Followers of Jesus Christ pray for Rolla, Missouri, USA and the world
Putting aside any differences in doctrine, followers of Jesus Christ from various denominations met Thursday night for the Community Prayer and Praise Service, part of the National Day of Prayer observance.
“What a joy to come together as one,” said Mark Johnson, chairman of the Rolla National Day of Prayer Committee.
Later in the service, the Reverend Danny Kemp, pastor of Calvary Assembly of God, said the various churches could come together in worship and prayer because “We all love Jesus.”
The annual day of prayer opened with the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast; about 300 people attended that gathering, speakers noted Thursday night in the service hosted by First Baptist Church.
“We care about our nation, community and world,” Johnson said in his welcoming remarks. “We stand in the need of prayer.”
Johnson then led the congregation in pledges of allegiance to the U.S. flag and to the Christian flag.
The congregation joined the choir in singing “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” accompanied by piano and drums.
The rest of the program was given over to various people offering prayers for specific groups or institutions, more singing and two speakers.
Although the prayers were clearly written out ahead of time, the prayers were far from formal. They were emotional, full of praise, gratitude, adoration for the Savior, confession of sin and acknowledgment of need for redemption.
Speaking to the One Great God Almighty as if He were seated in the church auditorium with them, the individuals offering the prayers asked for guidance and direction for individuals, the community of believers, the community at large, the state, nation and globe.
“We call evil good and good evil,” Sandra Durrick said in her prayer. “We pray for the church to return to God with our whole heart.”
She asked for spiritual revival in Rolla.
“We need restoration, we need salvation, we need deliverance,’ she said, noting that Rolla has additions to drugs, alcohol and pornography. Deliverance from these addictions “can only happen with your power released in us.”
Durrick said, “Lord, we declare your works are good ... We declare you God over this city.”
Offering a prayer for children and youth and their education, Jeremy Jamison began personally, thanking the Lord for his parents who valued education, for his job as a teacher and for his colleagues in education.
“It is a great thing to call you Lord,” he prayed, and he asked that God renew the hearts of all teachers that they might have satisfaction in their profession and the ability to guide children by example.
He called on God for help for the children in school. “Satan uses so many things in the children’s lives,” he noted, and those children need the help of God to battle apathy and other sins.
Elizabeth Smith, a member of the Rolla National Day of Prayer Committee, then took the pulpit to talk briefly about the history of the National Day of Prayer in Rolla and various prayer groups in Rolla.
The observance began in 1988 with a small group, she said, but it has grown to more than 300 at breakfast that morning. In addition to prayer breakfast and the community service, there are youth events and other prayer gatherings throughout the day.
“There is much corporate prayer and prayer outreach in Rolla,” Smith said, using the word corporate, not in its business meaning, but “of, relating to, or formed into a unified body of individuals,” as the dictionary defines it.
Churches are working together also for prayer outreach, as at the St. Pat’s Weekend where followers of Christ prayed with students, some of whom were hard-hearted but curious. More than 100 requests for prayer were received at the prayer tent that weekend, Smith said.
In the area of prayer, “God has brought unity in the body of Christ,” she said.
Smith said Rolla believers must continue to pray for “the battle is not over.” She stressed that “We must know His Word.”
She said knowing what God has done, “standing” on what he has done and “recounting” the works of the Lord are important.
“The Lord is Rolla’s keeper,” she said, after quoting Psalm 20:7—”Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God”—”The Lord will keep you from all evil, and that’s our prayer for Rolla.”
The choir and congregation sang “America the Beautiful.” Kathy Mazzeo, who was leading the worship, encouraged the audience to pay attention to the words of the song. “It really is a prayer,” she said.
After that song, surgeon Dr. Larry Marti offered a prayer for healthcare and businesses.
“We ask for guidance and direction as we strive to provide for the welfare of all,” he prayed. “God grant us the competence, knowledge and wisdom to help people.”
Assistant Fire Chief Ron Smith, who also serves as pastor of the Rolla Apostolic Pentecostal Church said a prayer for the government, the military and first responders.
“This is truly one nation under God,” Smith said as he prayed for God’s blessings on lawmakers in the capitals of the country and the state, for county and city officials, for soldiers, firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical service workers.
In the prayer before the offering was collected, Johnson prayed to God, “You are the provider of every need.”
The choir sang “By Our Love” and then pastor Kemp prayed after thanking First Baptist Church and its pastor, the Rev. Bob Johnston, for use of the building.
Kemp offered a prayer for families and churches, and he opened his prayer personally, noting that he was blessed to grow up in a family where “mom loved dad, dad loved mom, mom and dad loved the boys and the boys loved mom and dad.” He thanked God for that gift. “Our house was full of love,” he said, and he prayed that all Christian families might exhibit that love for one another, too. He prayed that families that don’t know Christ would come to know and love the Savior.
Moreover, he said, “The hope for America is not in Jefferson City or Washington, D.C., the hope is in our churches.
Bryan Rush offered the prayer for the media, telling God, “We are your people ... simple, sinful ... We are vulnerable without you ... Give us strength to communicate what you would have communicated.”
The second speaker for the evening was Battalion Chaplain Pat Opp, who described himself as a basic training chaplain at Fort Leonard Wood.
“Let’s pray about it” is what he often tells the soldiers who come to him for counseling,
Opp said the three areas in which the soldiers need the most counseling are in spiritual guidance, anxiety and depression.
He said he uses I Peter 5:6-7 and Philippians 4:6-7 frequently.
“Stop worrying and pray about it,” is his message, felt so strongly that he had a sign made.
He brought it along to the service and held it aloft.
“Keep it simple, God’s people, let’s pray about it,” Opp said.
The evening service was wrapped up by Dr. Samuel Frimpong, a member of the Rolla National Day of Prayer Committee, who delivered what he described as God’s standard for prayer, along with its alignment and its deviation.
The standard is in II Chronicles 7:14: “If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.”
Being aligned to that standard means Christ followers must follow the example of II Chronicles 20, in which the people of Judah, faced with annihilation by Moab and Ammon, fasted and prayed and trusted God under the leadership of Jehoshaphat who told them, “Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever.”
Judah won that battle because the enemies turned and fought one another.
The danger is in deviating from the standard, which is what happened to Israel as recounted in Ezekiel 22. There was much sin in the land, and God “sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”
What followed was judgment: “Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God.”
Frimpong said, “Do we want the U.S. to be wholly devoted to God’s authority? Do we want Missouri, Phelps County, Rolla, to be wholly devoted to God?”
To achieve that will take much prayer, Frimpong said, “God needs men and women who are ready to stand in the gap” for America.
“Would that we all have a deep commitment to fast and pray,” he said.