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Local faithful gather for National Day of Prayer events
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Clyde Herman “Country” Smith, center right, prays with the Rev. Roger Bourgeois Thursday during the local National Day of Prayer on the downtown square. “I prayed about the church coming together no matter what color your skin is,” Smith said at the “Church” prayer station where Bourgeois was prayer leader. “Not just Hall County and Gainesville, anywhere,” Smith said. - photo by NAT GURLEY

Randall Whitfield had plenty of national concerns to pray over Thursday.

But on the National Day of Prayer, he also had one for himself: a new job.

The Gainesville man lost his position March 14, but not his faith. He joined dozens of believers on the Gainesville square seeking God’s guidance in the nation’s church, military, family, government, media, education and business affairs.

“Prayer helps your life,” Whitfield said. “Nowadays, it’s hard and you need something to help you with strength and just to get through life.”

Hall County Prayer helped organize the event, which featured groups rotating among “stations” where a designated person delivered a specific prayer.

Brandy Sandoval, the group’s president, said she believed it was important to hold the event because “our nation was founded in the Christian faith and we just uphold the foundations of our nation and give honor to God for our freedoms.”

Her husband, Greg Sandoval, opened the event by telling the crowd, “The real neat thing about this is ... we’re standing together as the body of Christ throughout this nation.

“Even our service people overseas realize the significance of what this day means, not only to our country but certainly for them.”

The Fishermen, a Hall County Christian businessmen’s organization, sponsored a prayer breakfast early Thursday at the Gainesville Civic Center, drawing a couple hundred people.

Emir Caner, president of Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, was the event’s featured speaker. He spoke about “praying for the next generation.”

“If you’re pessimistic about this generation, all you have to do is go about 20 miles north of here, to the foothills of the mountains, and worship (on Thursday mornings) with 700 to 800 students, whom God is raising up for the next generation,” Caner said.

“You’ll believe that revival is possible in our land.”

Caner also talked about how he became a Christian and then sharing that news in his Muslim household. His father, who was devout, disowned him.

“In the wave of all that comes the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ ... and it’s that picture that got me through those years,” he said.

The event featured several other speakers, including Sheriff Gerald Couch.

Brad Farrow, a member of The Fishermen who helped with the event, urged the group to “go about the day praying for our nation.”

“One prayer can change your life, but many prayers can change our nation,” he said.