National Day of Prayer events inspire multiple generations

by Dan Kleiner
Posted 5/9/12

Better than 400 people in Madison County turned out for the National Day of Prayer on May 3, and they ranged in age from those just starting out their school careers to some who could likely teach us …

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National Day of Prayer events inspire multiple generations


Better than 400 people in Madison County turned out for the National Day of Prayer on May 3, and they ranged in age from those just starting out their school careers to some who could likely teach us all a thing or two about faith.

Eli Risinger, 6, was the youngest speaker of the day, offering a prayer for his father, district attorney Brian Risinger, and asking that we all are granted the strength to put God first.

Later that afternoon, Pastor Lanier Stevens shared songs and blessings for members of the Madisonville Care Center, and to start out the day, Bedias Baptist Church hosted an estimated 250 people at an event that included 64 members of area Fellowship of Christian Athletes groups.

More than 30 churches in all gave testament to importance of the day in Madison County with attendance at one of the major events. That feeling of unity provided a blessing that was surely felt by young and old around the area.

“As organized as it was, there was a lot of spontaneity and fellowship that is difficult to describe,” Joe Williams, committee chair for the National Day of Prayer event at Bedias Baptist Church, said. “I look forward to it next year, and pray that the Spirit we left it with will continue on until next year.”

The theme for the National Day of Prayer this year was “One Nation Under God.” Bedias Baptist Church welcomed representatives from 21 churches, 41 members of the Madisonville High School FCA, 23 members of the Iola High School FCA, and 14 men from The House of Hope among the 250 attendees at Thursday morning’s event. Bobby Brown of Bedias Baptist Church welcomed folks to the event and Bedias Mayor Mackie Bobo-White made a proclamation declaring the National Day or Prayer in Bedias before the event got underway.

Rev. Wade Phillips from Madisonville Christian Fellowship provided the music and Rev. Jason Bay of First Baptist Church of Dodge gave the message before prayers began for specific groups.

As has become tradition at National Day of Prayer events, prayers are offered for specific groups by representatives from different churches.

At the Bedias event, prayers were offered for government, the church, the military, family, education, media, and business. Those offering those prayers included Robert Stancil, House of Hope; Rev. Munroe Rice, Cross Baptist Church; Jerry Allen Cole, Bedias Baptist Church; Matt Carey, Iola FCA Chaplain; Rev. James Parrish, Burning Hope Baptist Church; Josh Schwarz, Madisonville Christian Fellowship; Will Mallett, Bedias Baptist Church; and Rev. Wade Phillips, Madisonville Christian Fellowship.

Rev. Nathan Hoke of Bedias Baptist Church offered the closing prayer.

“You had to be there to not only experience it, but to feel it,” Williamson said. “There was an amazing feeling of fellowship in room.”

The Madison County Courthouse emptied out and residents from all around Madisonville filed onto the courthouse steps at noon on Thursday for the Madisonville event. A group of Madisonville-area students joined with pastors from several churches and area residents to offer prayers for a variety of groups.

Grace Culbreth, a sixth-grader, recited the Pledge of Allegiance and Tatum Richie, a third-grader, recited the preamble to the Constitution as the event began.

Echoing the theme of the event, Jim Cox, representing First Baptist Church, prayed for the U.S. President.

“Guide him to make decisions based on Christian beliefs,” Cox said. “I pray you will give us One Nation Under God.”

Bradley Collard, a freshman, continued to represent the youth of Madison County with a prayer for the Texas governor. Sheena Dorn offered a prayer for the county judge, David Jones offered a prayer for the military, and Father Mike Barone offered a prayer for the City.

KMVL radio’s Bill Cavill offered a prayer for the news media that drew praise from Pastor Troy Brooks, who emceed the event, and Pastor Lanier Stevens.

Cavill asked that members of the news media learn to turn to the Lord, and that people learn to turn off entertainment that does not honor God.

“This is an awesome amount of people that are out here today,” Cavill said. “We need to take advantage of all the things we can do. There are a lot of countries where we could not do this at all. If we don’t use it we lose it.”

During his prayer, Cavill said we need to “ask forgiveness for creating a media that does not honor God.”

Brooks responded, “we need another Amen to that.”

Eli Risinger offered his prayer for the district attorney and Joe Longoria, Jr., offered a prayer for the school district before a choir of 13 pastors closed out with a song.

Before the National Day of Prayer was over, Stevens made one final stop, to the Madisonville Care Center to bring songs and praise to the residents, many of whom he knew by name and shared fond memories of in between gospel tunes and old-time favorites.

He spoke about James “Red” Williams, a “hay-bailin’ man,” he called him in an improvised tune, and Oscar James Whaley, another man who he knew from the old days in Bedias.

Stevens summed up the meaning of the National Day of Prayer, and why Madisonville has such a strong showing.

It all goes back to the theme: “One Nation, Under God.”

“It’s been 51 years since I came to Madison County, and this spot, this place, is about as blessed a place as exists.”