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On April 17, 1952, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill proclaiming a National Day of Prayer, and in 1983 President Ronald Reagan said, “From General Washington’s struggle at Valley Forge to the present, this Nation has fervently sought and received divine guidance as it pursued the course of history. This occasion provides our nation with an opportunity to further recognize the source of our blessings, and to seek His help for the challenges we face today and in the future.”
On Thursday, the 62nd National Day of Prayer, Americans paused and gathered together to pray for the nation, including two noon gatherings in Citrus County, one in Inverness and one in Crystal River.
Prayers were offered by local clergy, lay ministers and community leaders. Here are excerpts from the prayers from the two events.
Prayers from Inverness
“For the people who complain about prayer and religion in our public places — our money says, ‘In God we trust.’ I’d say to them, then don’t spend money. As for me, whenever I pick up a penny and see those words I say, ‘In God I trust’ as a reminder that the age of miracles is not over.” — Judge Richard “Ric” Howard
“O God, unless we have a spiritual awakening, what promise do we have of the future? It’s our responsibility to seek after you, O God, and we need you so badly.” — The Rev. Dairold Rushing, First Assembly of God in Inverness
“At a high school graduation, some people complained about a student-led prayer, so they decided to have a moment of silence. When the student-led moment of silence came, somebody in the audience said, ‘Our Father,’ and everybody said, ‘Which art in heaven….’ You can’t stop the power of prayer.” — The Rev. Jerry Carris, First United Methodist Church in Hernando
“America has suffered; all across the nation, schools have suffered from violence. God, we ask for your protection on our schools from all evil and all destruction, pedophiles, drugs and distractions…We ask that you raise up a nation of young people that will raise up a standard and will not be ashamed of your name and will not be ashamed to stand for you.” — The Rev. Doug Alexander, New Church Without Walls
“The family was God’s intent to be the main force in this world…our families today are in trouble. These are hard times; these are tough times. These are times we need to reach up to you, O God, and we ask for your help. Our families need revival and renewal. We seek your help and ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to heal our families and heal America.” — The Rev. Larry Powers, Inverness Church of God
“Citrus County has more than 20,000 veterans who have served our country… for those who are still serving, we ask, God, that you keep them safe by your heavenly grace… strengthen them, give them courage and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be. Let us never forget the sacrifices of those who come back wounded in mind or body and their families faced with new and difficult circumstances.” — Rear Adm. Carlton McLeod, (Ret.)
Prayers from Crystal River
“God, I thank you for living in a country where we can pray openly without fear of persecution. I lift up to you our school system in Citrus County today. Rally our churches and Christians around our school. I pray for our teachers that you will rise up more teachers that can openly show their faith. Your light is greater than the darkness in a lot of the schools. But your light is greater than that. I pray for our administration that you will give them integrity and wisdom with the many difficult choices that they have to make. God, guide them. I pray that you will lay a hand of protection around our schools.” — The Rev. John Potts, First Baptist Church of Crystal River
“Father, at this time we lift up our youth and children. Lord, they are dear to our heart and they are yours. Father, I pray that you continue to put chains of love, mercy and protection around each one from the one that wants to do harm. I rebuke that. Today, we lift our children and youth up in a way that they look at school in the spirit of excellence. I thank you for the students that we have in our city and county.” — The Rev. John Herndon, Crystal River Church of God
“God, you know in our humanity that we have to fight everyday to maintain the freedom that you have given us. I thank you today for the men and women that you have given this nation. I thank you Lord for those men and women who are of commitment and integrity. I thank you for the courage that you have given them; Father, not just our men and women in the military uniform of the four branches but the men and women in uniform that protect our families. We have so many that have given of themselves and families for us. Lord, without them we would be far worse off than we are. I ask you to strengthen our forces as the enemy fights against us.” — The Rev. Rick Moore, David’s Tabernacle
“We all love America, amen … I don’t know of any country in the world that I would rather live in then the United States of America. I love this country. I am glad God allowed me to be a part of this world that I live in. Florida is a great place to be. Thank God for Florida and for you coming today to be a part of this National Day of Prayer. We are serving a God in Heaven that hears and answers prayers.” — The Rev. Roger Cash, Crystal River Church of God
Quotes compiled by Nancy Kennedy and Eryn Worthington, staff writers.