LAURINBURG — Those participating in National Day of prayer were favored with a cloudless day and a breeze that seemed to help lift their prayers to heaven as they petitioned God.
Around 50 residents and public figures joined at the flagpole at the Scotland County Courthouse to observe the 66th observance of the day Thursday.
The congregation was led in a hymn by Pastor Helen Miller-Best before 14 local ministers and church leaders prayed about topics from unity to world leaders.
Many of the prayers were aimed at the country’s youth or situations that affect children, teens and young adults.
Rev. Kenneth Blease, pastor of Northview Harvest Ministries, led a prayer for families.
“As the family goes so goes the nation and everything else,” Blease said. “Give mothers and fathers the intestinal fortitude to stand on the word [of God] and to raise their families.”
He prayed that parents would being their children up in faith referencing the biblical Proverb to “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not part from it.”
Blease said that if children were not given a foundation of faith that they would be at the mercy of society and the streets.
“God did not turn them over to the church but to the family,” he said. “How we raise them not only impacts those right now we impact the generations to come.”
Blease concluded his prayer by asking that God would influence pastors to preach to instill in families the need to raise their children in the word of God and stay committed to that.
Pastor Ruby Lennon, of Westminster Presbyterian Church prayed directly for the youth of Scotland County and the country.
“We say the youth are our future, but they are our present also,” Lennon said.
She prayed that leaders and parents would teach children the importance of honesty, respect, integrity, unity and the value of helping one another and that adults would teach children to seek peace.
“They are being raised in a world of chaos all around them and dangerous situations right outside their doorstep,” she said. “Help us to show them that though chaos [is around them] there is still peace and a place to seek Christ and know that there is a future.
Rev. Darell “BJ” Gibson, pastor of Nazareth Missionary Baptist Church, Wagram prayed for education. He prayed for inspiration, and protection for children and schools and prayed that schools would better serve to motivate and educate children.
“Whatever we put in our young people, that is what we will get out,” he said. “Our failure isn’t not being able to reach the stars, but that so many children don’t know that there are stars they can reach.”
Scotland County Clerk of Court Phillip McRae prayed for the judicial system and its members. McRae said that God had place the duty to forming a legal system in the hands of humanity and that the justice system needs “the fewest amount of obstructions that we could have.” He added that society needed people who will respect the life God gives and that the system needed law enforcement and judges who were humble, who would “seek not to serve ourselves but to seek God’s will,” and do it with faithfulness.
Often the judicial system is left to deal with the outcome of wayward youth who have somehow missed guidance at home and in schools, according to McRae.
“The problem is that we’re not praying in school. The problem is that we’re not praying at home either. Our whole wellbeing as a society begins in the home, and we have to take our roles as parents seriously and teach our children the way we want them to act and what we feel is believable and give them guidance on what they ought to follow,” he said. “If you set a bowl of spinach and a bowl of ice cream in front of a child they’re going to pick the ice cream every time. We’ve got to help them understand that the spinach is what they need. The kids need guidance from us, and we can’t shirk our responsibility to do that.”
Catherine Blue, who attends Exalt Church in Laurel Hill, joined the day of prayer because she believes in the power not only of prayer but of group prayer. She attends prayer on the square events on Main Street every Wednesday at noon.
“I’m interested in our county, our children and our schools. We just need more prayer; I’m soliciting prayer warriors every day. If we had more prayer we would have more power, more unity and more love,” she said.
On the topic of youth Blue said faith and values start in the home.
“If they haven’t had the proper training in the home, they go out in the street and they still ain’t got it, so they fall for anything and they take that back to the other siblings,” Blue said. “So many young mothers haven’t been trained and they don’t train their children.”
The ceremony was opened by Laurinburg Mayor Matthew Block who read from the proclamation declaring the day in Laurinburg.
Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169