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By Panzi Blackwell
A community worship service, previously scheduled for the lawn of the Vandalia Statehouse, was held Sunday evening at First Baptist Church of Vandalia, because of the threat of rain.
It served as a kickoff for a four-day series of events leading up to the National Day of Prayer this Thursday.
Sponsored by the Vandalia Ministerial Alliance, members of several Vandalia churches participated in the service.
The Rev. Robert Weaver, pastor of First Baptist Church, welcomed those present and introduced the Bethel Baptist Church Praise Band, led by vocalist Dave Jones.
A message on the decline of our nation's morals and the need for prayer was presented by the Rev. Carl Rhodes of Northside Christian Church.
He read II Chronicles 7:14: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
Rhodes stressed that the prayer referred to is more than asking a blessing before meals. Instead, the person praying should come to God humbly, pleading from the heart. They should seek his face and repent – which means to not only turn away from sin, but to go in the opposite direction. Then God will hear their prayers and heal their land.
He also referred to Acts 11:26, where the disciples were called Christians for the first time in Antioch.
Rhodes concluded by saying that “as Christians, we do a lot of talking about prayer, but we do very little praying." He reminded the participants that there is an "if, then" condition to the outcome of our prayers.
Participants then gathered in small groups to pray.
Fifteen-minute prayer meetings were held each morning this week at different locations in Vandalia – Monday at City Hall, Tuesday at Vandalia High School and Wednesday at The Fayette County Courthouse. The National Day of Prayer Breakfast will be held at 7 a.m. Thursday at Crawford-Hale American Legion Home in Vandalia.