Thursday, May 7, 2009

National Day of Prayer, hometown style

My mom and I attended a small gathering at our City Hall today for National Day of Prayer. We live in a very tiny town, and it was put together somewhat at the last minute, so there were only about 15 people there…but what a great experience! A local pastor officiated, and it was especially appropriate because he is also the chaplain for the City (EMS).

It was a simple, beautiful 20 minute lunch time activity. The mayor introduced the idea and welcomed everyone, and then the Pastor asked each of us to share a concern that we had, something that we would like to pray for in our country. The answers were all very good. Integrity, honesty, morality, respect, family, the concern for those who are out of work, government decisions, to name a few.

The pastor then prayed for us. It was simple and heartfelt, and he included each of the points that we had shared. How he remembered them all, I don’t know! He was compassionate and loving in his prayer, which included both requests for divine guidance and blessings, as well as prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving. It was also instructional to each of us in attendance, who came out of the room with a deep respect for those leading our country, our states, our towns, and for those providing necessary services that we sometimes take for granted.

I was especially touched by his blessing for those who are not finding work. I was an early casualty of the economy. I have been out of work for 8 months, with no light at the end of the tunnel. I had worked at my job for 24 years…literally all of my adult life. I am now in a position where I need to reinvent myself to survive in this economy, and it has not been easy. Pastor blessed us with self-esteem. How intuitive! That is the first thing that is compromised in this situation. No matter what the rest of the country looks like, you still blame yourself for being a failure when you are unable to find work to take care of your family.

It was an odd mix of people. Some I knew, others were unfamiliar. Some were City employees, but others were members of the community such as Mom and me. We were from all different faiths, and for all I know, there might have been some there that didn’t have a church home. Yet we all came together for the good of the many, to take time to thank God for all that we have, and pray for those who need Him right now.

I was especially pleased that our Mayor took interest and lead the gathering. What great courage it takes to make a stand when you are in an elected position. He was gracious and eager to head this event, and hoped for a larger future response. I would have welcomed other prayers there as well; we were well represented as Christians, but to join with and hear the prayers of other groups would have been thrilling.

I read about the “Meet at City Hall” idea in a newsletter that I get from a political website, and passed it on to friends at City Hall to see if we might be able to do this here. Within hours, they had taken it to the woman with pull who made it happen, with the support of the mayor. Sometimes, you have but to ask!

I hope that you had a chance to participate in the National Day of Prayer in some way. If not, it’s not too late! As a friend told me once recently, “God has no limits.” We can pray anytime, anywhere and He wants to hear from us. Don’t miss the chance to pray for this great nation that we live in!

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