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Believers in the power of prayer gather at state capitols for annual rite

Lisa Hall, center, of Holly Springs, N.C. prays at the National Day of Prayer gathering in Raleigh, N.C., on May 4, 2017. RNS photo by Yonat Shimron

RALEIGH, N.C. (RNS) While President Trump used the National Day of Prayer to issue an executive order on religious liberty and huddle with religious leaders, ordinary Christians gathered outside state capitols, churches and civic venues for a more familiar rite.

It included appeals for forgiveness, calls for healing, a recommitment to faith and, generally, lots and lots of prayer.

The 70-minute service on the lawn behind the state Legislature in Raleigh drew a few hundred Christians. They clustered before a worship band that played familiar contemporary Christian songs: “Lord, I Hear You” and “10,000 Reasons.” On three occasions they locked hands to pray in small circles and then bowed their heads again as a dozen state legislators and Christian clergy took turns offering prayers from the podium.

“I’m a believer in the power of prayer,” Lisa Hall of Holly Springs said at the conclusion of the service. “God wants his people to come before him to pray for our nation. This is one of the few times we can come together across denominations and races. It’s a beautiful thing.”

In Washington, it was a highly partisan day with the vote in the House of Representatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

But there was very little politics at the Raleigh event and no mention of the president by name or of specific political platforms.

Legislators and clergy used sectarian Christian language throughout:

  • “Remind us that you are the way, the truth and the light,” said state Rep. Rena Turner.
  • “Thank you for what you did on Calvary’s cross over 2,000 years ago,” said state Rep. Garland Pierce.
  • “We know we are made whole by the blood of the Lamb,” said the Rev. Dumas Harshaw of First Baptist Church on Wilmington Street in Raleigh.

At an evening event in Washington, Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of the Rev. Billy Graham, was expected to lead prayers at an event in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.

Elsewhere, the American Humanist Association and other secular allies celebrated a day of reason where they rallied  for the separation of church and state.

About the author

Yonat Shimron

Yonat Shimron is an RNS National Reporter and Senior Editor.

8 Comments

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  • Based on the executive order Trump signed today, most of the prayers went unanswered.

  • Dondo is everywhere, man!
    He’s in everything
    He’s in everybody
    Dondo is in your jeans

    He’s in your cheeseburgers
    Dondo is in Nutty Buddies!
    Dondo is in your Mom
    He’s in everybody

    He’s in the young, the old
    The fat, the skinny
    The white, the black
    The brown and the blue
    People got Dondo in ’em too

    Thanks to the vulgar stupidity of filthy dirty and profane intellectuals, political, economic, and religious thought isn’t complex. If your savior isn’t a libertarian, GO F YOURSELF!

    Experience DONDOISM

    The First Church of Dondo

  • Perverse Robin Hood is God, Country Dick is our Prophet, Dondo Stump is our savior, nirvana is NBAutopia, the moon is made of ice, an obelisk is an egg timer, and the NBA twist is Jesus’s idea.

    Join us on kamikaze day

    Two teams of two on top of upside down sunfish sailboat or equal. One team in the middle with their backs to one another. The other team on the each end. The high priest screams DONDO! The last team on the sailboat wins. Best of 21.

  • Yes! Everyone pray! God has made some mistakes that his creation need to point out to Him to correct in His divine plan. To paraphrase George Carlin “what’s the use of having a divine plan if any schmuck with a fifty cent prayer book can mess it up?”

  • Wow, “Reason Over Religion”…I’m always in awe when I hear from any given human being/beings who knows EVERYTHING!! And you know this how, exactly? I await your reply.

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