Hundreds of residents set aside life’s distractions for a while Thursday to pray together for Forsyth County and the nation.
As part of the National Day of Prayer, two events were held in the county.
First Baptist Cumming held a prayer luncheon, drawing about 225 people, while a group called Pray Forsyth held a vigil on the courthouse steps that evening.
“It’s great to have all kind of people coming together and praying for different special areas,” said Cole Wilkins, First Baptist’s minister of discipleship and young adults.
Participants were assigned to tables with different themes — including the military, schools, business and government — and asked to pray together for each area.
First Baptist Pastor Bob Jolly spoke briefly at the event.
“I think there’s one word that characterizes Christians today, and it’s distracted,” Jolly said. “We’re distracted by the price of gas, groceries and goods … by politics, politicians and political pundits … by crises, calamity and catastrophe … by the weak, the wayward and the wasted.”
But, he said, there’s “no greater cure for the believer’s distraction than the word of God.”
“I think our distraction would be minimized greatly if we thought seriously about what we have memorized from our youth — the Lord’s Prayer,” he said. “I think we would lessen our distraction if we would stop and think seriously about why our Lord taught us to pray this particular prayer.”
Luncheon attendees said they enjoyed the chance to gather together as a community.
“It’s great that people want our nation to still be associated with God,” said Jack Hunt, who sat at one of the event’s extra tables without a specific theme.
“Since we’re at the overflow table, we’ll be praying for everybody and everything,” he said.
Kelly Norton, a Boy Scout leader of Troop 1199, sat a table which prayed for Scouts in the community.
“As a nation, we need to be doing this more often to demonstrate to the world what we are and where we stand,” said Norton, noting that the event held special meaning for Scout leaders due to the organization’s Christian roots.
Judy Parsley, whose husband served in the military for many years, sat at a table that prayed for servicemen and women and their families.
“People don’t realize the sacrifices [families] go through when they’re overseas,” she said. “They go through a lot.”
Mary Smith said she came for the “Christian fellowship” the luncheon offered.
“It’s wonderful to have all different denominations gathered together since we’re all concerned about our nation,” she said. “It’s great for everyone to feel so welcome.”
Cebee Rehm was one of the organizers of Thursday evening’s vigil, which drew about 100 people to the courthouse.
She said people prayed for seven different areas of the community: government, military, family, education, business, media and arts.
Rehm was proud the event, now in its fifth year, was so well attended.
“It was neat seeing all ages there,” she said. “We even had some little kids.”
Terrie Caine enjoyed seeing so many from the community gathered together.
“We really need God in our country more than ever right now,” she said.
Online Editor Jim Dean contributed to this report.