Churches hold prayer services for election

pramati@macon.comNovember 5, 2012 

Some churches from around the midstate are holding prayer services, vigils and other moments of reflection regarding Tuesday’s election.

St. Joseph Church is conducting a 12-hour vigil from 6 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday to “make sure people’s decisions are guided by the Holy Spirit,” Father Dawid Kwiatkowski said.

“We, as concerned Catholics, know the value of the United States in the international scene,” he said. “We are praying people go and vote and be responsible citizens. It’s a virtue. We pray that those who have been asleep will be awakened and take responsibility (by going to vote).”

Kwiatkowski said the church opened its doors to people of all faiths who want to pray. He said the prayers, which came from a national Catholic website, aren’t meant to be partisan, though some people may interpret them that way.

“Religion goes beyond political attitudes,” he said.

Indeed, around the nation, many churches are holding prayer services or vigils on Election Day.

In Memphis, Tenn., Idlewild Presbyterian Church continues a prayer vigil that began at noon Sunday and will end at midnight Tuesday. Wilton Federated Church in Manhattan, Ill., is holding a service while the polls are open, until they close, with members planning to have a least one person praying, reading the Bible, focusing on God’s will for the people of the country the impact of the U.S. election around the world.

Some of those who attended St. Joseph in Macon on Monday evening said they are including the presidential candidate of their choice in their prayers, but said they attended the service to ask that people go out and vote.

“I want all voters to go to the polls with an open mind and heart while voting,” said Christina Cambre, who is absentee voting while away from her native Louisiana. “Among all Christians, not just Catholics, prayer is what unites us. It’s one commonality, regardless of your political stance.”

Richard Rowe said he hopes the winning candidate respects the values that Rowe holds dear.

“I’m praying the results of the election will show a respect for life and religious freedom,” he said. “That’s how I vote. I vote for the candidate who respects life.”

Jenie Embry said she is praying because she doesn’t think the country can continue to be so divided.

“It can’t keep going the way it’s going,” she said. “We need to take a step back and look at the changes that have taken place.”

First Presbyterian Church in downtown Macon took a different approach for its prayers Monday and Tuesday. About 235 people signed up to pray in 15-minute shifts during the two days no matter where they were -- at home, work or anywhere else.

“People signed up to pray wherever they are,” said Eric Ashley, the church’s ministry coordinator. “(They’re praying for) everything -- voters, candidates, leadership. It’s non-partisan. It’s more for trusting in the Lord rather than a candidate, that whomever is elected will do the best for our country.”

Ashley said the prayers not only involve the presidential election, but all of the candidates and measures on Tuesday’s ballot.

“It’s general enough for all of the races,” he said. “I think people’s senses and consciousness are heightened right now.”

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