National Day of Prayer continues despite obstacles

Prayer services today, the 59th annual National Day of Prayer, traditionally include a tribute to the nation and its military.

At Fort Gordon this morning, soldiers and civilians offered fervent prayers for both topics, which hit especially close to home.
"Encamp your agents around our armed forces," prayed Sgt. 1st Class Chancey Heyward as nearly 100 people bowed their heads around the flags outside  Signal Towers.
It's the first year that Fort Gordon has held a National Day of Prayer observance, said Army Chaplain Maj. Robert Lyons.
Several chaplains and soldiers volunteered to give prayers. They asked for protection of soldiers in war zones, that God might increase wisdom and understanding among military leaders, and that in everything that happens, honor and glory would be brought to Fort Gordon's units, the military, this nation, and most of all, God.
Army Chaplain Maj. Donald Stover read President Obama's National Day of Prayer proclamation. It seeks prayer for those suffering in Haiti and Chile, as well as the families of West Virginia miners, and those in Poland who lost their country's president and nearly 100 others in a plane crash last month.
"Let us remember the unsung heros," Stover read.
Spc. James Hughes prayed to remember that the greatest patriots are those who seek to follow God.
"Convert our nation's patriotism into a passion for holiness," he prayed. "Restore pride in righteousness, not ungodliness."
He quoted Thomas Jefferson at the start of his prayer, who said, "God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?"
The soldiers read, too, from Proverbs 14, which says "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people."
"Restore our nation as a light to the rest of the world," Hughes prayed. "May we truly be known as one nation under God."

Reach Kelly Jasper at (706) 823-3552
or kelly.jasper@augustachronicle.com

RICHMOND COUNTY

- St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 605 Reynolds St., breakfast at 7 a.m., (706) 722-8693

- Good Shepherd Baptist Church, 1714 Olive Road, 5:30-7 a.m.

- Curtis Baptist School, outside the welcome center, 9 a.m., featuring Arvil Holt, the former headmaster; Pat Young, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office; and the Rev. Mark Sterling, the pastor of Curtis Baptist Church

- Woodlawn United Methodist Church, 2220 Walton Way, noon, with Laurie Ott, the executive director of the CSRA Wounded Warrior Care Project

- Sacred Heart Cultural Center, 1301 Greene St., 7 p.m., with Mayor Deke Copenhaver and Sens. Bill Jackson and Hardie Davis, (706) 798-1882

- Whole Life Ministries, 2621 Washington Road, 7 p.m., prayer and praise rally, (706) 737-4530

- Blythe City Hall; 294 Church St., Blythe; 7 p.m.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

- Harlem Baptist Church, 105 W. Milledgeville Road, 6:30 a.m., free prayer breakfast, reservations requested but not required, (706) 556-6439

FORT GORDON

- Fort Gordon flag pole near Signal Tower, 9 a.m., ceremony will be moved inside Alexander Hall in case of inclement weather, (706) 791-5653

AIKEN COUNTY

-St. John's United Methodist Church; 104 Newberry St. N.W., Aiken; 6:45-8:15 p.m.; (803) 648-6891

- North Augusta Community Center, 495 Brookside Ave., noon; luncheon with Mayor Lark Jones, featuring Bill Curry, the football coach at Georgia State University; $12; (803) 441-4290

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