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Churches: Prayer service seeks solace in troubled times
By Jason Lesley
Prayers to end ignorance, racism, envy and hatred went up from All Saints Church Monday night.
All Saints and Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church began a monthly series of community prayer sessions for the nation, “A People Called by His Name,” that will run through the November elections.
People came to pray in the wake of a number of instances of police killing suspects during arrests and snipers killing police officers in retaliation.
The Rev. Rob Grafe, rector of All Saints Church, called on God to remove every obstacle to prayer: fear, bitterness, any hurdle. “We stand together,” he said, “that you are the only name given for unity and salvation.”
Grafe and the Rev. Mitchell Adger of Mount Zion Baptist agreed to co-host the prayer series in order to bring the community together. Ministers from all churches were invited to participate, and laymen offered prayers for businesses, families and youth during Monday’s service.
“Many people are tired of turning on the news and feeling like they are powerless to affect any meaningful change in a twisted and sinful world,” Grafe said. “The Lord expects us to be a part of the solution.”
Grafe prayed for President Obama, the U.S. Congress and the judicial system. He asked God to minister to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. “Don’t give us what we deserve,” Grafe prayed. “Give us what honors you. Our country is in turmoil; maybe it always is. We ask you to have mercy.”
The Rev. Johnny Ford of The House of God Church of Pawleys Island prayed that people would be able to “confess anger in their hearts, bitterness and envy.” He called on the people at the service to follow the example of David in the Old Testament and confess their transgressions in order to “create in us a clean heart and renew within us a right spirit.”
The Rev. Clay Millener, assistant rector at All Saints, prayed for an end to the causes of racism. “Forgive us for the pridefulness in our hearts that cause us to think less of people who don’t look like us, for those who come from different backgrounds than ours, where we have let pride lead us to tear down people of another race by our words, thoughts and actions,” he said. “Lord, open our eyes and hearts that let you expose that darkness. Let us love others as you have loved us. Give us your eyes to see others as you see them. Give us your ears to hear people as you hear them. And give us your heart to love people as you love them.”
David Lane offered a prayer in thanks for the business community and asked God to help them operate with fairness and honesty. He prayed for the unemployed to find jobs and those working to have good health.
David Rhodes prayed for husbands and wives to love unconditionally in marriages and be gracious and forgiving. William Hayes prayed for young people who are easily distracted by school and sports, drugs and alcohol. “It’s not easy growing up where it’s almost scary to go to the movies,” he said.
Grafe called retired New York City policeman Michael Boyd to the front of the sanctuary to allow participants to lay hands on him during a prayer for those keeping the peace. “We ask for protection over those who serve on the front lines,” Grafe said, “and purity that they not use their place of power to abuse.”
He prayed that God would strengthen the men and women in law enforcement and ask that in cases of excess or abuse of power and privilege that he “paint the dragon red” so their evil is obvious to all.
Adger said God had heard the prayers. “Peace will be with us,” he said.
The next service will be Sept. 5 at 6 p.m. at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Parkersville Road.
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