More than 100 people gathered outside the Bulloch County Courthouse to pray Thursday.
It was the 12th annual Bulloch County observance of the National Day of Prayer, which is designated by law as the first Thursday in May.
This year’s theme was “Pray for America.”
Ed Neubert, the pastor of Cornerstone Church in Statesboro and the chairman of the local prayer event, began saying: “We all come here in faith this morning, knowing that there is a great division in our nation, and it is only through prayer that we can be brought back together again.”
The Rev. E. Charles Lee of First African Baptist Church in Statesboro said, “This is a wonderful thing for all groups of Christians in our community to come together. Luke 12:48 states that, ‘To whom much is given, of him shall be much required.’”
Lee stated that Americans have been given so much and we need to give back all that we can. “That’s why our prayers should be more intense and they will be honored by God,” he said.
After a group from Eastern Heights Baptist Church sang “America the Beautiful,” Statesboro Mayor Joe Brannen led those gathered in the 2013 National Prayer written by Greg Laurie, the National Day of Prayer chairman, who is a California church pastor who hosts a nationally syndicated radio program called “A New Beginning.”
A portion of that prayer says: “Lord, we need Your help in America. In recent days, we have done our best to remove Your Word and Your counsel from our courtrooms, classrooms and culture. It seems, as President Lincoln once said, that we have ‘forgotten God.’ But Lord, You have not forgotten us! You can bless and help to revive ou country again.”
The assembly then divided into small “cell groups.” They joined hands in small circles and prayed for the nation, American families, government, military, church, schools and the economy.
“It helps our entire community for us to do what we are doing here today,” Thomas Lanier, a member of Brooklet Primitive Baptist Church, said after the event ended. “God desperately wants us to pray.”
Merle Hogan, of Statesboro First Baptist Church, said, “This was very appropriate and necessary today. I feel like we need to do this more than just once a year,” to which her friend, Faye Bacon replied, “I think we need it 365 days of the year.”
The National Day of Prayer has been an official day of observance since President Harry S. Truman signed it into law in 1952. President Ronald Reagan signed an amendment to the law designating the first Thursday in May as the date it was to be observed. It dates back to 1775, when the Continental Congress set aside a day for prayer.