National Day of Prayer 2021 – Follow-Up

National Day of Prayer was Thursday, May 6, 2021

by Stephanie Fain
Meeting at Buchanan Common May 6 2021, Photo by Stephanie Fain

April showers in early May scattered beautiful red petals all over my truck again. Oh Buchanan, you shouldn’t have! Birds everywhere, dancing and singing. I am not sure what held the sun up from joining us, but the looks on my fellow Buchanan and Niles believer’s faces were bright and full of hope, love and prayer for our great nation this day, May 6th 2021, the National Day of Prayer. One can quickly reference my previous article here on the origins of the National Day of Prayer. The Buchanan Area Ministerial Association, also known as BAMA (the collection of local prayer ninjas not the state), lovingly organized this event. We met at the heart of Buchanan, the downtown Buchanan commons, surrounded by the flowering redbud trees and other God-made plants that humans named things I can’t rhyme things with, therefore cannot remember. We trickled in with our umbrellas, bundled up, mingling, exchanging kind smiles and warm hugs. We formed a halo on the stage of the downtown Buchanan commons stage and we did what we came to do. We conga’d.. NO! Conga-ing isn’t going to save our nation, Bobbert! We came to pray, and the pastors brought it. It was like a pray off, mic-drops everywhere! You missed it! I was emotional.

Church heads from all over the area showed up, like Pastor Dan Barz (St. Paul Lutheran Church) along with Pastor Ellen Berlin (Buchanan First United Methodist,) Pastor Dave Mitchell (Faith Victory Fellowship,) Father Leo Cartenga (Priest of St. Anthony Catholic Church.) Among the pastors in the circle, Pastor Nate Babcock of Buchanan Christian Church and Pastor Brendan Shea from the Nazarene Church, from my interview 2 weeks ago on the newest Little Free Pantry, in which the two worked together to create a solution for those who may need a little extra help with food. Jim was also there from the Salvation Army, and Judy Earnst, Director of Worship Arts at BCC. All together 21 people had shown, there were so many great words and very few moments of silence.  

This was not only my first National Day of Prayer, but my editor/co-writers, Rebecka and Tom Hoyt’s first also. Rebecka states, “Yes, this was the first time for both Tom and I to attend. Tom even said a prayer, which didn’t surprise me. He’s like our prayer warrior in the family! I wasn’t used to that much praying, but when you come to an event like this, you better expect it. I only wished that the weather could have been warmer and sunny. However, we were sheltered from the rain and dressed as warm as we could and I should have brought my gloves!” When asked if she’ll attend next year’s event, “Yes, I probably will if life/work allows it,” stated Rebecka. If you weren’t able to attend this event, it was encouraged by our pastor to pray at 12Noon that day as well as any other time that day. Our itinerary guided us through prayer for: racial healing, the Church, leadership in this country on every level, the education system, our children, teachers, parents, local cities, our nation’s poverty and law enforcement including military and emergency personnel. We prayed for the healing from religious persecution being felt all over, for those in the medical industry, those with addiction, with mental conditions, we prayed for our veterans, our homeless, those who feel forgotten and my very favorite, we prayed that we would love those who do not love others so that they might experience love. We prayed for more than an hour. Pastors and believers took turns praying to Jesus, both praising him for what we have and reminding him of the weak spots in our chain, apologizing for them and asking for them to be mended. It felt great, It felt really good listening and relating to the hearts and concerns of my fellow man laying down our heavy hearts before the Lord as instructed. Did I mention I got emotional? I was literally surrounded by Pastors and the sweetest bunch of people in the “Nicest Place in America 2020”, praying for America! 

Before I left I was lovingly rushed by some familiar faces from BCC, some I had not seen for better of a year, they reminded me. I felt it. I missed them too. This is my definition of community. These people are my quilt, they keep me warm inside and I am a little ashamed to say that I don’t really know them well. I intend to. Square by square, block by block, all the layers. Someday I will know exactly what to say instead of the usual nothing. Today everyone was there to comfort each other and to remind each other exactly who is in charge. I left feeling both charged and excited. Community is important, family is important, church is important and none of that is possible without God, the glue. We go through hardships so that they might bring us nearer to Him. I pray these hardships bring about a permanent change that makes this nation realize it really is spinning out of control without Him. Taking back control is simply bowing our heads and doing things according to His will and not our own. I have to often remind myself that things aren’t in my hands in the first place, God has a plan, worrying gets me nowhere but down (basically showing distrust in the lord) and praying is the best and first thing we should be doing, not the last resort when all else fails. It felt like the world wasn’t falling apart, and I was reminded that people can heal, God can part seas. Conserve your energy wisely! So many people need you to be well. My achilles is stress and I have learned to function by “giving it up to God.”

Next time, I will not wear mascara, I will learn how to use my camera without voice command, I will remember to record the very beginning of the service for myself. The prayers in the hearts of these locals and leaders were heartfelt and very well-versed. Something that sticks out in my memory about this National Day of prayer, is that brought up in prayer was praise that we were able to freely meet and pray in the beautiful downtown square (public). A sweet yet grim reality I was both hurt and glad to be reminded of. She was right. Let’s try to keep it that way. Let’s try to keep God not only in our hearts, but in our communities where He belongs, lest we be reminded. Christian persecution in extreme forms is being silenced all around the world, now is the time for prayer, whenever you happen to be reading this.

Never stop growing, Buchanan!

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