National Day of Prayer: ’Hear Us … Forgive Us … Heal Us’

Shawn Hardy
About 70 people gathered at First United Methodist Church of Greencastle on Thursday, May 4, for a National Day of Prayer service. A group later met to pray outside Greencastle Borough Hall. For video, visit echo-pilot.com.

Community members of all ages came together Thursday morning for a National Day of Prayer service with the theme “For Your Great Name’s Sake! Hear Us … Forgive Us … Heal Us” based on Daniel 19:9. It was co-sponsored by the Greencastle-Antrim Women’s Fellowship and the Greencastle-Antrim Ministerium.

About 70 people attended the service in First United Methodist Church, which included prayers in the categories government, business, churches, families, the education system and the military. An observance was then then held across the street outside Greencastle Borough Hall, where the Rev. David Rawley said he is “grateful for the freedom to pray in public.”

Ben Thomas Jr., candidate for mayor of Greencastle with a long career of public service, talked about what an awesome responsibility government is on the local, state and national level.

A chorus of amens greeted his statement “I believe we need a spiritual revival.”

“My prayer is for government, but it is up to us and our God to have a spiritual revival,” he said.

Susan Shaffer, owner of Joyful Arts Studio, represented businesses.

“God blesses me every day. My cup is filled,” said Shaffer. “For the first time in my life I really believe I am fulfilling God’s purpose for me.”

Shaffer provided numerous business lessons from the Scriptures such as “to have a successful business you must trust in the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:1-13) and “there is no such thing as luck, only blessings sent from God” (Isaiah 45:3).

Brenda Clark, who became pastor of Grace United Church of Christ in January, prayed for the many churches in the Greencastle-Antrim Area to “work together to make this a better place filled with Your love, Your grace.”

She prayed that churches not focus on their theological differences, but concentrate on the one thing they have in common — Jesus Christ.

Abby Lance talked about the many kinds of families — two parent, single parent, grandparents, same sex.

Her own family is a “kind of special family” that includes husband, Josh, youth pastor at Otterbein United Brethren Church, and children Zion, Saffron and Evelyn. Evelyn, who has Edwards syndrome, underwent open heart surgery at birth. She was nearly 2 before she came home, has a tracheotomy and is on a ventilator.

“She was never supposed to make it into the world, but now she’s almost 3,” said her mother, who prayed to God that all kinds of families “seek the life of more You.”

Greencastle-Antrim Middle School Principal Mark Herman said, “We’ve been entrusted with a beautiful, wonderful creation from God.”

He talked about the challenges young people face and said, “We need to be on our knees daily praying for children and those who work with them.”

He drew gasps from the audience as he shared statistics:

90 percent of teens say they carry emotional scars

66 percent of teens say that they feel no one knows them for who they really are

1 out of 2 teens say that they have personally struggled with mental illness

51 percent of teens are afraid to talk with their parents about problems

34 births per 1,000 women are from females ages 15-19

91 percent of teens have been victims of bullying

64 percent of teens say that they have used prescription painkillers that were not prescribed to them

71 percent of teens use alcohol

1 in 200 girls between the ages of 13 and 19 cut themselves regularly to dull the pain of life

Every day in the US, among students in grades 7-12, there are 5,240 teens who attempt suicide

Behind those statistics, he said kids are looking for:

Value

To be known

Truth

Unconditional love and acceptance

Relationship

Safety

Freedom

Voice

Life

Hope

Joy

Purpose

“Join me in praying for schools and kids, not just here, but every day,” Herman continued.

Ted Larew,who spent 30 years in the Army, talked about the camaraderie of working with soldiers.

“I loved being with soldiers, taking care of them and making sure they were ready for war and taking care of their families,” Larew said.

He thanked God for the “men and women who protect our nation today and the veterans who protected us in the past.”