In 1962, for the first time in American history, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against prayer in public schools in the Engel v. Vitale case.
However, I had no knowledge of the prohibition against prayer in public schools when I entered first grade at Catoosa (Oklahoma) Elementary School in 1973. Each day, my teacher opened the school day with a prayer. She would ask a student to lead the prayer. If one declined, she would ask the next student in line until one wanted to say a prayer.
My first grade teacher wanted her students to have the opportunity to seek God each morning. Without fanfare, she defied the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings because she had always allowed her students to pray, and it was a matter of conviction with her. She wanted her students to have a chance to know the Lord. More than 10 years after it became illegal, my teacher continued to allow her students to seek God in a public school classroom.
At the time, I did not know enough to appreciate what she was doing. I did not know that she was engaging in civil disobedience. But I knew that she was a woman of faith and conviction. She may not have been an activist, but she was active and courageous in living out her faith in Christ.
She was a "Daniel" in government service who continued the habit of prayer after it had been forbidden by the highest authority in the land. She was my teacher. She was my role model. And, most importantly, she was my grandmother.
Thank you, Granny Laudett. You have been gone for a decade now, but I still appreciate your life of quiet courage and faith. In my own way and in my own circumstances, I want to follow your example.