Day of Prayer observed at Carter County Courthouse

By Greg Miller

The Carter County Courthouse on Thursday became a court of praise, prayer, and worship as local residents observed the National Day of Prayer.
   Rev. Steve Witt, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church and outgoing president of the Carter County Ministerial Association (CCMA), welcomed the audience and played an excerpt from the "Let Freedom Ring" video.
   Afterward, Witt prayed, then John Williams, youth pastor of First Baptist Church, Jonesborough, led the audience in singing worship songs. Various area pastors said prayers of thanksgiving and petition during the rest of the observance.
   In his prayer, the Rev. Buford Hankins, pastor of First United Methodist Church, acknowledged that America has received great blessings by God's hand.
   After Harold Lingerfelt led the audience in praying "The Lord's Prayer," Rev. Tony Trott, pastor of Union Hill Free Will Baptist Church, thanked God for our freedom as a nation. "Lord, I believe that many of the freedoms that we have is because we have been the greatest sending nation of the gospel in the history of the world," he said.
   Rev. Peter Pollard, pastor of Union Baptist Church, Hampton, acknowledged God as sovereign in his prayer. "Father, God, we come to you, Lord. We know you are the creator of all things. You've allowed many nations to be built up. You've seen many nations crumble as well. We know our great nation was only built because of our forefathers and their love for you and their desire to have their religious freedom. You've allowed this country not only to be birthed, but to grow to a magnificent number because they sought your will," he said.
   "Lord, I thank you for the freedom that we have in this country," prayed Mr. Greg Key, the minister at West Side Christian Church. "We thank you especially for the freedom we have in Christ. The freedom to come before you, to come before your throne. Today, we come humbly before you, Lord. Humbly, because we know we've sinned. Humbly, because we need you. Your grace. We need your Spirit. Lord, as we pray, we ask, we plead for your Spirit. We plead for your revival. Begin with me, Lord. Change my heart. Lead me closer to you. Your Word has promised that if we grow close to you, that you will grow close to us ... It's you that we need as individuals. It's you that we need as a community, as a country, as a world. Pour out your love. Pour out your grace and mercy upon us, Lord, and teach us what it means to follow you."
   "Lord, we pray for obedience in our personal lives, in our families, in our churches, for your will," Witt prayed. "Lord, the Christian life is impossible to live inside of our own abilities and strength, but Father, we realize we can do all things through you who strengthens us. Lord, we're praying for a miracle. Father, we realize that bullets and tanks and guns are not going to be the final answer to freeing the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, but God, it is your gospel that will free them. Lord, we're afraid to say that because it's so politically incorrect. Your Word says that you are the way, the truth and the life and that no man can come to the Father except he come by you. Lord, help us as a Christian nation to proclaim that message to those folks throughout the world and here at home who don't know you as their lord and savior."
   The Rev. Luis O'Bourke, who will serve as CCMA's next president, expressed thanks to God for the Elizabethton/Carter County area. "... We thank you for this community. We're so grateful that you have allowed us to live in a place like this where freedom can truly be exercised. We pray that we would not take that for granted. We pray that we might take full advantage of the freedoms that we have here in Elizabethton and Carter County to share your Word with people, to stand up for what is right."
   After the concluding prayer, Williams led the audience in singing "You Are Holy."