours while the flu ran through poor Lily Kate's system. And also, it's HARD to be away from your babies when they are sick. They are all better now (and have all officially had said flu).
We got there on Tuesday and headed straight for a tour of Mount Vernon. George's amazing view:
The back of his house (along with Beth's awesome assistant, Michelle):
We got a semi-private tour of the home. And our tour guide let us up to the very top of the house - a place that is not normally open to the public. Kind of like a lookout tower. And the view was beautiful.
We coudn't resist the photo op.
This is Angela trying to get down from the lookout tower, right after she threw her shoes down the stairs and scared the tour guide half to death.
We are nothing if not classy.
After the tour, we quickly changed clothes and headed to a banquet hall there at Mt. Vernon, for a nice dinner. This is where Angela and I got to meet the Dobsons for the first time.
By the way, when we arrived here for dinner, we were in a pretty small SUV. Our driver, Michelle, Keith and Beth, Angela and me. I was in the very, very, very back of the car. Which made me easy to forget. Which caused ALL of them (including my wife, not to mention my boss) to hop out of the car (in the pouring rain) and shut the car door behind them. Leaving me in the back of the car by myself. And unable to pop up the seat and get out. I was stuck. And they just got a BUG KICK out of the whole scene. Laugh it up, people. Yours is coming.
We had dinner. These were the friends at our table...which, by the way, was the hoppin'est table of the night. I'm sure the Dobsons were hoping for a hoppin' table.
After dinner, we heard a guy who taught us an amazing lesson on the beginnings of our country, and the spiritual legacy of George Washington. It was fascinating and extremely informative. I knew in that moment that the Lord was about to put a fire in me to pray for our country like I've never had. I also knew in that moment that I should've absorbed more history and less of The Jeffersons growing up.
The next day, Keith and Beth had some functions, but Angela and I didn't have to be anywhere until that evening. We stayed in our beautiful hotel. I went out for a while and walked around...we were in a beautiful part of the city. This is the view from our hotel room:
That night, we had a dinner and short program to pray for everyone who would be on the platform at the event the next day.
Here we are, along with the most patriotic balloons I have ever fellowshipped with:
Dr. Dobson interviewed Beth.
We were so thankful to get to meet Mrs. Vonnette Bright, wife of the late Dr. Bill Bright (founder of Campus Crusade for Christ), and pioneer in the National Day of Prayer history.
I also was ecstatic to meet Shaun Alexander, NFL running back and MVP. We traded workout tips. Except we didn't.
I sang a few songs, and we prayed. The prayers very impactful. It was a good night.
The next day began early. The official National Day Of Prayer festivities began at 9am at the Cannon House Building. It was a program filled with powerful prayers from very wise and important people...judges, generals, chaplains, congressmen and women, representatives. It was great.
When the brass quintet began playing, and the color guard made their entrance, the weight of the moment hit me, and I had to choke back the tears.
Mrs. Dobson was gracious and articulate warm and wonderful and can we please have Easter lunch at your house sometime?? Except I don't ever plan on exhibiting my parenting skillz in front of the Dobsons in this lifetime.
Beth, of course, BROUGHT IT.
After three hours of praying and singing and praying some more, we hopped on a plane and headed to Lancaster, PA for their NDOP celebration. As a side note, I was so excited about almost throwing up on the plane in front of all these people. It always thrills my soul to go grabbing for a barf bag in front of a crowd. It's always a joy.
This Lancaster crowd was AWESOME. 18,000 people showed up to pray for our country. 18,000! Their great NDOP choir and band were there ready for us. I was worried when I was planning the music with the choir director and event planner that we would have too much music. But I was WRONG. These people were ready to knock on the door of heaven with their worship. It was an unforgettable night. Hey, Lancaster peeps, we can't wait to see you again!
(As a worship leader, I try to never go anywhere without a point, a fist pump, and a sweater vest.)
It was a great day...a great 3 days, actually. I am very grateful to have been a part of it. And my fervor for praying for this land has been renewed. May God fill us with an abundance of grace, wisdom, discernment and compassion as we navigate our way as light in these darkening times.
May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You. (Psalm 33:22)