SIDNEY — Several leaders in the community gathered at courtsquare Thursday afternoon to cover Shelby County in prayer as part of the National Day of Prayer.
First established by Congress in 1952 and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman, the National Day of Prayer is held the first Thursday of May as a time to turn to God in prayer and meditation. The theme of the 2022 National Day of Prayer is “Exalt the Lord Who Has Established Us”.
The event at courtsquare was opened with words from Capt. Amanda Lockard from The Salvation Army, and proclamations were delivered by Shelby County Commissioner Tony Bornhorst and Sidney Mayor Mardie Milligan.
“The National Day of Prayer belongs to all Americans and is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning. It is a day that transcends differences, bringing together citizens from all backgrounds,” Bornhorst said.
“One of our nation’s greatest strengths is the freedom guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, including the freedom to freely express our faith,” Milligan said. “During this crucial time in our nation’s history, prayer is essential as we seek God’s divine intervention to the host of challenges that face us.”
Pastor Fred Gillenwater of Russell Road Church prayed over the Church, both locally and worldwide. Gillenwater expressed gratitude for all that God has done in everyone’s life and remarked on the Church of Jesus being the cornerstone, praying that pastors will be bold in their proclamation of the gospel, that souls across the nation and Shelby County be saved and that the Lord continue to speak to everyone.
“The church, the local church, is the hope of the world. I pray that people will come back to church that have stopped going to church. I pray that you would fill the churches, Father, in the name of Jesus,” Gillenwater said.
Praying over families was Jeff Banks from Wells Brothers. Banks asked God to grant wisdom and courage to all to swim against the current of time and prayed for the lives of children everywhere.
“We are here now, asking you Father for your blessings of love and protection for every family in Shelby County and this nation,” Banks said.
Todd Miller of Isaiah Industries prayed over business and industry across Shelby County. Miller remarked that God has given the businesses and industries in Shelby County a special place in the global marketplace and that products, friendships and services reach around the globe, allowing the spread of God’s good news across the world.
“My prayer is that the business and industry of Shelby County and surrounding areas will always be bold and strong in our witness for the gospel,” Miller said. “Lord, strengthen us when we grow tired and bless us with resolve and determination. Place your hand of protection over our workers, keeping them safe, strong, and clearheaded.”
Stefanie Hale, of Landings of Sidney, took a break from serenading the crowd to pray over healthcare and healthcare workers. Reflecting on the past two years of the Coronavirus pandemic, Hale remarked that despite all the changes and shifts — some good, some bad — God’s grace has remained steady and present through it all. She asked God to continue blessings over healthcare workers and everyone within the healthcare system that makes it function, and prayed for a strength and strong will through the struggle.
“I just pray, Lord, as we put one foot in front of the other, it’s with our sights still set on you. Help us to remember that you are the reason we do what we do, to keep your creations healthy and loved,” Hale said.
Fairlawn School’s Karen McRill took time to pray over teachers, students, and all those touched by education. She thanked God for giving everyone in the country an opportunity to learn no matter where they come from, and asked Him to give wisdom to government officials making decisions on education and guide them to the best decisions.
“Lord, most importantly, let all learners remember that the most important lessons we do remember we learned were at a young age: to treat others as you would have them treat you, to share with others, to forgive one another, to look for the positives in all situations, and to thank you for the blessings each day,” McRill said.
First Sgt. Mark Carlson of the National Guard extended his prayer over the military, both active duty service members and the veterans who have served. He expressed thanks for God’s will and protection and asked Him to grant wisdom to service members and leadership and the fortitude to fulfill values such as loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.
“With you, Lord, all things are possible, so please grant us your conviction and message to every soldier, sailor, marine, airmen and coast guardsman,” Carlson said. “Dear Lord, with true hearts we express our gratitude and love for the fallen, our love for those who gave their all. You know their sacrifices. Keep them safe with you, as we so wish to see them again.”
Sidney Code Enforcer Arthur Franklin prayed over the government, local and beyond, and remarked that he was serving notice to the devil that the spirit of confusion and greed would stop. He asked for God to touch the government and to help all trust in their leaders.
“We give you all the praise, God, for you alone are worthy to be praised. As a code enforcer (…) I serve notice to the devil that change will start today. We thank you for all the praise and we give you all the glory, God,” Franklin said.
Local Artist Mary Smith prayed over all art, media and entertainment, and remarked that the need to pray over it was for the process and the product, both of which are important facets because they change the outlook on people.
“When should we pray for the arts, media and entertainment? Always. As Christian parents, as Christian grandparents, as Christian friends, as Christian coworkers, as Christian brothers and sisters and as Christian citizens, we shall pray that we exalt the Lord, who established all the arts, all the media and all the entertainment,” Smith said.
Botkins Chief of Police Mark Jordan offered a prayer over all first responders, thanking God for first responders and asking Him to be with them through their service to keep the community safe.
“Lord, please give us strength and discernment to know how to respond to difficult situations, and Lord, please send us your angels to protect us. May we return safety to our families at the end of our shifts,” Jordan said.
Roger Lentz, retired USDA farm agent, prayed over agriculture and the farmers that inhabit Shelby County. He prayed for a fruitful harvest and asked for blessings for all those who work in the fields and with livestock.
“On this momentus day, this season of new life, we come before you as we return again to the land. May we always be faithful stewards in all that you have intrusted to us in life and land, family and friends, fellow workers and walkers on the pathway of life,” Lentz said.
The celebration closed with remarks from Marie Bell from Connection Point Church of God, who asked God to help all his children in avoiding complacency, compromise and compliance in sin and asked for continued wisdom and a return to Godliness.
“Sin is an affront to your goodness and mercy. Sin makes a mockery of your death on the cross, so we ask you, Holy Spirit, to help us, to check our hearts and minds, to convict us of sins and to cleanse us. Help us to trust in you and to walk the right way as we navigate in life in this chaotic time,” Bell said.
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