Members of the community including pastors from several of the churches in the California Ministerial Alliance came together for the observance of the Annual National Day of Prayer held Thursday, May 3, at the Moniteau County Courthouse.
The event began with the California VFW presenting the colors which was followed by the National Anthem led by California First Baptist Church Music Minister Rev. Timothy Burgher. Rev. Frank Hensley, pastor of New Life Christian Center, welcomed those in attendance and read the 2012 Day of Prayer Task Force Theme and Scripture. Rev. Kyle Ward, youth pastor at California FBC who is also currently serving as a chaplain in the U.S. Army National Guard, gave a soldier's address. Burgher also led the group in singing "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory," "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America" which closed the event. Members from each of the churches represented took turns praying over the city, county, state and nation.
"In order to humble ourselves before God and pray," Hensley said, "we have to do it publicly. If we cannot do it in public, it makes it less real. God knows each and every one of our personal hearts, but to do it together means something. Jesus said in Matthew 18:19, "if two or more agree, anything they ask it shall be done. And then in James 5:16 it says in the Amplified Bible the effectual fervent prayers of the righteous makes tremendous power available. So our righteousness comes from that gift of Christ alone. And our fervency comes from all of the things we want God to do in our country. All of the things we see where we have gone wrong and we take personal responsibility and come publicly together like this and take responsibility for our nation."
Hensley added they are not pointing fingers at anyone or any group but instead are taking responsibility in allowing every wrong in the nation.
"Especially for us with our Christian roots being so strong," Hensley said, "and our Judeo-Christian heritage being so evident we have to take responsibility for these things. If anything goes awry it began in the church because it was the Christians and churches which started this nation. From the pilgrims and puritans right to our founding forefathers. They were not religionists, they were Christians following the God of the Bible. All of this is in the backs of our minds to this day. We have to humble ourselves and come together and take responsibility ourselves for what has happened and pray for change. We believe that God has already sent spiritual awakenings in America in the past and believe He is going to do it again."
Hensley said it was relatively easy getting those in community to come to pray because as he put it, "they want to pray, both privately and publicly."
Knowing there are millions of others coming together like the group in California is something which gives Hensley great hope and is amazing to think about. Seeing those in the community reach across denominational lines is great both during events like the National Day of Prayer and also for Hensley as he works with the other pastors in the Ministerial Alliance.
"The Ministerial Alliance is a group of people who enjoy working together," Hensley said. "We laugh and worship together whether it is spreading the Word through the Pastor's Columns in the California Democrat or the devotions on KRLL or it is helping feed the hungry or providing emergency assistance to the needy. These are the things we meet and talk about monthly and pray over and actually do day by day here in our community. So we lift each other up, our fellow workers and pastors. It is a great community to work in, it really is."
This is the third year the community has come together to observe the National Day of Prayer which has been held annually for the past 61 years. National days of prayers have been called in the United States since 1775 when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming the nation. Hensley said the National Day of Prayer held every first Thursday in May is about people coming together across communities and the nation.
"It is all about the people who come and are from a cross section of our communities," Hensley said. "This is the third year and we have seen some of the same faces come out to the county courthouse again and we have seen a few new faces this year. It is good to know the word is getting out and people are excited about it. We appreciate everyone who comes out and welcome those who would like to come out next year. We are looking forward to it growing in the future."
For more great stories check out the May 9 issue of the California Democrat.