‘We can’t do it alone'
Local pastors asked for God’s blessings, but also called on believers to pursue repentance, revival and right relationships, during the city’s annual National Day of Prayer event Thursday.
Leading a community prayer in front of the War Memorial on the lawn of the Sanford Municipal Center off Weatherspoon Street, the Rev. Bruce MacInnes, along with Mayor Chet Mann, stressed the need for divine intervention during difficult times.
Mann said that despite the community’s many blessings and accomplishments, there were still ongoing struggles — including pain, violence, recession, unemployment and even gridlock among elected bodies. Even though the community had come together in difficult times and moved past tragedies, there was a still a need, he said, for intervention.
“We must look to God and faith,” Mann said. “We can’t do it alone.”
MacInnes, pastor of Turner’s Chapel and the local organizer for National Day of Prayer, told the nearly 90 people assembled for the event the story of the Apostle Peter from the book of Acts in the New Testament. Peter was imprisoned in Jerusalem by King Herod and held for trial. Herod intended to bring Peter to judgment, but the local church prayed to God on Peter’s behalf.
“What would we do?” MacInnes asked, speculating that in our day, some might write their Congressman, some might go to the media or appear on talk shows to show their outrage.
Peter’s brethren instead prayed and faced the crisis with faith, coming together to ask specifically for God to get Peter out of prison.
“They prayed for his release,” MacInnes said. “It was what they wanted to see, and they prayed for it.”
And because the prayers were made with passion and fervor, MacInnes said, they were answered.
Prayer is an audience with the Father, and while believers have a right to ask and to petition God, MacInnes reminded listeners of something he himself tried to keep in mind about prayer.
“‘When man works, man works,’” MacIness said, repeating a quote about prayer he’d read many years ago. “‘When man prays, God works.’ Some things can’t be solved by us, but only by God.”
Eight other local clergymen also spoke and prayed during the 45-minute long event, most asking for God’s blessing on and guidance for local, state and national leaders, and thanking God for the freedom and liberties we enjoy in the United States. But many also called for repentance, for church leaders to be more bold about what they teach and proclaim, and for revival and for believers to truly be “salt and light” in a world going dark with sin.
The Rev. Dale Sauls of San-Lee Chapel implored those in attendance to remember God’s call for believers to live holy lives, and also prayed specifically for the young people in Lee County who have struggled in the face of recent acts of violence in our community.
Others praying were George Akers Jr. of First Apostolic Church, Mary Graham of Trinity Outreach Ministry, Curtis Norris of Calvary Missionary Methodist, Robbie Gibson of East Sanford Baptist Church, Jeff Chappell of New Life Praise Church, Mark Akinosho, a member of the Lee County Board of Education and pastor of Truebread Fellowship Church, and Matt Martin of Cool Springs Baptist Church.
MacInnes said he and a number of local pastors were meeting every other week to specifically pray for the city of Sanford, asking for revival in the community. Requesting that Mann stand beside him, MacInnes concluded the event by praying for members of the Sanford City Council, for the county’s board of commissioners, for the Lee County Board of Education, and for local pastors, teachers and community and business leaders, asking that they and members of the community would seek God now and in the days ahead.