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Residents participate in prayer observance

May 05, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

About 30 people gathered in prayer and song Thursday in front of the Washington County Courthouse in observance of the National Day of Prayer.

New Hope Alliance Pastor Todd Stroud played the guitar and led the group in songs, accompanied at times by three of his young daughters.

"We're emotional creatures, and our flesh fights against going into the presence of God ... When we sing to Him, it helps Him become more real to us," Stroud said after the observance.

Many of the prayers were directed at joining the community's churches and asking God to guide elected officials - from the Hagerstown City Council to President Bush - to make the right decisions.


Kathy Horst, 38, a member of Bethel Assembly of God in Hagerstown, attended the ceremony because, she said, "I wanted to see our community come together as one body because we are one body in Christ."

John Miller, pastor at Faith Christian Fellowship in Hagerstown, organized the event, which featured 10 pastors. He said that the courthouse was selected for the observance because it is in a central location.

According to a National Day of Prayer handout, the goal of the gatherings - 50,000 of which were planned throughout the country Thursday - was "not to make a hypocritical show as those who 'pray on the street corners,' but to take a prayerful and public stand for God and our need for prayer."

The National Day of Prayer was established in 1952, according to the handout.

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