Hundreds of Turlockers gathered for a day of prayer on Thursday morning, celebrating the 20th annual Turlock Mayor's Prayer Breakfast.
“I am thankful for the goodness that is Turlock,” Mayor John Lazar said. “It's made up of people who live, work, and worship here.”
Lazar credited the people who donate their time to help others – the teachers, doctors, and priests that make Turlock the community it is – during his brief opening remarks.
The breakfast was keynoted by Mark Speckman, an All-American football player who was born without hands. Speckman credited faith and perseverance with his ability to overcome his disability, and to become a successful player and coach. Today, Speckman is the running backs coach for the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes.
“Most people have no idea how much potential they have,” Speckman said.
Speckman stood on stage with a vase of water, drawing an allegory with water representing potential. Though he tilted the vase to pour more and more water out, signifying the effort people put into their lives, there was always more water to pour.
“That's what God calls us to do. Pour it out,” Speckman said. “… The successful people are people that pour it out until they have nothing left.”
Speckman recalled an Adonis of a linebacker – a “Mr. Perfect” – who was beat out by a short, clumsy player who simply played harder. He told of a fast kid from a bad family who overcame challenges to play college ball – and return a kickoff in the Rose Bowl. And he told of another fast kid from the same family background that dropped out of school and didn't make it.
Success in life all comes down to “figuring it out,” Speckman said. Everyone faces challenges – some come from bad families, some have no hands. But with effort and determination, anything is possible.
“I don't know how to do half the stuff I'm going to do,” Speckman said. “But I have the confidence I'll figure it out.”
In addition to Speckman's keynote, the event featured prayers for families, youth, and leadership. City Manager Roy Wasden read from the Book of Psalms.
And Phil King, a top Christian recording artist who graduated from Pitman High School, returned to his hometown to play a song.
“Every time someone asks me where I came from, I say, 'I grew up in the best city ever,'” King said
But the Turlock Mayor's Prayer Breakfast was all about prayer at its core, as local businessman Matt Swanson noted during a prayer he led.
“Thank you for blessing this country where we can come together publicly and pray in your name,” Swanson said.