Crowd gathers at Bell Tower for National Day of Prayer

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 3, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — “I think we forget the power of prayer.”
Those were words spoken by the Rev. Jim Harris, interim pastor of Milford Hills Baptist Church, on Thursday during the annual National Day of Prayer.
“Nothing you can do for God, nothing you can do for your fellow man, nothing you can do for your country is better than prayer,” he said.
Harris’ message was heard by more than 60 people who gathered at the historic Bell Tower at West Innes and South Jackson streets.
“We’re here to pray for our government, our town, and to give thanksgiving for everything,” said Cindy Key, an administrative assistant with the Rowan Southern Baptist Association, which sponsored Thursday’s event.
Salisbury resident Helen Glasco said she considered it “very important” to make time to participate in the event.
“The state our country is in, it needs a lot of prayers,” she said.
Granite Quarry residents Joyce and Garey Gulledge agreed.
“We feel like the country needs to unite in prayer,” Joyce said. “This is just a good time for Christian fellowship.”
The couple said they attend the event at the Bell Tower every year.
“I love the location,” Garey said. “It’s a nice, peaceful location, it gives to a godly atmosphere and the people who speak are always terrific to listen to.”
Dr. Dale Robertson of North Main Baptist Church was one of those people.
He told the crowd the nation is in a civil war, but not one that is fought on the battlefield.
“It’s a civil war that takes place in the hearts and minds of our young people,” he said. “It’s not fought with guns, planes, ships, bombs or bullets, it’s fought with words.
“Our army does not fight with weapons of Earth, but with spiritual weapons. You’re here because you are on the side of faith and truth.”
Robertson said he hopes words of “grace, compassion and love spread throughout this community” after Thursday’s event.
Marie Howell said she comes to the event every year for the same reason.
“We should be praying for our country,” she said. “If we put the Lord first, all these problems we have will work out.”
China Grove resident Virginia Harrington said Thursday was the first time she attended the event at the Bell Tower.
“I think we need to stand together on what we believe,” she said.
Dr. Oscar Ramirez of Oakland Heights Baptist Church led the group in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. With no American flag in sight, he took a different approach, asking veterans in the crowd to stand in front of the gazebo where the action was taking place.
“They are the ones who have paid the price for our freedom to pray in public,” he said.
The Rev. Charlie Bryan of Stallings Memorial Baptist Church said Thursday’s event was a good reminder of that freedom.
“I think it’s good anytime various groups of people can gather together and pray,” he said.
Bryan said anyone and everyone can pray no matter the age, ethnicity or background.
“The God of a 90-year-old is the God of every one of us,” he said. “I have learned and am still learning that you can’t always judge someone by their cover.”
The event included scripture readings, prayers and special music provided by Justin Lucas and Zak Congrove of Trading Ford Baptist Church.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.