Retired BYU dean of Religion speaks at Interfaith event

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Robert Millet, a retired BYU professor and dean of Religious Education, spoke at an Annual Day of Prayer and Action for Habitat for Humanity held at St. Mary’s Episcopal church on Sept. 20, 2015. The idea behind the event was to raise awareness of poverty housing, to pray for more homes to be built and that charity would increase in the community.

Founded in 1976, Habitat for Humanity is a Christian-based organization that has since helped renovate and build homes for impoverished families. The organization’s ambition is to combat indecent housing and to provide affordable housing in the community to impoverished families, adults and children. Their argument is that poverty housing is unacceptable.

“Pay-it-Forward housing is what we call it,” said Kena Matthews, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity. “We keep it under 30 percent of their income and they pay zero percent interest.”

This organization asked retired BYU professor and dean of Religious Education, Robert Millet, to speak at this Annual Day of Prayer and Action for Human Habitat Interfaith service. He titled his talk “Peace, Perspective and Power Through Prayer.”

Jessica Parcell
Robert Millet spoke at an Annual Day of Prayer Service held at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. He explained how important it is to keep prayer a priority and that faith is an action (Jessica Parcell).

Faith and charity were the center points of his talk Sunday evening; Faith through the act of prayer.

“Because things are not the way they ought to be, in our personal lives as well as in the world at large, we need help,” Millet said. “We need help beyond ourselves.”

Millet suggested that even through very small acts such as prayer great things can happen.

“‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart’ the proverb states, ‘and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct thy paths,'” Millet quoted.

He remembered the events of 9/11 and how that seemed to dramatically increase the number of heartfelt prayers throughout the nation. The prayers expressed were more in the attitude of humility.

“Dependence upon God can fade quickly when prayers are answered,” Millet said. “When the trouble lessens, so do the prayers.”

Jessica Parcell
Robert Millet speaks at an InterFaith event Sunday Sept. 20, 2015. He warned that feelings of self-sufficiency can build when prayers are answered (Jessica Parcell).

He explained that when the prayers lessen it creates a sense of vanity and self sufficiency and a feeling of pride that makes it hard to hear the voice of the Spirit. He continued in the attitude that prayer be made a priority and introduced the statistics of studies that have shown that children who grow up in a home where prayer is such a priority are more successful and literate later on in life.

Alongside addressing prayer, he paired Habitat for Humanity in his speech. Millet spotlighted them for the contributions they have given to the community.

“I believe in what they’re doing,” Millet said.

A recipient of this Christian organization’s efforts, Flora Aleman, gave a few remarks about her situation before her relationship with Habitat for Humanity and how it greatly affected her and her family. Aleman explained that she tried her best to remain optimistic as she recalled the frustration of her search for an affordable home.

“I remember telling my husband that we had to keep moving forward with faith,” Aleman said, “that our Heavenly Father had His own timing.”

Aleman and her family have been the owners of their own home since August.

“We should remember the Most High day and night. Always,” Millet said. “Not only at times when all other assistance has failed and we desperately need help.”

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