Voices of prayer

Thursday was May Day, but it was also the National Day of Prayer, an annual observance designated by Congress and held on the first Thursday in May.

People are asked to turn to God in prayer and meditation and each year since the observance started. The president has signed a proclamation encouraging Americans to pray on this day.

This year marked the 63rd Annual National Day of Prayer.

Several services of observance were held in Minot on Thursday, at noon at Our Redeemer’s Church and First Baptist Church, as well as at 7 p.m. at Northland Harvest Church.

At the service of praise and prayer at Our Redeemer’s Church, there were numerous prayers for a variety of areas in society as well as music and time for meditation. Dan Chell, pastor at Our Redeemer’s Church, said the focus that day was on two things, praising God and petitioning God to change the hearts of our leaders. “It’s exciting to be a part of (thousands of) Day of Prayer events,” he added.

The service began with the 2014 National Day of Prayer video, followed by the Prayer for the Nation. The Ladies Ensemble sang the national anthem and those who attended were asked to sing the hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”

There were seven areas that prayers were focused on during the observance, including government, military, media, business, education, the church, and family, with various Our Redeemer’s Church members leading the people in prayer. Each leader spoke for a few minutes, then time was allotted after each segment for people to offer silent prayers of their own.

Dick Pederson, leader for the military prayer, thanked God for freedom and for people who gave their lives in battle. He also asked God to protect those people in dangerous places, for chaplains, for husbands and wives separated through deployment and for them to stay faithful to each other, for those who have lost loved ones and for soldiers who have died.

In the prayer for education, church member Barb Rued, said, “Thank you God for the caring individuals who you led into the field of educating others, but forgive us for taking God out of the schools.”

After singing through a few verses of “God Bless America,” the closing prayer was given by Pete Pederson, pastor at Our Redeemer’s Church. He asked God to bless America and for renewal in people’s hearts.

A small group of Our Redeemer’s Church members gathered after the service to reflect on the prayers, all seemingly full of smiles and hope. One of the members, Marlyn Bischke, said, “It was good opportunity to get together to praise God,” adding that the country is falling away from that.

“We need to get back to the basics, respect privacies, be more forgiving toward other people, and show more respect for each other,” added Wayne Marshall, another member of the church.

The hope for next year from church member Barb Bauer was that the service at Our Redeemer’s Church could be held in the evening next year, since there were many members who wanted to attend the noon service but were unable to be there.