United in prayer

MARSHALL – Area churches and community members are invited to a National Day of Prayer celebration to be held locally this weekend.

In honor of the National Day of Prayer, which is actually on Thursday, area residents – Doug Wing, Robin Knudson, Julie Christensen, Luke Dorman and Matt Yoder – have scheduled the second annual community prayer and worship service to begin at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Grace Life Church in Marshall.

“We’re hoping to involve as many churches as possible,” Christensen said. “All are welcome. We’d like the body of Christ here, be blessed and corporately worship and pray. We had quite a few people attend last year and hopefully, we can do the same this year.”

According to Wing, the senior pastor at Grace Life Church, people from 10 different churches around the area were represented at the 2013 Day of Prayer, along with pastors from 13 different churches.

“We heard a lot of good comments last year,” Wing said.

The local organizers have been planning songs and prayers revolving around this year’s theme, which is “One Voice United in Prayer.” The Scriptures are chosen by the National Day of Prayer organization.

“The Scripture for this year is Romans 15:6,” Wing said. “That’s the overall message, One Voice United in Prayer. It’s about coming together, uniting, regardless of what brand we are.”

Christensen said that there was a “nice cross-section of Baptists, Catholics, Lutherans, non-denominational and Evangelical Free” representatives present at last year’s local Day of Prayer. While the event was held at Grace Life Church last year, the organizers tried to find a neutral location this year.

“We looked at many neutral spots, and we preferred somewhere like Marshall Middle School, Marshall High School or the college (Southwest Minnesota State University), but they were all booked,” Christensen said. “And we really wanted to have it around the National Day of Prayer time as well. So graciously, they allowed us to have it here again.”

Volunteers will read prayers for a variety of issues, including youth, poor/homeless, campuses, schools, businesses and justice.

“All who came last year were blessed,” Christensen said. “It’s a community Day of Prayer, so we’ll just go through, praying for everything from personal repentance to all these other things.”

Dorman, a youth pastor at Grace Life Church, is expected to lead a youth worship band at the event.

“We’re going to have hymns and contemporary music,” Wing said. “There will be a mixture at the service.”

When the organizers got together to make decisions and assign roles to volunteers recently, it was clear that they were all very passionate about the event, especially in regards to including as many people as they possibly can in the joint Day of Prayer.

“We’ve contacted a lot of churches and the Marshall Area Ministerial Association (MAMA), too,” said Knudson, the Southwest Minnesota field associate for Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “All have been invited through that to participate. The service is free, and there will be no offering taken. It’s just a time of prayer and a time to come together.”

For more information about the National Day of Prayer, go to www.nationaldayofprayer.org. To inquire about a bulletin insert or for more information, go to ellie@gracelifewc.com or call 507-532-3187.