Today, at noon, we hope the courthouse square in downtown Clinton will be filled with people ready and willing to join area ministers and community leaders in lifting voices in prayer during the annual National Day of Prayer event.
It’s a non-denominational service that welcomes everyone to join hands, bow heads and join hearts, forgetting differences and focusing on the things that should bring us all together — harmony, love and a desire to help one another, a community pouring out its hopes for healing to a power far greater than themselves.
We are reminded of a verse in the Old Testament, from 2 Chronicles — a verse often recited during National Day of Prayer services. It goes like this: “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.”
While not all people across Sampson County are believers in a higher entity, we certainly are; and we believe that offering prayers, like those that will be lifted Thursday, are powerful urgings from people who know healing is needed across our great land and understand that their collective voices, when sincere in their asking, can bring about positive change.
Usually during National Day of Prayer services prayers are offered for the government leaders from the nation to the city and county; for the military; for the media; for business and economy; for education; for churches; for families and for those who are sick and shut in.
The prayers will be offered in sincere tones, our friends, neighbors and leaders echoing thoughts and prayers many of us have perhaps whispered on more than one occasion, words urging healing, wisdom, strength and renewal.
Going to today’s prayer event will make you feel better, just by being in the presence of others who believe in the power of prayer and who want to join together to seek the healing we all know this country and this world desperately needs today.
But we cannot stop with those prayers or today’s event.. Those who believe in God know that we are his vessels — the ships sent out into a world of hate, selfishness, bitterness and covetousness — and that our jobs do not end with the prayers we will lift Thursday. In fact, they’ve just begun.
It is up to us, with God as our guide, to be the beacon of light in the world, leading by example, loving our neighbors even as we perhaps hate the sins we easily perceive in others but cannot always see within ourselves.
It is our job to allow God to work through us to ensure those prayers are answered.
Doing our part, that’s what it all boils down to, or as Jesus taught, being fishers of men. That certainly starts with prayer.
With action put behind those prayers that will be carried out day after day, imagine what good can come.
Yes prayer is powerful, and those who offer them priceless.