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'Day of Prayer' observed in Clayton

By Ed Brock

Like so many others, Joan Sill of Morrow had America's troops and government in her prayers on Thursday, the National Day of Prayer.

"That's No. 1," said Sill, a member of the First Baptist Church of Jonesboro.

The First Baptist Church, in conjunction with Antioch Baptist Church in Jonesboro, joined churches around the country for a special noontime prayer service to observe the day. Some of her fellow church members had other prayers.

"I pray for a revival in this country," said Harold Hutcheson of Hampton.

"I pray for the nation to turn back to God and the principles that are in the scripture," said Pam Haun, wife of First Baptist's pastor, the Rev. Dean Haun.

The history of the National Day of Prayer dates back as far as 1775 when the Continental Congress asked the people of the colonies to pray about the creation of a new nation, according to the NDP Web site. In 1952 President Truman signed a joint resolution by Congress creating a National Day of Prayer and in 1988 under President Reagan the law was amended to make the first Thursday in May the official date for the NDP.

But the day was never needed more than now, Dean Haun said.

"Any time a nation is at war, more than ever we need to pray," Haun said. "We're not only at war in Iraq, we're in a war with terror."

Government officials and the soldiers at war were subjects of the prayers at the First Baptist event and at the community breakfast held Thursday morning at the VIP Complex in Clayton County International Park by the Clayton County Ministers Conference.

"Father as a county that has so many military families connected to it we especially Lord God invoke your special protection over each and every family that is involved in this war," said the Rev. Wilbert Jordan.

Jordan is a pastor at Faith in Christ Mission Outreach Center in Jonesboro and was one of the organizers of the breakfast. Clayton County Commission Chairman Crandle Bray was the keynote speaker. He talked about the role his faith played in his life, especially when in 1995 his youngest son Caleb, 15 at the time, was diagnosed with a disease of the colon.

"His colon, they actually said, was destroyed," Bray said. "At that time I sort of panicked, but we were certain in prayer for Caleb. We started praying and continued praying."

People from Bray's church and many other churches kept praying, and after about a year of failed medical treatment a colonoscopy revealed that Caleb's colon had healed anyway.

"The family doctor had to conclude that there was some miracle beyond his medical expertise that cured this problem," Bray said. "And I can tell you it was prayer."

Several other public members of the Clayton County community came to the breakfast, including Superior Court Judge Deborah Benefield who was there for the first time.

"It was absolutely a wonderful idea to have people meet in public communion and give thanks for what has been given to us," Benefield said.