Instead of turning things over in your mind today, turn them over to God in prayer, said Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch. God is always listening.
“Pray for America” was the theme of the National Day of Prayer and it was celebrated Thursday in Gainesville with an early morning breakfast and a noon event in the downtown square.
The breakfast was hosted by The Fishermen, a group of Hall County Christian businessmen. The lunchtime event was run for the first time by members of the Hall County Prayer Network.
Local and state leaders, including Gov. Nathan Deal and Couch, spoke to a packed room at the city’s civic center.
“We are taught that we are to pray for our leaders,” Deal said. “Because when you pray for your leaders, you pray for them to have wisdom and to have judgment because that’s really what the crux of government is about.”'
The keynote speaker was Robert Myers, president of Toccoa Falls College. Myers said the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation and showed an audio and video slideshow of several past presidents praying for the country and American soldiers and discussing prayer.
“So, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer,” former President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his radio address on D-Day in 1944. “Almighty God, our sons, pride of our nation, have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our republic, our religion and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.”
Many at the event applauded when Myers played a clip of former President Ronald Reagan talking about the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects religious freedom.
“The First Amendment was not written to protect people and their laws from religious values,” Reagan said in the video. “It was written to protect those values from government tyranny.”
Myers then showed a clip of President Barack Obama where he says that America is not just a Christian nation, but full of many other religions as well.
“I’ve said before that one of the great strengths of the U.S. is, although we have a very large Christian population, we don’t consider ourselves a Christian nation or Jewish nation or a Muslim nation,” Obama said. “We consider ourselves a nation of citizens.”
Myers said that while that is “technically” true, this is a shift from a Christian base to a religious plurality. He used an analogy of a train to make a point that some secular world views lead to destinations including abortion, sexual immorality, homosexuality and atheism.
“It doesn’t matter where it’s going, right?” he asked. “Wrong. The destination of any world view, the logical conclusion of that world view is vitally important.”
More than 50 people gathered in the Gainesville square at noon to continue the prayers and fellowship. In the lightly sprinkling rain, participants sung hymns and prayed at seven centers on influence, including government, church, family, media and business.
Fishermen Chairman Brad Farrow said he liked the new approach of making prayer rotations.
“I think it’s really neat,” he said. “We’ve had rain a couple of times and we’ve always had a good turnout.”
One newcomer was Beth Oropeza, who was invited by some Hispanic friends. She said she prayed for a revival of churches in the country.
“I hope God answers our prayers,” she said.
“I think people are really concerned for their nation,” Farrow said. “So that’s why they’re here to pray.”