ENID, Okla. — Hands were raised and heads were bowed as prayers, praises of worship and shouts of “amen” and “hallelujah” filled the air downtown on Thursday.
More than 100 people gathered on the Garfield County Court House lawn for National Day of Prayer, which is held on the first Thursday of May.
The turnout was “better” than it had been in the past, said LaVina Koehn, one of the leaders at Yad El Messianic Jewish Congregation, who has been coming out for National Day of Prayer “for a long time.”
Koehn said it was “wonderful” and she felt united with everyone there from various churches and denominations.
“For us to come together and encourage each other in our faith,” Koehn said of the gathering. “There’s strength in numbers … so coming together is amazing. Divided we fall, together we stand.”
Sitting next to Koehn was Frances Maddux, a member of Cedar Ridge Wesleyan Church who believes there’s “power in prayer” when Christians gather together.
The prayer gathering was sponsored by Enid Ministerial Alliance, and the 2021 event theme was based on II Corinthians 3:17 — “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.”
Pastor Mark McAdow welcomed the crowd at noon and introduced Shannen Nance and Kaitlyn Hammand, sisters who lead worship, respectively, at Willow View United Methodist Church and at Central Assembly of God.
The duo led the crowd with two songs of worship before various leaders in the community went on stage to say a prayer.
Kyle Williams, who works at Hammer-Williams, stepped up to say a prayer for Enid businesses.
“This past year has been very difficult, very difficult, Father, for many. Jesus sustained us, Lord, and we say ‘thank you’ ... Lord, we also pray today that You would bring to our community businesses and more believers, Father, as our city grows.”
Kendon Mulanax, assistant principal at Enid High School, came up next to pray for schools, thanking God for His grace and for every single staff member in the school systems who has endured, cared and shown love through “challenging times.”
“I ask You, Father, to continue blessing our public schools. I ask for administrators to have wisdom. I pray for teachers and educators to continue to build those relationships, and I pray for all of our staff to work hard together to not only educate our students, but to minister to them, to give them compassion, to be a light in a dark world, to encourage families that are going through difficult times ... We ask you bless our schools from the top all the way over and bless them continually.”
Jerald Gilbert, city manager of Enid, prayed for the United States and for government, including federal, state and local officials, and asked that God be with all leaders in the country to give them wisdom, guidance and compassion.
“We believe that you have put authorities in place, Lord, responsible to you, responsible to the people ... There’s so much division in this country, and even in this state, and even sometimes in this city and this county. We pray that you will press upon us, all of us, at every level that are leaders … And if we can remember, if it’s within our power, let’s live at peace, and let’s be in harmony ... Our city is blessed ... Help me, Lord, and help everybody. Help the city council, help the state Legislature, county commissioners, all the county officials. Help the federal government. Governing is tough business Lord. Officials don’t take it lightly, but we need help, we need guidance ... Amen.”
Alan Clepper, operations manager of KOFM-FM / KGWA-AM Williams Broadcasting, prayed for the media, including radio hosts, reporters, webcasters and those on social media, asking that they remember God.
“We should be thankful that we’ve been given the opportunity to profess our faith because we live in a country that’s free, and that they would have the courage and the strength to stand before crowds like you’ve given me the opportunity to profess my faith in Jesus Christ. I pray that they would have a bigger courage to do that not only here in Enid, Oklahoma, not only in the state of Oklahoma, not only nationally, but globally — that those believers in Christ in the media would step up, step forward and profess their faith to others and maybe, just maybe, make this world a better place.”
Greg Shamburg, CEO of Denny Price Family YMCA, said those who gathered could feel the Holy Spirit because of the wind blowing in Enid before praying for churches, thanking God for the people who make up the church.
“Ultimately, we are the church, and a virus will never shut your church down. The government will never sit your church down. Your church is going to continue to grow, continue to do your plan, even when we don’t always know the plan, but we know that you have a plan, and we know that you are in charge of this community, this country, this world. Lord, just thank you for an opportunity to have a Bible in a church in a city where we can still worship you and come together on the courthouse lawn floor.”
Matt Lohman with Hope Outreach Ministries stepped up to pray for the community and families in the community, thanking God for the freedoms, blessings and leadership in the community and praying that God continues to bless and work in areas in the community.
“Continue to help us to see people with your eyes, Lord God, not with our own selfish eyes but with yours, and Father, help us to reach out and to bless in the correct ways, with the responsibility that you lay upon us. Father, we also just want to come to you and just pray that you would just be with the families of this community ... Father, as we face difficult challenges, as Satan continues to come against our families, against our community, Lord, with his temptations and his lies, Father, we just pray that you would help us to keep our spiritual ears and spiritual eyes open and let us not be seduced by this culture and the way of the world. Lord, we just pray for your word to emanate through us. Lord, we pray that we would shine like bright lights, Lord, to all those around us that they will see a difference in their Christian families, Christian community, Lord God, that we pray that we are. And Father, we just pray that we just continue to have love. Help us to have compassion, patience, forgiveness and kindness ... Father, I just pray, again, for this community, that we would just live for you — that we would enjoy the blessings that you have for us and give you all the glory you richly deserve from it ... Amen.”
The crowd broke off for individual and small group prayers before pastor Devon Krause of Enid First United Methodist led the crowd in “The Lord’s Prayer,” which was followed by the doxology led by pastor Erik Granberg of North Garland Church of Christ.
The sisters closed the event with one more worship song, “The Lord Bless You.”