MOORE — Gov. Kevin Stitt said he felt God called him to run for office while speaking at the Inaugural Prayer Service Tuesday at First Moore Baptist Church.
Stitt, his wife, Sarah, and their children sat at the front row of the service, which is traditionally hosted on the Sunday before inauguration. The reason for delaying it until the day after was to symbolize that Stitt will put God first in his new administration, as Tuesday’s event was his first act of service as governor.
“The whole reason I’m standing here today is because of my Heavenly Father,” Stitt said to the congregation. “Everything I have is because of Him.”
The main worship hall of First Moore Baptist was packed by the time the Singing Church Men and Women ended its prelude. After a prayer, Pastor Bill Scheer of Guts Church in Tulsa gave an opening sermon in which he said Stitt’s election will be positive for Oklahoma.
“Let me tell you what I keep hearing: top 10. Top 10 in commerce, in education and instruction, top 10 in energy; that’s what I want for my children, for my state, for my church,” Scheer said. “It’s not business as usual.”
In his sermon, Scheer spoke of Stitt’s election as a blessing for the state. He said he believes it will lead to prosperity for Oklahoma and that the church, “me and my people, we’re all in.”
“God’s going to heal us,” Scheer said. “It’s going to heal our land.”
Stitt said he felt called to be the governor of Oklahoma and truly realized it shortly after announcing his candidacy.
He said his mother brought out an old book she used to record and remember his childhood, and she turned to a page that showed Stitt had been thinking of having this position since he was a boy.
“And it said a question to ask your son: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ She found that, and I had put governor,” Stitt said. “Then I forgot about it. I had been in the business world focused on growing my employees and my team members.
“Yesterday, before the inauguration I wrote in my journal, ‘Lord, it feels like today you are bringing to pass what you put in a little boy’s heart when they were 6 years old.’ So it’s amazing to be here before you.”
In his address, Stitt even took time to joke about himself. During the campaign, he had been criticized for his voting patterns as an Oklahoma resident, namely that he had never cast a ballot for governor before.
“About three years ago, God started talking to me,” Stitt said. “I started thinking about this governor’s race, and I had to Google ‘when is the governor’s race?’ As you guys know, I wasn’t involved with politics at all. I was focused on growing my company and raising my family. It was a hard decision.”
But when he would go to prayer, Stitt said he continually felt God was calling him to run for office. He credits his win to being God’s plan.
“Political strategists look at this race and say it’s impossible you won this,” Stitt said. “It’s unbelievable. No one with zero name ID wins this thing.”
Stitt said to make his tenure count, he will need people like those who filled the worship hall Tuesday. The governor announces a county-by-county initiative in which his administration will work with churches and local organizations to solve social issues.
“We need all of you helping,” he said. “We are going to roll out a 77-county initiative ... and we’re going to engage the nonprofits and the churches to really heal and solve some of these social issues county by county that the government can’t do, no law can do, but our heavenly father can do.”
First Lady Sarah Stitt also addressed the congregation. She said the decision to switch the prayer service from Sunday to Tuesday was because “Kevin and I wanted Oklahoma to see that this is in our hearts.”
“We are God’s kingdom here on Earth,” she said. “It is our call to go out into our state and save people, bring people to him and help with all of these issues. Government alone cannot fix this.”
The Inaugural Prayer Service is traditionally hosted at a church in the Oklahoma City metro. This is the first time First Moore Baptist has hosted it.
Pastors Charles Metcalf and Mike Todd gave brief sermons following Stitt’s address. The event also included a native language rendition of “Amazing Grace” sung by the Cherokee Youth Choir.