Prayer rally set for Thursday morning at courthouse

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 | 8:09 p.m. CDT; updated 7:51 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

COLUMBIA — Prayer is expected to draw hundreds of Columbians to rally at the Boone County Courthouse at 11:30 Thursday morning. Similar events centered around prayer will happen across the country today as part of the 57th Annual National Day of Prayer.

Jeffrey Huffman, of Family Worship Center and the courthouse rally coordinator, said he looks forward to seeing area churches come together.

Columbia pastors and others will lead prayer at the rally, including Fire Battalion Chief James Weaver and First Ward Councilman Paul Sturtz. Col. Jim Coy, a retired military officer, will be leading a prayer for the troops.

In addition to prayer, the Christian Fellowship School Choir and the Boone County Fire Protection District Pipes and Drums will perform. Caleb Rowden, a national recording artist and worship leader at Christian Chapel Church, will lead in worship during the event.

The theme for this year’s National Day of Prayer is “Prayer! America’s Strength and Shield” and is based on the Bible verse Psalm 28:7, which states: “The Lord is my strength and shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped.”

For anyone unable to attend the rally, the Evangelical Free Church, 600 Silvey St., is opening its doors from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. to anyone in the community who wants “a quiet place to pray for our nation during the day,” said Nancy Boote of E-Free Church.

“It’s easy to say, ‘Oh, we’ll pray for our nation,’ but we’re encouraging people to put words into action, and we’re giving people an opportunity to do that,” Boote said.

At the national level, there is controversy over exactly who has the opportunity to participate in the National Day of Prayer.

Jews on First is spearheading an “Inclusive National Day of Prayer” campaign because the organization thinks the observation has been “hijacked” by evangelicals, USA Today reported in its Friday edition. Evangelicals are upset because the honorary chairman of this year’s National Day of Prayer campaign, Ravi Zacharias, refuses to mention the name of Jesus in his official prayer, saying he doesn’t want to be too exclusive.

“I don’t think anyone should feel excluded from praying for our nation because we are one nation under God,” Boote said.

For more information on the Columbia rally, go to the event Web site at

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