VAUGHN: The power of prayer can be quite amazing

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Bob Gerard, Chairman of the Board for Tennessee Christian Chamber of Commerce and Rutherford County Executive for Fifth Third Bank. Photo submitted

As a youngster growing up in St. Louis, never in Bob’s wildest imagination were there thoughts about being “Bob the Banker,” a name that many friends and colleagues now call him with affection.  Back then, his starry eyes were fixed on emulating baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, a star with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Bob excelled in baseball as a Little League player, but as he grew in stature, he took his eyes off the ball and turned to dreams of making a name in the business world. It all began as a newspaper boy; then a movie rental store clerk.

As a young adult, he moved to Florida to be near his sister. Bob had a short stint with UPS in telemarketing before landing what appeared to be his dream job and road to success. For the next 18 years he was a salesman for a water treatment company, rising to become a top regional performer for the business. That brought the prestige and money that he yearned for, but something was missing.

His plate was full of “stuff” but his spiritual life was empty. Working seven days a week and traveling most of the time took its toll. Being a Christian since he was 6 years old, Bob knew the answer. It was time to get serious about serving God.

He prayed, “Lord, please give me a job where I can serve you better and have more time with my family.” While uttering those words, he still had visions of a career that would afford the same amenities such as a gated community with a large home, private school for his children and anything else that he set his eyes on.

The water treatment company went belly-up; the first-step in him changing jobs. A neighbor, who was in banking, encouraged Bob.  As he remembers, “I was a good salesman, but being a banker was never part of my vocabulary.” The neighbor continued to encourage him by reminding that a good salesman could learn about banking. After all, almost every career is about sales.

In 2006, Bob and wife, Lisa, made a decision -- move to her hometown of Murfreesboro.  Two hours after putting their home on the market, they landed a contract. While no job offer was dangling in the wind, they headed north to Murfreesboro.

While reminiscing, Bob just smiles and shakes his head trying to grasp the steps that were required to get him and his family to the present place in time. He says, “God amazes me in the way He answered and continues to answer my prayers. I can hardly wait to see what will happen next.”

Soon after the move to Murfreesboro, he landed a position with Fifth Third Bank. Earlier this year, he was named Rutherford County Executive for the banking institution.

Another miracle occurred when looking for a church. After attending services at different area churches over the course of several weeks, Lisa commented about seeing a church on Thompson Lane.

They agreed to try it. After parking the car and starting in the front door, they saw some familiar faces; a couple who were former neighbors back in Jacksonville. Bob thought WOW … this is more than a coincidence. New Vision Church became their place to worship, and since then Bob has been named a deacon.

Now 49, Bob thinks back to his simple prayer years ago: “Lord, help me to grow closer to you and give me a job where I can spend more quality time with my family.”

He adds, “Prayer works; not always in the manner we want … but it works.”

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bob gerald, power, prayer, ralph vaughn, st. louis
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