Residents pray together on National Day of Prayer

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 7, 2005

About 100 people gathered outside Greenville City Hall Thursday to commemorate the National Day of Prayer with bowed heads, song and incantations of wisdom for leaders in the civic, education, media and military fields.

The Greenville Ministerial Association organized the gathering.

Similar gatherings were playing out in hundreds of cities across America Thursday on what was the 54th anniversary of National Prayer Day since Congress established it in 1952.

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The theme for this year’s prayer day was &uot;God Shed His Grace on Thee,&uot; taken from &uot;America, The Beautiful,&uot; with the scriptural base in Hebrews 4:16 that states: &uot;Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.&uot;

The ministerial association encouraged those in attendance and everyone to take five minutes each day to pray for the &uot;centers of power.&uot;

Those centers are government, media, church, family and education.

The Rev. Jim Helms said during his remarks that the prayers being offered Thursday were akin to a rushing river across the country.

&uot;Just one hour ago, services began in the Eastern Time zone and now they are being held throughout the Central Time Zone,&uot; he said.

&uot;What it must look like to see as people are praying as it moves across the country into the Mountain Time Zone and Pacific Time Zones.&uot;

Father Fred Lindstrom of Saint Thomas Episcopal Church oversaw the event told those gathered it is always important to make time for prayer.

Madison Norrell, the oldest daughter of David and Melissa Norrell performed &uot;Down on my knees&uot; for those gathering, bringing tears to many eyes.

The crowd was made up of mainly City Employees, a few local merchants and a number of dedicated prayer warriors.

David Norrell said he was surprised at the light attendance.

&uot;I was a little surprised and more disappointed than anything that there wasn’t more representation of local merchants and clergy,&uot; he said.

&uot;Memories and thoughts of 9/11 and the Iraqi conflict should not be so quickly forgotten and if anybody needs prayer our Armed Forces and state, local and federal leaders certainly do.

I can only hope that those that were not able to be there took the time regardless of where they were to lift up a prayer for our nation and our leaders.&uot;

The National Day of Prayer was officially created by President Harry Truman who signed the day into law as established by an act of Congress. President Ronald Reagan signed a bill in 1988 that established the first Thursday in May as the official National Day of Prayer.

President Bush celebrated the day with a 70-member choir and by meeting with leaders of various faiths.

&uot;Every day, our churches and synagogues and mosques and temples are filled with men and women who pray to our maker,&uot; Bush stated, in a White House press release. &uot;And so we pray as Americans have always prayed: With confidence in God’s purpose, with hope for the future, and with the humility to ask God’s help to do what is right.&uot;

Governor Bob Riley also took part in the National Day of Prayer Rally on the steps of the Capitol.

&uot;Prayer has been an indispensable source of moral and spiritual guidance for citizens throughout America’s history,&uot; Riley said. &uot;Setting aside time for prayer is essential.&uot;

Ministers taking part in the service included, the Rev. Allen Stephenson, the Rev. Leander Robinson, the Rev. Lane Simmons, the Rev. Jim Griffin, the Rev. Chris Eckert, the Rev. Tommie Means, Lindstrom and Helms.