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Faithful gather downtown to offer prayer of hope

May 04, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

Jackie Fields turned the National Day of Prayer into a family affair Thursday afternoon in front of the Washington County Courthouse.

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"I thought it would be nice to attend with my two daughters," said Fields, who stood arm in arm with her grown children.

They were joined by about 30 others, some who had planned to attend and some who hadn't.

"I just thought it would be nice to worship with other people downtown," said Mary Perkins.

Some stopped on their way to or from lunch. Others lingered out of curiosity.

Believing that prayer is America's hope for the new millennium, Pastor John Miller of Faith Christian Fellowship led a series of prayers directed at those who govern, as well as the police, judges and all persecuted Christians. Prayers also were offered for unity among true believers.

"Every day is a day of prayer," Miller said. "But there is power in our praying together."

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The National Day of Prayer dates back to 1863 when it was established by President Abraham Lincoln.

In 1952, the U.S. Congress made it an annual event. In 1988, President Reagan designated the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer.

Melissa Miller sang a song of life's struggles and the joy of prayer. Some in the audience sang along while others closed their eyes.

In closing, Miller challenged everyone present to spread a spiritual revival across the land.

The peaceful show of prayer wasn't the only event in Washington County on the National Day of Prayer.

The Clear Spring Ministerium sponsored three prayer services Thursday - at 6:30 a.m. at St. Paul's UCC, at 7 a.m. at St. Andrew's Episcopal, and at 7:30 p.m. at St. John's UCC.

The all-day vigil ended at midnight at St. Peter's Lutheran Church.

The annual event was observed at the Kepler Auditorium at Hagerstown Community College beginning at 7 p.m.

David Swacina, CEO of Cedar Ridge Ministries, was the guest speaker.

Sponsored by the Greater Hagerstown National Day of Prayer committee, the seven members of this interdenominational group chose the theme Uniting Our Community in Prayer.

The evening of musical celebration and worship and prayer was designed for government, business and community leaders, pastors and congregations, youth, schools, families, law enforcement and the judicial system.

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