2024 Suffolk Leadership Prayer Breakfast shares stories of inspiration and hope – The Suffolk News-Herald


2024 Suffolk Leadership Prayer Breakfast shares stories of inspiration and hope

Published 10:52 am Friday, May 3, 2024

The 2024 Suffolk Leadership Prayer Breakfast was held at the Liberty Center on the National Day of Prayer, Thursday, May 2, with Fox News Chief Religion Correspondent Lauren Green serving as guest host for the morning service. Area elected officials, honored guests and children from Suffolk joined in celebrating the power of prayer and keeping faith in God during the most turbulent of trials. Award-winning Christian Artist Lauren Talley provided music during the event.

Guest speakers Mark M. Gottlieb and Samer Mohammad each shared their own stories of discovering Christ. Gottlieb, born into a Jewish family, says that he was an atheist while growing up. After going to Stanford University and getting his two master’s degrees, Gottlieb came to Washington, D.C., where he worked for Stanford Research Institute and taught part-time at George Washington University. After dating a Christian woman and reading Darwin on Trial by Phillip E. Johnson, Gottlieb started opening his mind to Christianity and trusting in God.

“I actually learned that as a Christian, we’re on a journey, and God is sovereign, and we need to learn to trust him,” Gottlieb said. “And I wanted to test God a lot on this trust part. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.’”

Samer Mohammad also shared his story of finding Christ. Born in the Palestinian Refugee Camp in Lebanon, Mohammad reflected on meeting a visitor who came to Lebanon when he was 19 years old. The visitor started to tell him about Jesus Christ.

“I say ‘I am [a] student… Why [do] you tell me about Jesus?’ So I start fighting with him and he starts reading the Bible. I am afraid to take the Bible … I say ‘I don’t believe a word of God, but I want to know what’s in this book that my enemy reads,” Mohammad said.

Mohammad said that once reading the Bible for the first time, he came across the passage of Matthew 5:6-7.

“‘Love your enemy. Bless your enemy … When I am still reading, I start having confusion. What is the truth?” Mohammad said. “When I am still reading and I [found] something on the lines of saying ‘If you have any questions, call this number.’ I call and say, ‘I have a lot of questions.’”

Mohammad says that soon, his “spiritual eyes” started to open, and on July 14, 2001, he accepted Christ to be his Lord and Savior. However, his family’s response to his faith and having a Bible was less than favorable, with his brother even putting Mohammad in handcuffs.

“It’s shameful … They put me in handcuffs, they start coming to my house, they want to kill me. And now, this happened 24 years ago, I don’t live with my family. 24 years, because I said ‘Jesus is my Lord,’” Mohammad said emotionally.

Mohammad also reflected that he was jailed three times in Lebanon for his faith in Christ. Despite this, he believes this was God helping to build both him and his faith. Mohammad was able to move to the United States, where he has lived in New York for 15 years, but notes his heart is still in the Middle East.

“One day, I am dealing with God with something. I say ‘God, what happened in my life, what’s going on?’ He said, ‘I am building you, for your people,’” he said. “There’s people like me who need the message of hope, and who can tell them the message of hope if I stay in New York? God put his hand on my life for something.”

Providing remarks from the city on the history of prayer, Mayor Michael D. Duman talked about the importance of the National Day of Prayer in America.

“The National Day of Prayer was established based upon the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion: two of our nation’s most important family values,” Duman said. It is indeed a wonderful testament to this community, to this state, and to this nation that we can gather as representatives from our respective fields: government, faith-based community, education, healthcare, public safety, industry, and other professionals to honor the importance of prayer in our lives.”

Major General Jerry F. Prochaska of the US Army provided remarks on the importance of prayer in the military.

“Prayer plays a significant role in fostering resilience. That’s the ability to keep going in times that are extremely difficult or tough, that resilience helps you get through. So prayer helps us in that, providing soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines with a powerful tool to navigate the challenges we face,” Prochaska said.

Prochaska discussed the beneficial aspects of prayer, including spiritual strength, wisdom and guidance through life, and a sense of hope.

“It reminds us we’re not alone and that there’s a higher power watching over us. This sense of hope strengthens our resolve, encourages us to persevere in the face of adversity and prayer helps soldiers to maintain optimism and resilience in order we can overcome challenges with faith and determination,” Prochaska said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *