IWU Professor Offers Prayer at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast

Joanne Solis Walker

Last month, Esperanza, one of the country’s most prominent Hispanic organizations, held its 11th National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast. The culminating event of a two-day conference held in Washington, D.C., the June 18 breakfast included Hispanic clergy leadership from around the country, as well as some of the highest level politicians in the U.S. This premier event brings together hundreds of Hispanic faith leaders representing 15 denominations from over 35 states to network, advocate, worship and pray.

One especially “honored, humbled and very surprised” participant in this biennial event  was IWU’s Rev. Joanne Solis-Walker, Ph.D., M.Div, Director of Latino Education and Adjunct Professor, Wesley Seminary. She received an invitation from Rev. Luis Cortés, Jr., President of Esperanza, who wrote, “The Hispanic community in the United States is experiencing an interesting time in our history, as we continue to grow and face new challenges . . . I’m looking forward to seeing what the Lord will do as we gather in D.C. Your participation with us in offering a prayer on the program would add tremendous value to our time of worship, celebration and advocacy.”

Solis-Walker’s prayer focused on immigration. “I don't know how to share this, but I believe God chose this topic for me,” she shared. “The coordinators of the event assigned it, but during the past year God has continuously nudged my heart regarding immigration and immigration reform. As a native Hispanic-American, I've been aware of the immigration issue but somewhat removed from the conversation. God is quickening my spirit and calling me to be educated.”

The experience did not disappoint. “It was extraordinary,” Solis-Walker reports. “Informative, challenging and inspiring. I was surrounded by people who love God and desire to be a voice for the voiceless.” Her prayer opened with the following words:

Lord thank you for this nation of immigrants, of which I am one. Do not let me forget my heritage and continuously remind me we are ALL your people, created in your image oh God. Vengo ante ti Señor con varias oraciones, cada una es una súplica por los distintos tipos de inmigrantes. Escucha este clamor por favor.

Primero quiero orar por aquellos que viven sin miedo en esta nación. Help them remember their personal journey and that of their ancestors. Give them the VALENTÍA to advocate on behalf of those who did not freely arrive. God awaken the spirit of native born Hispanic-Americans. We risk turning a deaf ear, opting for silence, and choosing not to act. Make us mindful of the value of a social security number, the privilege of employment, and the gathering of the familia without the fear of deportation. Call us out of our comfort zones so that we stand in the gap for the least of these.

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