Stacey Abrams, a Yale Law School graduate who is the daughter of United Methodist Church ministers, is seeking to become the first black female governor in the United States. And if the prayers of her fellow parishioners at Columbia Drive United Methodist Church in Decatur, Georgia, are answered, she will likely make it.
"We want to pray for Stacey Abrams," a pastor at the church prayed at a recent meeting in which Abrams participated earlier this month, according to a WABE report. "We want to pray, with her the season may change — that with her being elected as the governor of the great state of Georgia that all of those ideas from the current administration be answered to the way of righteousness."
Abrams, 44, is the former minority leader in the Georgia legislature. She will face off with fellow Democrat Stacey Evans on May 22 to become Georgia's Democratic nominee for governor. A FOX 5 Atlanta poll this week shows Abrams leading that race but she is taking nothing for granted.
Making references to the biblical Esther, she urged he fellow parishioners in the meeting where she received prayer to speak up.
"I was sitting back there thinking about Esther chapter 4, verse 14," she said. "And it's a verse that says, 'If you remain silent at this time, there will be salvation that comes for others, but you and your family may not see it.'"
She continued: "I believe the only way to win Georgia is to ... essentially get Democrats who have too often been overlooked and unheard to believe that this time if they engage, we can win."
On Thursday, Abrams gained the endorsement of former presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. He called her the "only candidate for governor of Georgia who has real solutions that will help the lives of working people in Georgia."
In the WABE report, Abrams recalled being a high school valedictorian who was stopped when she tried to attend a party for valedictorians with the governor.
"This is a private event, you don't belong here," she said a guard told her.
"I'm running for governor because I intend to ... open those gates wide so no one ever doubts they belong in our Georgia," she told voters on the campaign trail.
Abrams is not new to making history. She was the first African-American to lead in the House of Representatives in Georgia and the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly.
During a campaign stop in Helen Clark Memorial Park, she talked with rural voters about how she lived out her faith.
"I know this is a community that stands up for the values we were raised with," she said, according to The Augusta Chronicle. "I had three jobs when I was growing up; go to church, go to school and take care of each other. They told us to go to church because they wanted us to be grounded in a moral framework that is more than ourselves and understand that poverty of economy does not mean poverty of the spirit. They wanted us to know who we are and whose we are, but also to know that my faith did not justify me in discriminating against anyone else and that I should never use my faith to harm communities or to dismiss other people's faiths. There was no reason to use what was in my heart to hurt others."
She also talked about her support of public education and how her mother was the only one of her seven siblings to finish high school, but graduated as the valedictorian.
"I know firsthand that public education saved my family's life and I will do anything in my power to defend it, improve it and strengthen it for all of Georgia's students," she said.