Capitol Campus rally aims to harness power of prayer - Hundreds gather as part of national effort to influence leaders, groups



Olympia, WA - They prayed for President Bush, Gov. Gary Locke and other elected leaders. They also prayed for churches, schools, families and the media.

About 200 people turned out Thursday afternoon for a local National Day of Prayer observance near Tivoli Fountain on the Capitol Campus.

The service drew participants mostly from Olympia, Tacoma and Seattle. It had a rousing, revival type of feel. Many participants danced, sang, held their arms toward the sky and shouted "Hallelujah" and "Amen" throughout the service.

"We believe that prayer undergirds those who are called to public service," organizer Diana Wakefield said. "This is a positive way to let our leaders know that we care about them."

The National Day of Prayer was established by Congress in 1952 and signed by President Truman as an official annual observance. Groups from all over the country organized noontime prayer services at state capitols, county courthouses, city halls and other public places.

This year, groups were encouraged to read "Prayer for the Nation," written by Barry Black, chaplain for the U.S. Senate.

Olympia's service lasted more than two hours and featured five prayer increments on various "freedom points" -- government, media, education, church and family -- mixed in with sets of gospel music.

"Folks, the soul of our nation is in trouble," said the Rev. Scott Crawford, pastor of Parkland First Baptist Church in Tacoma, who read the names of more than 50 state and federal officials. "We want to lift up our nation's leaders."

The Rev. Pana Mamea from Hilltop Christian Center led prayers about the media -- and encouraged people to use newspapers, television and the Internet to spread the gospel.

"Thank God he has provided a means for us to understand each other better," Mamea said.

The Rev. Marty Johnson of Spanaway Christian Center prayed against school violence, which he said is the result of removing church from schools.

And the Rev. Lisa Taylor of Lion of Judah Church in Tacoma prayed for what she called, "God's kind of family."

Thom Pickard, 35, of Tumwater brought his 5-year-old twins, Sydney and Quinn, to the service.

"We believe that our nation needs prayer and that our leaders need prayer," he said. "And they need to be strengthened in the Lord. They need to know Christians are supporting them."



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