Rep. Gabrielle Giffords', D- Ariz., public meeting with constituents, a typical "meet and greet," ended with a shooting, the death of six people and the wounding of 14 others. Giffords, shot in the head, was initially reported dead by CNN and others, then alive. As I write this, she is in stable condition and facing an uncertain prognosis.
Giffords was doing her job, meeting with her constituents and listening to them.
Those killed were Gabriel Zimmerman, Dorwan Stoddard, Phyllis Schneck, Judge John Roll, Dorothy Morris and Christina Green.
Two days before the shooting, Giffords had participated in the reading of the U.S. Constitution on the floor of the House of Representatives. She read the First Amendment:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
This amendment is important to the foundation of our nation. Even those who do not agree with a particular point of view understand and appreciate the importance of people being free, and that these freedoms are inherent and cannot be taken away by Congress.
While some are attempting to assign blame of the tragedy, assigning blame cannot create change. But prayer can -- prayer for the victims, for their families, for the speedy recovery of the wounded and for all those touched by the tragedy.
As President Abraham Lincoln stated in his second inaugural address, "Let us judge not, that we be not judged."
Prayer changes both those who are prayed for and those who pray. A nation in prayer is a nation with unimaginable power.
Remember, and practice this week, the incredible power of prayer.