United in prayer

Published 8:29 am Friday, May 8, 2009

FRANKLIN—The wet weather caused the event to be held inside this year, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the hundreds of believers who gathered at the National Guard Armory to pray Thursday night.

People from area Christian churches crowded in the gymnasium of the Armory building, singing, lifting their hands in supplication and listening as area church leaders led invocations on behalf of families, national, local and state leaders, educators and America’s armed forces.”

“There’s power in prayer,” said Patty Dillon to a chorus of amens. “You believe it, or you wouldn’t be here tonight. This is a powerful, powerful occasion.”

A national day of prayer — in its 58th celebration Thursday night — was established by President Harry Truman in 1952. President Ronald Reagan signed a resolution in 1988 to observe the day on the first Thursday in May each year.

The theme for this year’s rally was “Prayer… America’s Hope” — based on the verse from Psalm 33:22 which states: “May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”

Bishop Albert Evans, who gave the invocation and proclamation, preached unity and agreement between people.

“This day reminds us that prayer is America’s hope. Prayer is the lifeline,” he said.

At some points solemn, at others joyous, the celebration included a soft but powerful performance of “His Eye is on the Sparrow” by Yale Cummings and a flag ceremony by Boy Scout Troop 125 of Hunterdale.

William Handshaw and his wife, Phyllis, members of East End Church of God in Franklin, said they were thankful to come to the rally together.

“I worked shift work, so I was never able to come before,” he said.

“This just sounded great to me that we came together to pray,” Phyllis added.

The Rev. Chuck Worth, retired from the Navy, led the prayer on behalf of the armed forces. Before he did, though, he recognized members of the audience who spent time in the military.

“Thank you for your service,” he said, as they stood.