PARKERSBURG- In troubled and uncertain times, people have always had prayer to turn to for comfort and strength.
Around 40 people gathered Thursday at Bicentennial Park in downtown Parkersburg as part of the local observance of the National Day of Prayer.
Organized by the Wood County Ministers Association, the event featured a series of prayers by clergy on local, national and world issues as well as musical selections.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
About 40 people gathered Thursday at Bicentennial Park in downtown Parkersburg as part of the local observance of the National Day of Prayer.
''We have gathered just like people all across the country to pray,'' said Kurt Busiek, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church and president of the Wood County Ministers Association. ''The National Day of Prayer is something our presidents have empathized for a long time.
''We feel like there are a lot of issues in our country that we can get anxious and worry about or we can pray about them. We are here to lift up ourselves, the city, the country and the world.''
The ceremony was open to people of all faiths and backgrounds.
''We are coming from different faiths and different traditions,'' Busiek said. ''We seek to respect people who come to God from a different angle than ourselves.
''There are people who don't pray to God as Father and don't pray in Jesus' name. That is how I pray, but I know there are faith traditions here that are different from that. We seek to respect people as they seek God.''
The Rev. Eric Hall of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church played the guitar and led the crowd through songs.
Ian Reid of First Lutheran Church gave a prayer for the local cities, counties and states covering all those who live and work in this area.
Carol Sedgwick of the Baha'i Faith and Randy Mitchell of Stout Memorial United Methodist Church gave prayers for the country.
David Kaufman, chaplain with Camden Clark Medical Center, offered a prayer for the world.
Busiek offered a prayer for everyone's own spiritual journey.
''I think it is important because it relates to our history as a country,'' Busiek said. ''We've always gone back to God.
''It seems like whenever we go through a tough time, we always go back to God. There is a lot going on in the country right now with the economy doing so bad. We feel like prayer is a positive thing to do.''
Margaret Frees of Mineral Wells works in the downtown Parkersburg area and made time to attend the event.
''This is the National Day of Prayer where we can come together as lay people and ministers to lift up our nation,'' she said. ''Our nation really stands in need of prayer.
''There are a lot of issues out there, a lot of concerns and a lot of people. It is an opportunity to come together. There is power in prayer.''
Clea Ahart of Belpre believes prayer does a lot of good for a lot of people.
''I believe in the power of prayer and certainly our nation, cities, towns and people need prayer,'' she said. ''People are hurting, people who need the Lord and we need help.
''I know that my God, my heavenly father, can help us. That is why I am here, to do my part, to join together with other believers in the Lord.''