Many of the 200 people who gathered Thursday in Macons Rosa Parks Square for the National Day of Prayer said they think the event is necessary for the countrys long-term benefit.
During the annual event, Americans are especially encouraged to pray for their nation and government.
Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert read a proclamation to mark the event.
What a significant event this has been, he said, noting the downtown Macon church bells that rang during the middle of the service at noon. They served as a wonderful reminder that the presence of God is with us.
The Rev. Randolph Prudent, associate pastor at Central Fellowship Baptist Church, delivered the main remarks in Macon. Prudent, originally from Haiti, noted that when he arrived in America in 1985, the nation was more God-fearing than it is today and was the leading country in the world in terms of education, justice and industry.
Today, he said, America has all types of sinful behavior.
Prudent asked Americans to rediscover their own relationships with God in order to help the country get on its way back to redemption.
Many of those who attended said a day of prayer can help.
Our country needs it really badly, said Norma Girton, who attended the Macon service. I think God listens to his peoples prayers.
The Covenant Academy grammar school chorus sang several songs to open the service.
At Warner Robins City Hall, about 60 people filled the City Council chambers for the citys prayer event. More than a dozen speakers led prayers touching on different themes, including education, government, the economy and peace in Jerusalem.
We need to pray for our country and for our leaders at all times and for all of these issues that we covered today, said Emily Dennis, one of the organizers of the Warner Robins prayer event.
Dennis said she has been an organizer since the prayer day was first held at City Hall 23 years ago. Over the years, speakers from a variety of denominations and ethnicities have participated, she said, including Catholics and Protestants, Hispanics and Koreans.
All coming together with one heart to cry out to God for the areas that our country really needs prayer for, she said. Its just a real privilege for us to still have the freedom to be able to meet.
Mayor Randy Toms said he is humbled to serve God, who listens to and answers prayers. Other speakers also expressed gratitude.
We thank you, heavenly father, for this city that you have favored, you have smiled upon, said Melvin Womack, pastor of End Time Harvest Church.
President Barack Obama, in his proclamation of Thursday as National Day of Prayer, said: One of our nations great strengths is the freedom we hold dear, including the freedom to exercise our faiths freely. Every president since 1952 has signed a similar proclamation.
The National Day of Prayer Task Force, a nonprofit Christian organization, helps promote the 35,000 prayer gatherings held across the country. Several million people participate in the gatherings every year, according to the groups website.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334. To contact writer Andres David Lopez, call 256-9751.