LAURINBURG — Ordained ministers and lay leaders alike offered prayers for remedy to the social ills prevalent both in Scotland County and further abroad during two National Day of Prayer observances on Thursday.
Neither electric failure nor minor weather event brought a premature end to a gathering of 100 at the Scotland County Courthouse, where the strains of “American Christian” and “God Bless America” wafted overhead on vocal power alone.
“We even thank you for the rain, because it is a reminder to us God that you are still in charge,” the Rev. Darrel Gibson of Nazareth Missionary Baptist Church intoned during a brief spring shower.
Ministers from churches throughout the county offered prayers of repentance and unity, as well as targeted appeals for families, military members, the elderly, and a purge of corruption from all levels of government.
The Rev. Vermel Taylor of Galilee United Methodist Church prayed for the youth of Scotland County, also requesting forgiveness for the failings of adults who have led them astray.
“We have not trained our children up in the way that they should go; we have not lived a life before you as an example to keep,” she said.
“Be with our children everywhere: in the classrooms, in the daycare, on the school bus, as they walk the street God, some walk the streets at night with guns and knives. We pray that you will bring an end to this violence.”
In a prayer for churches, the Rev. Linda Nelson charged the faithful to strive to be “1 Corinthians 13 people” who accept the self-effacing nature of love.
“Help us dear Lord with the presence of the Holy Spirit, to show your fruit that we might be people of love and joy and peace,” she said. “Give us patience and perseverance Lord, because we hear the voices of threats and violence. Help us be loving and forgiving, the way the people of Mother Emmanuel in Charleston were.”
In a companion event held an hour later, 50 people assembled on the hill behind First United Methodist Church to pursue “open hearts, open minds, open doors.”
“Friends, in my estimate, in this day and age we cannot have too much prayer,” FUMC pastor the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Jeffries greeted the crowd.
Jeffries referred to Luke 11:13 in an exhortation to pray — and not only for an hour or two as an annual event.
“Jesus is teaching his disciples about prayer, and he says how much more will the father give the spirit to those who ask?” said Jeffries. “Here in Laurinburg, here in Scotland County we need more power given to the spirit: on our behalf, on behalf of our churches, on behalf of our state, our nation, our government leaders, our first responders, our educators.”
Sheriff Ralph Kersey offered a prayer for public servants, while UNCP mass communication professor Judy Curtis led a prayer to end the portrayal of vice in popular culture.
With an allusion to Proverbs 3:9-10 — “Honor the Lord with your wealth, then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats bursting with wine.” — Jack Ficklin put the power of prayer to work for the county’s economy and greater opportunities for its youth.
He also suggested that Christian standards be upheld in all aspects of life.
“I pray that we would become a community of faith, that our rules, conduct, and attitude would not be decided by our activities, that they would be the same for work, for school, for church, or leisure, that we would have only one guiding light, only one principle, and only one standard: your son Jesus Christ.”
A final prayer for revival offered by FUMC Christian education coordinator Rhonda Divine went in the hope of addressing all manner of evils.
“I was praying for so many things and God said your prayers are too small… if you would pray for revival for this nation, then my spirit would cover it and I would draw all in to me, it would cover so many of the things you’re praying for: loved ones and the condition of our nation.”
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.