Holmes National Day of Prayer promotes united front

Holmes National Day of Prayer promotes united front

The Holmes County National Day of Prayer event that took place Thursday, May 4 at Skyview Ranch presented a chance for the people to take a leading role in offering up prayer for the community, nation and world.


When more than 60 people united at Skyview Ranch’s activity center for the National Day of Prayer on May 4, the annual event took on a bit of a different twist.

Rather than have area pastors pray throughout the service, the task of presenting prayer was taken to the people.

When Faith Bible Church in Millersburg Pastor Mike Stinson assumed the leadership role in this annual event, he felt it needed a new direction. One of the things he felt called to do was get the public more involved.

Pastor Larry Hasemeyer of Gateway Fellowship had been spearheading the event for the past couple years, but when he was laid up with medical issues, he turned the reins over to Stinson.

The first thing Stinson did was move the venue from the courthouse lawn in Millersburg into the activity center at Skyview Ranch.

“The last couple of years it has threatened to rain, so I figured we shouldn’t have to worry about that,” Stinson said.

He wanted to find a neutral site with no single church affiliation, and Skyview Ranch provided the perfect setting, accommodating both an indoor facility and a nonaffiliated site.

“So often we get caught up in trivial things within the various churches that we don’t agree on rather than focusing on the concept that we all serve one mighty God,” Stinson said. “The hope through National Day of Prayer is to commune as one body and one church, even though we are many churches.”

As for the usual format, the event used to feature numerous pastors praying for specific topics within the community, nation and world. Stinson said that was fine, but he wanted to get the public more heavily involved, so he took the prayer aspect to the people.

In doing so, he referenced scripture from Ephesians 6:10-18 that talks about putting on the full armor of God so the church can take a stand against the devil’s schemes. The scripture talks about standing firm with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place and your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

Each of these themes became a prayer point for the group as those in attendance prayed.

Mixed in among the prayer time were moments of praise and worship music.

“We wanted everyone to be a part of investing in time of prayer,” Stinson said. “We wanted people to participate, not just spectate, and it created an incredible presence.”

Stinson said there were several area churches represented in the leadership of the program and even more church representation in attendance in the audience.

He said listening to the prayers being lifted up was an inspiring moment and accomplished everything he had hoped it would when he came up with the idea of a more inclusive time of prayer. He said people of all ages and from every denomination prayed during the time, and he said one as young as 7 led in prayer at one time.

“It was a special time, and I thought it really exemplified the beauty of the church body as a whole when we put aside our differences and all come together,” Stinson said.

He went on to talk about how the world is so politically divided right now, with everyone wanting to push people into various pockets and divisive units throughout the country. He said what was needed was for people to see the church is here, not to pull apart but to gather together in unity.

“Our community faith leaders all feel that while the world is pulling itself apart politically, we need to be part of the healing process that brings people back together,” Stinson said. “So oftentimes our churches are seen as having spats and splits and not getting along. We need to unify and paint a picture of God’s people serving together for the glory of God. When the world looks at us and sees our faith and asks, ‘Why should I follow you and your gospel,’ we need to be able to show them that there is a glorious truth and purpose, and in order to do that, we have to show people that we are united in our belief that we serve one great God.”

The National Day of Prayer was another step in the community faith leadership teams coming together as one to promote unity in faith. This comes on the heels of several other events that also have presented that same idea, and Stinson said the more those on the outside of the faith community witness the joy, love and unity of the church as one, the more apt they’ll be to accept an invitation to ask what makes faith so special.

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