‘America’s Strength and Shield’: National Day of Prayer

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
Salisbury Post
Gheorghe Teodorovici understands the true meaning of religious freedom. Just being able to pray in public, he knows, is a godsend.
Teodorovici, who works for the city of Salisbury, attended the National Day of Prayer observance Thursday at Bell Tower Park in downtown Salisbury. About 50 people braved the glaring sun to participate in a gathering repeated across the country.
The Salisbury resident grew up in Romania under a Communist regime. He lived in a labor camp and didn’t have the freedom to pray.
“I could not do this 30 years ago,” he said.
Teodorovici heard about the service through an e-mail.
Prayer is a necessity, Teodorovici said. “We can’t go without God’s presence in Salisbury,” he said.
Scharlene Rabon also attended the observance, she said, because “I love God.”
Rabon attends First Baptist Church of Salisbury and walked to the event with a few church members.
It’s time, she said, for the nation to “come back to its knees and realize God is in control of everything.”
Brent Barker is a member of the team that planned Thursday’s service, but more importantly, he attended because of “my understanding about the power of prayer. It is our foundation for our city and country.”
Doing it annually is a way for people to publicly call the nation to pray, he said.
“What began as a presidential declaration was an acknowledgement from leaders of our nation that we needed this,” Barker said.
The Day of Prayer helps create awareness in the hearts of the people, added Barker, an associational missionary with the Rowan Baptist Association.
The theme for this year’s national observance is “Prayer! America’s Strength and Shield” and is based on Psalm 28:7, which reads: “The Lord is my strength and shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped.”
Thursday’s program began with the Rowan County Fire and Rescue Association’s Honor Guard, followed by Salisbury Mayor Susan Kluttz and county commission Chairman Arnold Chamberlain.
Kluttz called on everyone to pray for elected officials and for firefighters, law enforcement officers and other emergency personnel, “people who risk their lives for us everyday.”
She also asked those gathered to remember the youngest citizens of Salisbury รณ the children.
Chaplains for several local emergency service agencies prayed, and people in the community offered testimonies.
Salisbury Police Chaplain Russ Williams led the prayer for the nation. He also read from a prayer given by President Thomas Jefferson many years ago.
Emergency Medical Service Chaplain Eddy Taylor asked God to forgive the sins of the people and to protect and guide those who serve. He also prayed for the state.
Salisbury Police Chaplain Harvey Rice called upon the Lord to “ignite the fire of revival and let it spread throughout the religious community.”
Rice prayed for the local community.
Doug Stevens, chaplain of the Salisbury Fire Department, prayed for those who wear a shield and asked God to replace people’s pain with peace, their weakness with strength, and if there is a need, let it be replaced with fulfillment.
Chaplain Mike Taylor closed out the service and the small group prayer time with a prayer of blessing.
Yvonne Dixon, of Rowan Regional Medical Center, talked briefly about prayer seeing her through the best and worst of times.
David Whisenant, a local reporter/anchor for WBTV-Channel 3, said when he goes to scenes of tragedy, he takes a moment to send up what he calls a “yellow tape prayer.” Whisenant held up yellow crime scene tape often seen on TV news footage and encouraged everyone to pray constantly, not just in times of tragedy.
For her part, Lisa Markham, of Community One Bank, spoke about a difficult decision she had to make when she was younger and how she learned to trust God.
The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.
For more information about the National Day of Prayer Task Force, visit the Web site at www.ndptf.org
Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or spotts@salisburypost.com.