Victorians gather for National Day of Prayer

Jennifer Lee Preyss By Jennifer Lee Preyss

May 5, 2011 at 12:05 a.m.

From left, Jolyn Baird and Barbara Brooks rise to sing "God Bless America" during the National Day of Prayer ceremony in DeLeon Plaza on Thursday.

From left, Jolyn Baird and Barbara Brooks rise to sing "God Bless America" during the National Day of Prayer ceremony in DeLeon Plaza on Thursday.

As a temperate May breeze blew through De Leon Plaza shade trees, Pam Herrmann sat comfortably in a folding lawn chair and lowered her head to pray.

Amid a sizable crowd who also gathered in the square to observe the 60th annual National Day of Prayer on Thursday, Herrmann helped pray for the United States government, the media, education, families and Christian churches. Expressing the importance of participating in a nationwide effort that spiritually uplifts its leaders and citizens, she said, "I have come to this for many, many, many years. I'm a born-again believer, and I know prayer is very important."

Herrmann has participated in Victoria's local prayer observance for about 15 years, and enjoys knowing her prayers are not only offered among community members, but also her countrymen nationwide.

"It's good to have people praying all over the country," she said.

Another attendee of the prayer service, James Andres, said, "We need to pray for our nation, our families and our values. The more people you gather together to pray, the more things could change."

Behind a wooden lectern in the gazebo, the event's organizer Raymond Smith welcomed attendees, including Master of Ceremonies Gerry Wyant, who introduced keynote speaker Kelly Stotler and prayer leaders, the Revs. Kevin Van Hook, Steve Taylor, Joe Crisp, Les Cole and Greg Korenek.

Smith also encouraged guests to remember their freedoms to stand openly in public and pray to God.

Before prayers were uttered, the Victoria Veterans Council presented the colors, which was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, Stotler's message and the singing of "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," performed by Dennis Turpin.

"Why should we pray? Because God told us to," Stotler emphatically stated, explaining the importance of gathering together to pray for the nation and its churches. God "would tell us to pray for your leaders because he has put them in authority over you."

Following Stotler's message, Van Hook, of St. Peter's Baptist Church, led a prayer for the government; Taylor, of New Revelation Ministries, led a prayer for the media; Crisp, DeTar Hospital chaplain, led a prayer for the Christian church; Cole, of Lifepointe Fellowship, led a prayer for education; and Korenek, of Holy Family Catholic Church, led a prayer for families.

At the close of the service, Wyant challenged prayer service attendees to continue praying for the nation and cling to God's divine calling. Offering a quote from Salvation Army founder William Booth, he said, "Not called, did you say? Not heard the call, I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go ... Then look Christ in the face, whose mercy you have professed to obey, and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body ..."



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