Saturday, May 1, 2004

Prayer day aims to help heal nation

Faith Matters

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

Prayer can make a difference for the nation.

That's the message that organizers of National Day of Prayer services across Greater Cincinnati hope people hear Thursday.

"It goes back to Scripture, Chronicles. If God's people pray, then he will hear and he will heal their land," said Carol Freas, the Hamilton County event coordinator for the day. "I believe the Lord is waiting for us to humble ourselves before him and pray."

The National Day of Prayer dates back to the Continental Congress. Later, Abraham Lincoln called for such a day, and it was formally established as an annual event in 1952 when Congress passed a joint resolution.

In 1988, Congress drafted legislation declaring the first Thursday in May as National Day of Prayer. Each year since, the president has made a declaration asking people to take time on that day to pray for the nation.

This year's theme, "Let Freedom Ring," also comes from Scripture, Leviticus 25:10: "Proclaim liberty throughout the land and to all its inhabitants."

This year people are asked to pray for five areas: government, including the military; media; education; church and family.

Many people in Greater Cincinnati will start their day at a breakfast service, including:

• The Lakota Prayer Breakfast 6:15 a.m. at Cornerstone United Methodist Church, 7600 Princeton-Glendale Road, West Chester. Reservations can be made at the West Chester Township office. Information: 777-5900.

• The Warren County Prayer Breakfast, 7 a.m. at Urbancrest Baptist Church, 2634 Drake Road, Lebanon.

• The Butler County Commissioners Prayer Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. at the Hamiltonian Hotel, 1 Riverfront Plaza, Hamilton. The event is sold out.

The day continues with a celebration in downtown Cincinnati from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the offices of Transformation Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, 901 Elm St. There will be a noon prayer service at the Hamilton County Courthouse, and a prayer walk begins at 1:30 p.m. at the World Peace Bell in Newport, ending at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

In Clermont County, there will be a noon prayer service at the Clermont County Courthouse in Batavia, but music and prayer begins at 10:30 a.m. At 7 p.m., there will be a prayer walk at Veterans Park in Union Township, where people will pray for the troops, the country and Pfc. Matt Maupin, 20, a Glen Este High School graduate who was captured by Iraqi insurgents April 9.

Many churches in the area will also host events, including the Erlanger Baptist Church, 116 Commonwealth Ave., with a noon service and lunch. Three New Burlington area churches will host a 7 p.m. service at the New Burlington Church of Christ at Hamilton Avenue and Struble Road.

"We hope people leave with an awareness of what we need to pray for in our community and our nation and that we can gather together and unite," said Margie Redford, a member of the volunteer committee that organized the New Burlington service.

ORGAN DEDICATED: The Sycamore Presbyterian Church will dedicate its new pipe organ and renovated sanctuary at its morning services at 9 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The church, 11800 Mason Road, began raising funds for the new Casavant organ in 1998.

HEALING SERVICE: Christ Church Cathedral will host an Evensong healing service at 5 p.m. Sunday. The service is open to the public at the cathedral, Fourth and Sycamore streets, downtown. For information, call 621-1817.

GOSPEL GRILLE: Charles Woolfork, a Stellar-award nominated artist, will perform at the Gospel Grille, 11473 Chester Road, Sharonville, 8 p.m. today. Admission, $15, includes appetizers. Information: 772-2249.

To submit religion news, e-mail or send a fax to 755-4150.

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