Hundreds pray for ‘new day’

Published 8:36 am Friday, May 7, 2010

FRANKLIN—About 300 people joined hands in prayer Thursday night to give thanks and to pray for the deliverance of a community reeling from job losses but optimistic about the future.

They were part of the 59th annual observance of the National Day of Prayer and Praise.

Attendees — young and old, black and white, and many either active or retired military — listened as local pastors and ministers led prayers intertwined with musical performances.

“It’s a beautiful night to come together and worship the Lord — and to pray for the new day of opportunity in Franklin, Southampton and Isle of Wight counties and in our nation,” said Pastor David Dillon of Rock Church of Franklin. “How many of you believe that the Lord has a plan for us? We’re out here at the football field and tonight we’re not going to be on the defense. We’re going on offense.”

Dillon’s wife, Patty, who is also a pastor at Rock Church, said participants were “gathered together here as one on that scriptural promise that when God’s people pray, heaven responds.”

“We believe that or you wouldn’t be out here sitting on these benches,” she said. “We believe in God to see this area blessed by His favor and the presence that He so wonderfully loves to shed upon His people.”

Many were moved by the prayers that went out to those with family and friends serving the nation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I’m here to pray and to be a good example for the young people here,” said Nancy Alstatt of Hunterdale, who sat near the top of the bleachers by several children. “That way they will understand the importance of prayer.”

Although Pat Murphy of Franklin was sitting near the bottom of the bleachers, she also had good reason to come out to pray.

“I’m here to show God that I can still pray and fight for what’s right,” Murphy said.