WESTMINSTER — "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves andpray and seek my face and turn from wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sins and heal their land."
WESTMINSTER-- Marcia J. Reinhart cited that verse from Chronicles as she calledon the community to join in observing a National Day of Prayer May 7.
This year, the 41st consecutive national observance, Reinhart hasorganized a local service at noon at the Vietnam Memorial on Court Street.
"Not everyone prays or believes the same way," she said. "Those for whom prayer is an active, positive force in life are invitedto
publicly express it."
Days of prayer are found throughout the nation's history, she said, noting proclamations by Presidents Washington and Lincoln. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill making the first Thursday in May National Prayer Day.
"I decided topublicize this day and do as much as I could to promote it," she said at an organizational meeting Monday. "The more who know and participate, the better."
Reinhart has written to the commissioners and has asked other officials to join in the expression of faith.
MayorW. Benjamin Brown said he will issue a proclamation making May 7 Westminster Day of Prayer.
"I never heard of anyone being hurt by prayer," said the mayor. "And, I'm sure a lot of people have been helpedby it."
Reinhart, a member of New Life Foursquare Gospel Church, said belief in the power of prayer is on the increase in the nation.
"People are turning to God, asking him to be a part of their lives," she said. "I believe God answers their prayers."
She is lookingfor those people to offer prayers at the countywide expression, which, she said, will be an "ecumenical, interdenominational exercise."
She said she has had calls from non-Christian groups that want to participate.
"Instead of asking pastors to lead prayers, I would like to see representatives from business, health, education praying for the community," she said.
She hoped those who can't attend the noon celebration will find other outlets.
"People are having prayerbreakfasts in their homes. High school students are saying early morning prayers around the flag poles," she said. "Christian Women's Club is including the day in its prayer circle."
Charlene Holmes, whose husband is pastor of Reinhart's church, said she is excited that people are heeding the president's proclamation and participating.
Walter and Beverly McWilliams of Winfield represented South Carroll Full Gospel Church and said their congregation will support the event.
"We are trying to become a praying congregation, a not necessarily redundant statement," said Beverly McWilliams.
The words of prayer sometimes are automatic, said Reinhart.
"There's night prayers and prayers before meals," she said. "Then, there is praying."