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Church 'Leaves No One Out' for National Day of Prayer

Lacey United Methodist Church holds community service for the 61st annual commemoration

Prayers. Prayers for the president, the country, our leaders, the military, individuals, families, the weak, the hurt, the sick, the addicted and the poor. Prayers of love, hope, strength, deliverance, wisdom, forgiveness and peace.

The and several others prayed. And they prayed hard.

As you walked into the Lacey church on Thursday evening, there was more of a patriotic feel than that of the traditional service as "My Country, ‘Tis of Thee" bounced off the wooden walls — not your ordinary hymn during a service.

Sitting in the pews were approximately 25 individuals transfixed before the beauty of the altar with sheer curtains the color of the rainbow, candles shimmering and a spotlighted cross.

In the hustle and bustle of their average day, these locals came out to worship and pray. After all, it was a national holiday.

Many across the country came out Thursday in observance of the 61st annual National Day of Prayer.

The local Methodist church organized the community prayer service that was open to everyone and anyone. 

“The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage,” parish member Chip Marshall said after reading President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation appointing a National Fast Day in 1863. The proclamation states:

…We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness…

The hour-long church service was dedicated to remembering God by praying for the nation.

“The burden of leadership is something that carries a great deal of weight with it,” the Rev. Doug Rea said. “Why is prayer so important? The first thing is that it humbles us because we know that we have a dependence upon God.”

Rea drew from 1 Timothy 2:1-4 that called for prayers for everyone. “Leave no one out,” Rea said.

And they didn’t.

From when Columbus sailed the ocean blue to the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, “God has brought us through centuries of vision and faith that a people would not let go of,” Pastor Linda Applegate said.

Applegate prayed that, “The next part of history is here for our making.”

"God Bless America" and several hymns were sung and corporate prayers were said including one that allowed those attending to sporadically voice a petition.

“Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers,” the parish said collectively after each plea.

Sandy Stenstrom organized the community service because prayer is important, she said.

“There’s certainly a need for prayer,” Stenstrom said. “Prayer heals, it builds bridges and fosters love.”

Singing wholeheartedly with her hymnbook in hand, Dot Connolly later said, “I think we need to do a whole lot more of praying.”

The world is involved in too many wars and too many are getting killed, she said.

“We need peace. Our country’s going in the wrong direction and this is not what God wants,” she said.

But praying in the church and at home is where peace starts, she added.

“Anything that brings the community together in prayer and unity is where we need to be,” Applegate said.

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May. The holiday was made official in 1952 when President Harry S. Truman signed a joint resolution of the United States Congress into law.

According to the National Day of Prayer, a privately funded organization that encourages participation, the day calls for personal repentance and people of all faiths to pray for the nation. 

Linny May 04, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Even though I am a Catholic what a wonderful day this is!!! All of us need prayer in our lives.. it gets us through alot during our everyday lives.. I feel that if more people prayed this world would be a better place.. For God is all around us and He does listen.. This was very inspiring and hopefully more people will pray not only in May each year but each and every day of their lives if only for a moment..
Mattie May 04, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Here's an idea... instead of praying for our nation, how about we think, critically assess and evaluate our national laws, policies and cultural bigotries? How about we vote people into office who are willing to work FOR the PEOPLE - instead of their rich friends and influential corporations? How about we go back to being a nation that prides itself on ingenuity, manufacturing, medical advancements and technology? How about we join other countries around the world in green energy and cleaning up the Earth? How about a National / single payer health care system? How about restoring our personal freedoms and civil rights under the law? How about ending the useless and draining War on Drugs? How about we keep religion OUT of our government and schools and stop wasting time trying to insinuate it back in again? How about making higher education affordable to ALL? Prayers are one thing... if it makes you feel good, fine, But I think action speaks louder than words.
Steve May 04, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Here's an idea, why don't you leave people of faith alone. If they want to pray for the nation you should not crticize them. It's not just to make them feel good and you have no idea whether any of them are taking "action".
grace May 04, 2012 at 01:39 PM
thank you and god bless - who cant use prayers?
Helen May 04, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Without religion there would have been no free America that provides you the God given right to spew your hatred (& ignorance). Maybe a country that outlaws religion would be a better place for you to reside.
Helen May 04, 2012 at 02:18 PM
God Bless America. Pray for our country.
Mattie May 04, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Where do you see "hatred (& ignorance)" Helen? I don't hate anyone because of their religion - or lack of it. How about you? Apparently you can't say the same according the way you attacked me for my opinion. How "tolerant" of you.... Anyway, my point was, Prayers are fine. Be proud of your prayers. But prayers are not votes. Prayers don't change our government or laws. I don't think your God - or anyone's God - is sitting up in the sky worried about our governmental affairs and thinking about changing them FOR us. If prayer did these things, they would have been done a long long time ago, because prayer has been around for thousands of years, and it's never done the trick YET. I think most religious people would agree that God expects us to manage our own society / family / government / world. I'm just saying "Let's get to it!"
USConstitution May 05, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Faith is praying for change and believing it makes a difference no matter what someone else says. Thank you to UMC for holding this wonderful day!

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