Around 40 people bowed their heads in prayer Thursday on the steps of Richmond Hill City Hall as local pastors led the group in the annual National Day of Prayer celebration.
Gary Soop, pastor of the Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church in Richmond Hill, said he believed Thursday’s was the largest he’d seen.
“This was the largest gathering for one of our prayer services that we’ve had and I’ve been here for eight years,” he said. “I don’t know if some of the recent events in our nation that have caused such pain and hardship have maybe hauled people together and realized the need for prayer for unity and peace.”
Richmond Hill Mayor Harold Fowler said it is important to observe National Day of Prayer because the country was founded on Christian principles.
“I think the problem we have in the nation today is that we don’t pray enough,” he said. “This country was founded on the principle of being a Christian nation, and I think we’ve gotten away from that and that’s part of the problems we’re having.”
The ceremony included readings from the Bible, including the books of Jeremiah, Luke, Micah, Psalms and Isaiah. Each verse read correlated with a prayer.
Prayers were lifted for the nation and proper use of wealth, along with prayers for President Barack Obama and his family, Vice President Joe Biden and his family and those who serve and govern the country.
State and local government representatives were also prayed for, as well as those in the country’s judicial branch.
Other prayers were said for the homeless, unemployed, sick, poor and neglected. Prayers were also said for the nation’s farmers and the gifts agriculture provides.
The group lifted the nation’s armed services and their families in prayer, as well as peace within the nation and among nations.
Soop said he was thankful to live in a community where people realize the need for prayer in the nation.
“I’m thankful that in Richmond Hill we can do this without any controversy or conflict. It’s a time that people of all religious faith are asked to join in heartfelt prayers in our nation and for God’s guidance,” he said.
Fowler echoed those comments.
“I think one of the great things about this community is that we are a Christian community and we do have people that believe in God and try to do what’s right,” he said.
National Day of Prayer was also celebrated in Pembroke by the North Bryan Ministerial Association on the lawn in front of the Bryan County Courthouse.
Started in 1952, National Day of Prayer is held annually on the first Thursday in May. For more information, visit www.nationaldayofprayer.org.