“When a crisis happens, people want hope — and we know where they can find hope,” said Anthony Gilbreath, president of the Greater Jasper Area Ministerial Association.
The local gathering was part of “Cry Out America,” a collaboration of 2,400 churches that organized more than 900 events at courthouses across the country.
The group’s website states, “All of us were awakened to the new reality of global terrorism (on Sept. 11). [Ten] years later our nation needs to be awakened again, not just to the threats of terrorism, but to our critical spiritual condition.”
“Cry Out America” is an outreach program of the Awakening America Alliance. According to its website, the Alliance aims to collaborate through prayer and action to impact the nation’s non-Christian population.
The group’s website states that its purpose is to “issue a wake-up call for revival in the church and a Christ awakening in the nation by utilizing unified activity, various forms of media, and highly visible events.”
At the local prayer gathering, State Sen. Greg Reed (R-Jasper) made the opening statements and requested a round of applause to honor the first responders and military personnel in the crowd.
Members of the Walker High School Junior ROTC program held a presentation of colors during the event and led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Jack Baldwin, pastor of the Jasper First Christian Church, told those gathered in downtown Jasper that the country must have a “cultural renewal to God’s call of love and hope.”
Area ministers also led the crowd in a rendition of “America” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Lloyd Jenkins, pastor of The Oasis Church, read a piece entitled, “Church Prayer of Repentance.”
“For the failure to protect the unborn, We repent,” the prayer stated. “For the legal and legislative attack on the family, the failure of our own homes in the church, We repent. For the easy access to drugs and mind-bending chemicals, We repent. For schools without prayer and Biblical values, We repent. For music and art, for entertainment values so void of moral substance, We repent. Forgive us, O God, and increase our capacity to actively and openly trust in you. Amen.”
Another area minister shared quotes from presidents, from Thomas Jefferson to George W. Bush, in which the leaders voiced the strong influence of Christianity on the nation. One of them was from Ronald Reagan, “We expect Him to protect us in crises, but turn away from Him too often in our day-to-day living. I wonder if He isn't waiting for us to wake up.”
Cynthia Patton, organizer of the local prayer event, looked over the crowd Sunday and said, “I just see happy Christians, people who care about their community and their country.”