Nearly 1,000 NRA members and their guests started the final day of the 144th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits by gathering Sunday morning for worship at the National Prayer Breakfast. As outgoing NRA President James W. Porter II noted in his welcome letter included in the prayer breakfast program, “Our glorious country was founded by people who willingly sacrificed their personal accomplishments and comforts in search of religious freedom. … Indeed, the bond between freedom and religion is undeniable.” The annual breakfast, sponsored by Trijicon and Universal Coin & Bullion, featured a keynote address by Rev. Jonathan Falwell, senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va.
Rev. Falwell drew on the firearms industry to provide a life lesson: Just as gun companies constantly strive to make better products, he said, people should continually try to improve their lives by serving others. He urged attendees to live with compassion, to be respectful, to intervene when friends and strangers alike need help, and to seek the absolute truth. In a lighter moment, he admitted to stretching the truth a bit when it comes to informing his wife of additions to his gun collection.
During his inspirational testimony, J. Frank Harrison III, Board Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, noted that honoring God should be the first operating principle in order to leave a powerful legacy. Nationally-known recording artist, worship leader, author and pastor Charles Billingsley performed several uplifting hymns of praise.
The event was led by John Smithbaker, founder of Fathers in the Field. A Christian adventure ministry, Fathers in the Field helps fatherless boys across America deal with abandonment issues by mentoring them in the outdoors.