The power of prayerPublished 8:40pm Thursday, May 2, 2013
The rains came during Thursday’s National Day of Prayer – but so did the people.
“This is the biggest yet,” NDOP Director Sharon Keesler said after the program during which the entire Bible was read aloud by around 300 people in a nearly half-hour period.
NDOP committee member Joann Martin said the day-long slate of prayer meetings was a huge success, despite being driven indoors by the rain and the fact that many designated readers were forced to back out for various reasons.
“We had so many obstacles that came against us,” Martin said. “But then someone would call me and say, ‘I want to read.’”
“God gets the glory for that,” Keesler added.
Giving the glory to God, while praying for specific areas of everyday life, was the order of the day and local residents turned out beginning at 6 a.m. at Houston-Avery, Tom Byrne and Heritage parks.
At 10 a.m., a group met inside Atmore City Hall to pray for U.S. military members and their families, youth and children and family life across the world.
Pastor Hattie Bishop, of Deliverance Ministry of Jesus Christ Church, Ron Starnes, youth minister at First Assembly of God, Jim Reece, pastor of First United Methodist Church and First Baptist Church of Walnut Hill Pastor Ted Bridges led the prayers, which included the laying on of hands for Atmore Mayor Jim Staff and his administration.
“We pray for our soldiers today,” Reece prayed during the ceremony. “Their sacrifices are immense.”
Staff said he believes opening city hall for such public ceremonies is important to the health of the city.
“I just think it’s important for everyone to be involved and be able to express their faith,” Staff said. “The government and them military – we need God smiling down on us.”
Prayer services continued Thursday afternoon when the 300-plus-crowd gathered at Escambia County High School’s gymnasium for the final meeting of the day.
Dean Bushnell, a U.S. Army veteran and member of Rabun’s New Hope Community Church, was present for both indoor ceremonies.
“I come to them all,” he said of the NDOP services. “This is our third season for my wife and me.”
Bushnell said he believes fellowship is important for believers of all backgrounds.
“This is a good time for the Christians of the town to come out and praise the Lord,” he said. “It’s just so great to see these people come out to pray for our country and our people,” Keesler, who is nursing a recent shoulder injury, said. “So much has happened that could have been bad for us.”
Keeseler and her committee members seemed to echo the same sentiment following the day’s successful services. They all agreed the mere fact that so many turned out amidst such trying circumstances is proof in of itself in the power of prayer.