Twenty community members from Russellville and the surrounding area gathered in prayer Thursday night for the National Day of Prayer event.
Under the pavilion at Russellville city park, guests representing several area churches practiced the theme for this year, “Love one another.”
“I pray for our armed forces every day,” Loretta Borker said.
A member of St. Michael Catholic Church, Borker said she is thankful public prayer events still happen. The Russellville-Lohman Ministerial Alliance organizes the event each year.
“For the ministers to take their time out of their busy schedules to do this is just wonderful,” she said.
The ceremony lasted just under 30 minutes. Russellville Baptist Church Pastor Dinzel Webb gave the opening prayer, scripture and led the crowd in song.
“We still have the freedom in this nation to address God,” Webb said.
Prayers were offered for local, federal and state government, law enforcement, disaster victims, military and more.
“Our country is in such a mess,” Betty Browner said. “Prayer is the only thing that’s going to help it.”
Before Msgr. Robert Kurwicki of St. Michael Catholic Church prayed for the fire department and emergency workers, he said he remembers praying for those workers growing up.
“Every time an ambulance or a fire truck would go by, we would always look to see,” Kurwicki said.
“The teacher who was there … she always used to stop and we would say the Lord’s Prayer. She said any time you hear a fire engine going or an ambulance screeching, there’s pain.”
The workers witness traumatic events and carry stress home to their families who need prayer, he said.
The Rev. Alan Earls of Mount Olive Baptist Church said families are the unsung heroes of military members.
“We are thankful for the governor, who is the commander of our National Guard services,” Earls said.
In February, Gov. Mike Parson signed a proclamation designating May 2 as a Day of Prayer in Missouri.
“As governor, I pray that all Missourians will take time on this Day of Prayer to give thanks for the freedoms we should never take for granted,” Parson said.