In front of the courthouse steps, believers held hands and bowed their heads as they sent prayers to heaven with others throughout the United States.
Community members came together Thursday to celebrate National Day of Prayer, an observance which invites people of all faiths to pray for the nation. The local ceremony was led by Eddie Barnes, a pastor at Clinton Community Church.
“I’m excited to have people to come out and unite in prayer again,” Barnes said. “It’s to focus on giving God glory.”
National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 through a joint resolution of the United States Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. The theme for 2017 is “For Your Great Name’s Sake! Hear Us … Forgive Us … Heal Us!” and is inspired by Daniel 9:19, which reads “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen and do; defer not, for your own sake, O my God: for your city and your people are called by your name.”
While speaking about 2017’s theme, Barnes spoke about a new presidential administration and a divided nation. Sometimes, he said it’s hard to watch the news. He related the matter to scripture in Daniel 9:19. He later mentioned the importance of people coming together to pray and solve issues, regardless of their church denomination or race.
“The way that we change that is by being the people who God meant us to be,” Barnes said.
Although National Day of Prayer is a special occasion, Barnes mentioned how people should come together all the time. He also believes people the nation as a whole should repent for its sins.
“We may not partake in it, but we are its people,” he said. “Daniel didn’t partake in the sinful things, but it was his nation and his people. And he repented for his nation.”
Margaret Jackson said it was an awesome event and like others, she believes it was necessary.
“Our country needs prayer,” Jackson said. “It’s awesome that we come together and pray. Prayer is our weapon (to combat problems) and God is going to take care of us. I’m glad to be a part of it this year and plan to do so for all the years to come.”
Like Jackson, Polly Coffey said it was a good time for people to unite.
“I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “We all need to be together and coming together for prayer is perfect. The louder we pray, the louder we’ll be heard.”
A proclamation from Clinton Mayor Lew Starling was also read to the crowd. It read that National Day of Prayer was an opportunity for Americans of all faiths to join and unite in prayer. He urged all citizens to observe the day.
After the introductions, local pastors an church representatives led prayers in small groups. Together, everyone prayed for different sections of America to do their best for the greater good. Some of them included government, military, media, entertainment, businesses, education and religion, healthcare and prisons. Hymns were also sung together.
The Rev. Thaddeus Godwin said it’s a good time to prayer, but he believes other religious leaders should encourage others congregations to attend.
“The unity is what I love,” he said about those praying for families, churches and leaders to come as one. “When we’re praying for those things, we’re praying for God to lead us and guide us together for his strength and his wisdom. We know that it takes prayer to do that.”