Crowd gathers for annual prayer event

Published 6:00 pm Thursday, May 1, 2014


When the clouds parted and the sun finally warmed up Thursday’s chilly morning air, the sunshine found a group gathered in prayer on the Court Square in Andalusia.

Taking part in the annual National Day of Prayer, members of at least five local congregations prayed together on subjects ranging from President Barack Obama to local education.

Gwen Raley, a retired schoolteacher living in Andalusia, said she tries to take part in the annual prayer gathering every year.

“It’s the spirit that is here,” Raley said. “When you get together with a group of Christians and just fellowship, it’s comforting.”

Among the Christians coming together Thursday was local Rev. Derwood Cleland, who prayed for governments on all levels.

“If ever there has been a time we need to pray for our government and our leaders, it is now,” Cleland said.

Clyde Northrop, a former U.S. Military chaplain, prayed for America’s armed forces.

“I had the privilege of serving our nation in the military under numerous commanders-in-chief for 38 years,” Northrop said.

Greg White spoke briefly at Thursday’s event, before praying specifically for families.

“We desire that there be order in our homes,” White prayed. “We ask that you give us strength and wisdom. May we people of the book, practice true, Biblical family values.”

The Rev. Joel Calhoun prayed specifically for the Christian church as a whole.

“The church of Jesus Christ is close to the heart of God almighty,” Calhoun said. “Yes, this world is precious to God. God is determined to listen to the prayers of his own people.”

The Rev. Leroy Cole prayed Thursday for first responders.

“There are those ready to respond to any need we might have,” Cole said. “Willing to put their safety at risk for the sake of our safety. Just two weeks ago, one of those officers died trying to protect us in the line of duty. They serve in a thankless job. They see a lot of difficult things and they receive very few thank yous.”

The Rev. Chester Watson, as well as Andalusia City Schools superintendent Ted Watson, prayed for local business and education, while Jan White prayed for protection of life services, such as a Sav-A-Life.

“We serve a mighty God,” Chester Watson said. “One that is still performing miracles. There is power in prayer. Prayer works. We need to pray a prayer that gets the attention of heaven and that shakes hell to its foundation.”

Ted Watson said the same spirit of God that is present at events like Thursday’s is also in the schools, even if prayer is not.

“The biggest plus we have here is that despite the fact that we have varying opinions about things, you have some godly men and women in our schools teaching your kids. You can legislate a lot of things, but you can’t legislate morality.”

White prayed for things that have been legislated, such as abortion.

“We want to create a culture of life, not a culture of death,” White said. “I pray for laws to be changed, but more than that, I pray for hearts to be changed.”

The Rev. Joel Calhoun, who served as master of ceremonies, said it is always refreshing to see different denominations come together as one.

“It is right; it is a good thing for us members of different congregations to come together to fellowship,” Calhoun said.