Bond of Faith
Sitting on a shaded picnic table on the Lawrence County Courthouse lawn, Darrell Fry and Carolyn Hopper bowed their heads and embraced tightly as they soaked in the prayers delivered for the community, the nation and the world.
They were joined by more than three dozen citizens who gathered on the grass of the county seat building at noon Thursday to pause for National Day of Prayer, an event created in 1988 to bring people together through the common thread of faith.
“These lines that we draw between denominations are not really important,” Fry said. “The important thing is to the receive the Holy Spirit. … The main thing is just believing.”
The Chesapeake community also hosted a noon ceremony at Triangle Park on Third Avenue in the village. Chesapeake Mayor Dick Gilpin read a proclamation for the day before ministers offered their prayers.
Five members of the ministerial association led the Ironton service, each choosing one or two of the seven centers of influence the National Day of Prayer Task Force has identified as important to keeping prayers focused and intentional.
The Rev. Jan Williams, of First Presbyterian Church, prayed for the business community and for guidance for our elected officials.
“We pray for humble spirits and positive intentions,” she said.
The Rev. David Ritchie, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, prayed for the churches and for the nation’s heroes who are defending our freedoms.
“We pray that you grant courage and protection and strength to the men and women in our service organizations,” he said. “And we pray that you will be with the families of those who protect us.”
The Rev. Jeff Cremeans, from the City Mission Church, spoke about the importance of family and not losing sight of how it is represented in God’s word.
“We pray Father that you bless our family institution. As goes the family, so goes the nation,” Cremeans said. “… Strengthen the family. Strengthen our family values.”
Father David Huffman of St. Joseph Catholic Church talked about the importance of fortifying our educational system.
“We ask you to make our schools strong… that we always look to your for divine truth, that you will lead and guide us in your ways.”
The Rev. Wayne Young, pastor of First United Methodist Church, talked about the media and the great responsibility that comes with freedom of speech, in hopes they “use it for the highest end and objectives” in the Lord’s name.
These local efforts mirrored the national initiative that centers on engaging people to pray in order to transform the nation.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land,” the organization’s literature quotes from 2 Chronicles 7:14 New International Version.
For Fry and Hopper, the messages resonated and reflected the needs of the world today.
“This is one of those things that needs to be preserved,” Fry said of the day of prayer. “It is what life is all about from creation forward.”