Everyone knows that we are living in stressful and challenging times. There is so much going on locally, nationally and on the international level that frightens and pains us to see. May 5th has been designated as a National Day of Prayer and in downtown Brooksville on Friday, May 5, at the Commons located on Broad Street, Hernando County was witness to a unifying presentation by local pastors and laypeople. Many of them are members of the Hernando Christian Ministerial Association (HCMA). Each prayed for a different aspect of our life and community.
Javen Mirabella, vice-president of HCMA, as well as President and Executive Director of Immerse the Nations, opened the services by quoting from John, Chap. 17: “May they be one.” He explained that oneness can only be obtained by spirit, through God’s intercession.
Slayden MacGregor of Gateway Bible Church prayed for the Hernando County public schools and the school board. He asked the representatives of the school system board members, administrators, teachers, and other personnel−to come to the front so that everyone could pray for them. He recognized the challenging job that these people have and prayed that God would provide wisdom, guidance, integrity and ingenuity to them so that they can provide those attributes to the students. He also prayed that the community would come alongside the school district to help and support these educators.
Pastor Jeff Dye of Northcliffe Baptist Church prayed for private schools, charter schools, and home-school families.
He stated, “We pray for the parents, administrators, and teachers who are involved in these and that they have the wisdom and discernment on how they govern the schools and that the students get the education they need. We pray for the children in all these different environments that they have a mind ready to receive the knowledge and to strive to give their absolute best.”
Pastor Joe Santerelli of Hillside Community Baptist Church prayed about our culture, arts, and athletics. He recognized the importance of these aspects of our life and how the arts reflect the glory of God’s work.
Omar De Pablo, assistant pastor of Family First Assembly and president of HCMA prayed for our country. He praised the fact that as Americans we have the ability to gather in prayer without fear. Reverend De Pablo prayed for a move of God’s spirit throughout the United States and that the people gathered at the event and everyone else lead by example in every aspect of our lives.
He commented, “We get to show love, mercy, and grace in the midst of all the lost hope and brokenness.”
Dr. Joel Hastings, the Lead Pastor of Community Bible Church, prayed for family, marriages, and fatherhood. He commented on the number of broken marriages and children being raised in homes without a father. Dr. Hastings stated that the way our nation gets turned back to God is when our families get turned back to God. He prayed for all the fathers, whether they are
biological fathers or step-fathers.
“I pray that there will be strong marriages, that there would be husbands that love their wives as You have loved the Church. That it would be unconditional love.”
Hal Hester, the Lead pastor at VineLife Christian Church, prayed for individuals being victimized by human trafficking. He prayed that citizens be alert to signs of human trafficking, speak up and do something about this. Pastor Hester prayed that those perpetrating these crimes or benefiting by these actions be apprehended by the law and that people who minister to the victims of human trafficking receive the funding and the facilities to help these individuals.
Willem Duiker of Hope Community Bible Church prayed for the youth and young adults. He spoke about the worldly pressures that young people face and prayed that God would give them strength to resist these temptations and to have a personal relationship with Him. Duiker also prayed for the ministers and other adults that work with these individuals that they be given opportunities to show God’s love for them.
Elder Malachi Fogle from Victorious Church of God prayed for the armed forces and for veterans. He mentioned his son who is a Sergeant major in the Army and served in the Middle East and how he didn’t realize all the things that military people go through. He prayed for all the military personnel and their families.
Pastor John Hensel of Christian Life Assembly of God prayed for the local churches; the community, in general; and the business leaders.
“We pray that there will be such unity in the Body of Christ that we will come together to accomplish Your purposes. We pray that You will develop in us such a sincere heart of love and compassion that we will pray, believe and work for the people,” Reverend Hensel said.
“We need to be part of the solution meeting the needs that all of us face. Help us to not just stand back and look, but to step in there,” he continued.
Pastor Daniel Norris of Grace World Outreach Church prayed for our First Responders. He mentioned that May is National Law Enforcement Memorial Month. He prayed for all the First Responders and their families, their homes and their marriages.
“We pray for protection over their emotional and mental wellbeing. We pray that You will heal the stress, the depression. We pray that in the moment that they are responding that they respond with grace, courage and wisdom. We lift them up that they would have compassion,” Pastor Norris said.
Paul Castelli, a pastor at Crosspoint Church, prayed for our national government leaders− the president, vice-president, cabinet members, legislators and Supreme Court justices.
“We pray that they would lead us in peace for this nation and every nation. We pray for leadership of integrity and character. We pray that there not be a divide, but a unity.” Pastor Castelli remarked.
“Whether we agree or not, we respect and honor the positions that they hold. Our job is to support and encourage decisions that make our lives better and more complete,” he continued.
Reverend Dell Barnes with Courts of Praise prayed for local government officials and stated, “We ask that You, God, would move upon our local city and county officials as they make decisions for the betterment of our people, that Your wisdom would enter into their hearts that they will do Your will. Make them men and women of integrity.”
Cheryl Bennett is the Executive Director of A New Generation, a nonprofit organization that counsels pregnant women. Ms. Bennett prayed for the unborn and at risk mothers. She cited the fact that “we are in a grave time of need for the unborn and for the women in our community” and asked that God’s spirit touch them and help them in their situation.
A New Generation provides many services to these women−from pregnancy screening and medical help to information about alternatives to abortion and parenting classes. For more information about this organization go to: www.anewgen.org or call (352) 544-0911.
Josh Bonner, Discipleship Pastor at Fellowship Community Church prayed for Governor DeSantis and the state officials. He asked that our representatives in Tallahassee and in Washington experience God’s peace personally so that they can express it to others and form coalitions between Democrats and Republicans to make wise decisions. He also prayed that God would send a spiritual mentor to Governor DeSantis who would encourage, guide, and pray with him.
“We pray that our state be a lighthouse for the nation, that our state be known for its wisdom, leadership, and righteousness,” Pastor Bonner stated.
Tim Coats, Pastor of Family First Assembly of God, prayed for the spiritual condition of the United States. He stated that the churches have a duty to initiate leadership rather than sit idly by and allow things to happen. Pastor Coats asked everyone at the gathering to link arms representing a net of protection around our community against evil and to insure that nobody falls through that “net.” He commented that all denominations, cultures, and styles needed to come together. Pastor Coats compared the Church to a river with many different tributaries.
He declared passionately, “What we need in the Church is a brand new shift, that it’s not ‘business as usual.’ Let it be said of Hernando that it is a ‘city built on a hill’ where there is no poverty, no division among churches, and no division in the racial community.”
Caitlin Mirabella with Immerse the Nations, a global ministry team, prayed for boldness for the Body of Christ that “out of His [God’s] glorious riches that He may strengthen you with power through His spirit.”
Evangelist Javen Mirabella wrapped up the prayer service by thanking all the ministers and officials, as well as the public, who participated in the event. He also announced that through May 22nd there will be a gathering at the courthouse steps every evening at 7 pm to pray and fast as a community.
As all the participants stated, in one way or the other, there is power in prayer. This annual Day of Prayer reminds us of this but also demonstrates that prayer should be a daily activity that will transform us, as well as give us hope and guidance.