Hundreds gather on National Day of Prayer

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 3, 2008

FRANKLIN—Hundreds of people gathered at Armory Drive Stadium Thursday night to pray for their families, for their churches, for their communities and for their nation.

In an annual observance of the National Day of Prayer, members and clergy of 30 different area churches turned out for an evening of supplication and praise to God.

Participants shouted to the Lord in the stadium’s bleachers on Thursday, instead of shouting for their favorite teams, transforming the secular sports venue into a holy one where Christians of various denominations were united in prayer.

&uot;We have come tonight as our founding fathers proclaimed long ago,&uot; said the Rev. Robert Duck in his invocation for the two-hour service. He noted that the Continental Congress had called for a day of national prayer in 1776 and described similar calls throughout the nation’s history, culminating with the establishment in the 1950s of the National Day of Prayer.

&uot;The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,&uot; he said, quoting a portion of James 5:16.

The Rev. Tommy Speight offered a prayer on behalf of America’s leaders, noting that &uot;our forefathers set for us … a godly foundation&uot; that he begged God to restore during this election year.

Two speakers, including National Guardsman David Joncas, prayed for the members of America’s armed forces.

Joncas, who spent time in Iraq, told participants that nation had only four churches before American forces invaded 5 years ago. Today, that number has grown to 30, he said, though large gatherings of believers such as the one in Franklin Thursday night still &uot;would be subject to terror attacks.&uot;

The Rev. Willis Freeman prayed for Christ’s church in America and around the world, recognizing the clergy in attendance before he started his prayer. The Revs. Samuel and Margie Hall prayed for a strengthening of families in America.

Describing a litany of problems that schools and children face today, the Rev. Matthew Kidd criticized Christian churches for not fighting back against a Supreme Court ruling 45 years ago that resulted in organized prayer being banned from public schools.

&uot;We need to see a revival take place,&uot; he told the crowd. &uot;You educators, you be the light.&uot;