BlessDurham gathering prays for city, nation on National Day of Prayer
BlessDurham and Durham Ministers In Prayer hosted a prayerful gathering Thursday at the Durham Armory to observe the National Day of Prayer.
Organizer Wendy Clark of BlessDurham said that her passion is “to bless our country and bless our city.”
The National Day of Prayer Task Force has encouraged local observances for more than 20 years. Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, has been chairwoman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force since 1991. This year’s honorary chairman was Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California. Previous honorary chairs have included Franklin Graham, Beth Moore, Max Lucado and Oliver North.
At the Durham Armory, tables were set up around the room with prayer topics displayed like youths, justice system, education, business, marriage and family, healthcare, churches and nonprofits, and under-resourced communities. Those sitting at each table spent time praying for their topics on a national and local level. Previous National Day of Prayer events in Durham have featured programs, but those who attend don’t get to actually talk, Clark said. “This way, people will participate and not be bystanders,” she said.
At a table with under-resourced communities as the topic, Ernie Mills, Chuck Reed, Mac Bare and Jim Hill gathered to pray. Mills is the co-founder of Durham Rescue Mission. Reed is an associate campus pastor of the Summit Church. Bare is pastor of Dayspring Christian Fellowship. Hill is a District Court judge. The men took turns in prayer.
Hill prayed that “we minister to those less fortunate than us,” and prayed that Christians would rise up and care for “the least of these” so there would be no need for social services.
Bare prayed in particular for fatherless children.
“Oh God, raise up fatherless children. Oh God, raise up your church. There’s no needier group of people than those under 18, 21 without a dad,” Bare prayed.
Reed prayed that they minister effectively in all communities, including those poor in resources as well as those who are rich financially but poor in love. He also prayed for single mothers and grandparents doing the best they can with the little they have.
“For these under-resourced communities, stretch your abundant hand,” Reed prayed to God. He also prayed they are given the Gospel that “Jesus Christ lives, Jesus Christ loves, Jesus Christ saves.”
Mills prayed for those in the community who are upside down on their mortgages, who were once middle class and bought their dream homes.
“They don’t know which end is up and are on the verge of becoming homeless,” Mills said. He also prayed for those who have lost full-time jobs and are having a hard time finding even part-time jobs. “We pray jobs can be created,” Mills said.
Around the room, men and women at each table sat with hands clasped and eyes closed, asking God to answer their prayers.
A second prayer time focused on table topics being prayed for at a local level. Mills, Reed, Hill and Bare prayed for the work of groups like BlessDurham, Durham Rescue Mission, Child Evangelism Fellowship, Bull City Ministries, Meet Me at the Bridge, Walltown Ministries, Habitat for Humanity and others who do hands-on work in Durham.
Ingrid Byker of BlessDurham then told those gathered a few ideas for creative ways to pray.
“One of the desires of BlessDurham is that everyone in Durham is prayed for by the body of Christ,” she said. Byker suggested that those who go on walks around their neighborhood pray for the homes and businesses they pass on their walks. For those who don’t walk, they can pray while they drive, she said. After praying together, the gathering ate lunch together.