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The Carthage Press
  • More than 100 gather on Square to pray

  • Community and church leaders, school children and residents gathered on the south lawn of the Jasper County Courthouse on Thursday for a service marking the 63rd annual National Day of Prayer.
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  • Community and church leaders, school children and residents gathered on the south lawn of the Jasper County Courthouse on Thursday for a service marking the 63rd annual National Day of Prayer.
    More than 100 people watched from the audience as five ministers and five officials from the county, city, school district and business community asked for God's guidance and blessing.
    Students from St. Ann's Catholic School sang God Bless America and another tune and organizer Regina Shank, with the River Street Gathering and Dustin Ledford pastor of the Carthage Nazarene Church and president of the Carthage Ministerial Alliance spoke about why everyone was there.
    Ledford said he'd never seen such a big crowd for a Carthage Day of Prayer service.
    "Today was a record and as I looked across the sea of people my heart was encouraged because it is so easy to become discouraged and have a little despair come in," Ledford said. "Today, a lot of hope came to my heart as I looked across the courthouse lawn to see the great group of people gathered together."
    The pastors of different churches prayed for different things, while the officials prayed for the community elements they represented.
    Carthage Assistant Superintendent Mark Baker prayed for schools; Sheriff Randee Kaiser and Police Chief Greg Dagnan prayed for law enforcement; Vickie Watson, a volunteer at the River Street Gathering and a government employee, prayed for civil government; Carthage Chamber of Commerce President Mark Elliff prayed for the business community and Fire Chief Chris Thompson prayed for public safety workers.
    Fairview Christian Pastor John Mouton prayed for life; Lt. Julie Trapp, with the Carthage Salvation Army, prayed for the Word of God; Regina Shank, senior leader at the River Street Gathering, prayed for prayer; Pastor Jerry Davis, with the Faith Life Worship Center, prayed for marriage and Pastor Larry Graham, with the Grace Pointe Assembly, prayed for purity.
    "It was such a great event because prayer is key to transforming people's lives and transforming a nation," Shank said. "We were so honored to have it today on the courthouse lawn.
    "It was wonderful to see people come to this. I believe people are understanding the power of prayer and the privileges that we have in this nation and they want to take advantage of that. This was a wonderful day to do so."

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