‘Lead By Serving’

Retired NFL Kicker Speaks At Annual Prayer Breakfast

Posted: April 10, 2013

Salem Nganga, 21, a senior at Bridgewater College, prays during the annual Shenandoah Valley Prayer Breakfast at James Madison University on Tuesday. (Photos by Nikki Fox / DN-R)
Kristina Doubet of Harrisonburg, assistant professor in education programs at James Madison University, listens to Josh Moyer perform a song during the Shenandoah Valley Prayer Breakfast at JMU Tuesday.
Todd Peterson, the keynote speaker at the Shenandoah Valley Prayer Breakfast, talks to attendees at JMU Tuesday morning.
HARRISONBURG — Todd Peterson knows about influence.

As a retired pro football kicker who has set various records, including being one of only 34 players to have ever scored over 1,000 points when he left the NFL in 2006, he’s used to being within an elite group. Not to mention that Peterson has worked with many other influential players — and witnessed how they’ve used that influence.

As the keynote speaker for the annual Shenandoah Valley Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday, Peterson, 43, implored the more than 400 people who attended to use their influence wisely.

The prayer breakfast began 50 years ago as the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. Among the crowd at this year’s event, held at the James Madison University Festival Conference and Student Center, were local leaders, including U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, and Rockingham County Circuit Court Clerk Chaz Evans-Haywood.

“Life’s about choices, and we will always have to make the choice of what we will do with what we’ve been given,” Peterson said. “Are we going to choose ourselves or are we going to choose others? ... My challenge to you all is to lead by serving.”

Peterson, who said he’s been a Christian since college, has served others through his faith. The retired football star, who lives in Atlanta, serves on the boards of several Christian organizations.

“If you choose the world, it won’t be a bad life ... but the applause will end without a doubt, and that’ll be all the applause there is,” he said. “But if you choose Jesus ... the applause will go on forever.”

Following Peterson’s address, which ended with a prayer, a series of local residents prayed for different areas within the community.

“We ask for your soaking showers and rays of sunshine,” local dairyman Tim Liskey prayed.

“We ask that you keep us mindful that everything we have comes from you,” prayed Marshall Kiser, a financial adviser for Wells Fargo Advisors. “Strengthen our faith.”

Prayer breakfasts are held at varying times across the nation, including the National Prayer Breakfast, held on the first Thursday of February in Washington, D.C., and attended by more than 3,500 guests.

Contact Candace Sipos at 574-6275 or csipos@dnronline.com

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