"When we embark on a new year and we have huge challenges, the first thing we better do is stop and reflect and pray," Burtner said.
Joe Price led the prayer for the military personnel, asking not only for their protection, but also that they would seek a personal relationship with God. Price cited Psalms 121:7-8, "The Lord will keep you from all harm," to remind soldiers and their families that God is looking over them.
"As a Vietnam-era veteran, I know the importance of prayer. I praise and thank God for his protection. I consider it an honor and a privilege to lift up our military personnel in prayer today," Price said.
Gary Brown spoke about the role of the clergy and encouraged them to incorporate their faith in God into all parts of their lives, cautioning against "compartmentalizing" faith.
"We as clergy have to be conscientious not to compartmentalize. My prayer today for the clergy of the community, and myselfâ?¦ and all the men and women of faith, let's not compartmentalize our faith. We (should) make faith the first principal," Brown said.
The prayer for civil service workers, led by Lenny Marr, pointed to the importance of staying strong in the face of adversity. Marr quoted to Isaiah 40:31, "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles," and advised workers to lean on their faith during trying times.
"The beginning of each new year is a time of crisisâ?¦ As people of faith, we are always to look forward," Marr said. "It (civil service) is a thankless job many, many times, but as people of faith, we cannot give up," Marr said.
David Douglas prayed for elected and appointed officials, citing such prayer as a biblical mandate.
"The Scripture tells us to pray for those in authorityâ?¦ We need to uplift those in positions of authority," Douglas said. He asked the community to join him in prayer for "truth, integrity, diligence, humility, the right dispensation of authority and restoration of the Christian faith."
Volunteers were the last group to be recognized. Dale Hanson, director of the People Helping People building, where the prayer service was held, spoke about the work volunteers have done in Clark County, and the work that is left to be done.
"I join Mayor Burtner in applauding Operation Happiness and other volunteer eventsâ?¦ Praise God, but so much more could be done," Hanson said.
Hanson prayed that more people would feel led to donate their time and energy to community projects and commended the local ministers for their ability to work together for good in the community.
Burtner said he was pleased with the way the public has supported the event and is hopeful that it will continue in years to come.
"There is a feeling on the part of those that attend that it's important to pray publicly and begin all new endeavors with an expression of faith," Burtner said. "We'll do it as long as I'm in office."
Contact Rachel Parsons at email@example.com.