Prayers were lifted for the city of Winchester, local and federal governments and those serving in the military Thursday afternoon as citizens gathered at the Clark County Courthouse to celebrate the annual National Day of Prayer.
The Rev. Pat Finley led the service, calling on community members to remember the role of prayer in the founding of the nation.
“The call to prayer has been throughout our history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation in 1863 for a day of, quote, ‘humiliation, fasting and prayer,’” Finley said.
After reading 2 Chronicles 7:12-14, he prayed, thanking God for the privilege of being able to pray in a public place, and asking forgiveness of sins.
“I pray that you would heal our land, and ... that you would turn our hearts back to you. God, send revival,” Finley said.
The Rev. Todd Rader spoke about the biblical mandate for prayer, reading from 1 Timothy 2.
“The first thing the church ought to be doing is praying. ... You can see the sense of urgency the apostle Paul had. Do we have that urgency today, church?” Rader said.
He called prayer a responsibility, and told audience members to pray for everyone, including those in leadership.
“It is so easy to be critical of our leaders, but how often are we praying for them?” Rader asked.
1 Timothy 2:2 calls on people to pray “for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Rader praised the community for hosting events like the prayer service, and the carrying of the cross on Main Street on Good Friday.
“We are to be a praying people, praying for our community, praying for our leaders,”¿Rader said.
His prayer focused on the state of the nation, asking God to intervene and help leaders make wise decisions.
“We pray on behalf of our leaders, those who have been chosen, those you have appointed and those we have elected,” Rader said.
The Rev. Matt Steel encouraged community members to reevaluate their priorities, and avoid seeking fulfillment from money and material gain.
“Happiness belongs to us. We can possess happiness, and I ask you, are you happy?” Steel said.
Being happy, he said, is a choice, and everyone can be happy with faith in God.
“It’s (happiness) found in appreciating what God has done for us,” Steel said.
Audience members also were given the opportunity to pray together in small groups before the Rev. Winford C. Smith gave the final prayer.
“You’ve been good to us, Father. You’ve brought us a mighty long way. ... Without you we cannot do anything,” Smith said.
Contact Rachel Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter, @ParsonsRachel.