ROCKINGHAM — It was standing room only Thursday at this year’s 24th Annual National Day of Prayer celebration.
More than 200 community members from congregations across Richmond County gathered at the steps of the Old Richmond County Court House, facing South Franklin Street, to pray for the local community, government, leaders, media and youth.
The National Day of Prayer was adopted 66 years ago, and the local community has been gathering on the first Thursday of May to pray, along with cities and towns around the state and nation.
“When you are down on your knees and you have laid it all down on the line, and given it all to the Lord, the only thing you can do is stand up. You stand up and face that day, like today, a day that we will never see again, but we are all thankful that the good Lord has prepared us and presented this day for us,” Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons said.
This year’s theme for the nationally celebrated event was “For his name’s sake! Hear us… Forgive us… Heal us!” Along with a great turnout, Thursday’s weather cooperated with organizers and provided plenty of sunlight and warmth, opposed to the cold and damp climate attendees had to face a year ago.
Those brave enough to take to the microphone shared biblical verses, and messages about the power of God and prayer in times of hurting, whether it was the loss of a loved one, fighting illness, or taking care of ailing parents.
“There is nothing prayer can’t do and I hope to be here for another 26 years to celebrate the 50th gathering,” said Laura Cromer, an 88-year-old who made the trip from Ellerbe to Rockingham for the 24th time.
The event featured testimonials on the power of prayer, songs to inspire, and choirs welcoming those gathered to join along in song.
“I knew we had a bunch of prayer warriors out here today, and it is truly an honor to stand before you this afternoon and there comes a time where you make a mistake, you never give a politician a mic and expect him to sit down, and you never give a man a mic who loves the Lord because we could talk forever,” Clemmons said.
Children from the Mt. Olive Christian School performed the three pledges of allegiance, first to the flag of the United States of America, then to the Christian flag, and finally to the Bible. The children recited “I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s holy word” to the adults lending their ears, before all in attendance joined in.
“As I sat in my chair I was thinking of something to say and then I happened to look over to these young kids here — we owe them a better world, we owe them a better life,” Clemmons said. “As I sat there I saw a young man, and as the program was going on he was playing in the dirt — he didn’t have a care in the world. He didn’t have a stressful thought in his mind. He had no pain, and we all remember those days and as adults we need to make sure that the world we prepare is a better place.”
Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171