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Police chief assures of goodness in the world, importance of personal faith

Speaking at Fort Sill's National Prayer Luncheon on Wednesday, Lawton Police Chief James T. Smith urged listeners to develop a relationship with God now so they can call on him in their hour of need.

Garrison Chaplain (Col.) John Morris provided a brief history on the National Day of Prayer, which has been held since 1953 and enacted into law by President Harry S Truman but first hosted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Morris proceeded to introduce the speaker as a listener ("That's a unique thing to be said about a leader in a powerful position"), a community leader, a problem-solver and a team-builder.

"He's resolute, and there's no gray in his understanding of right and wrong," Morris added. "He's a man of compassion. Despite all that he's dealt with, he has a soft heart. He's unwavering in matters of values and ethics. He's fair, and he makes everything and everybody he associates with better." 

Smith began by noting that this is National Police Week, when the country takes time to honor those brave men and women in law enforcement who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Smith said he honestly believes we are living in a wonderful world and a wonderful nation.

"I think that we are living in an exciting time - That's kind of a strange statement, if you think about all the bad things that are happening throughout our nation, throughout our world," he said, reflecting on the persistence of natural disasters, terrorist attacks and social issues.

He recalled the opening lines from "A Tale of Two Cities," "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of knowledge and an age of foolishness."

"Maybe we're living in that time now," said Smith, urging his audience to pray not only in the worst of times but also in the best of times.

The chief drew on many biblical stories, such as Daniel's steadfastness when he was given an order not to pray and the three Hebrew boys, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who faced the fiery furnace rather than bow down to an image the king had made. They did not know what would happen, but one thing they did know: Their God was able to deliver them.

Smith said that as a youth growing up in rural Kentucky, he was always interested in the military and law enforcement, but one of his struggles was, "how can I continue to serve God and bear arms for a living?"

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