The crowd gathered around the steps of Washington County Courthouse in downtown Jonesborough Tuesday clapped and rejoiced in a unified “Amen” as speaker Helen Conger gave her testimonial of prayer during the National Day of Prayer Service saying, “God answers prayers. It’s not always like you want it and it’s not always on time. He’s not in a hurry sometimes.”
The audience of around 50 people congregated at noon to listen as U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge and others led local residents in the nationally recognized prayer service.
Susan Gibson was situated on the ledge beside the courthouse steps, listening with others as prayers were proclaimed for churches, family, education, media, businesses, military and the government.
A member of Central Christian Church in downtown Johnson City, Gibson said she and others helped plan the service through the Jonesborough Area Ministerial Association.
She said one of her favorite talks during the service Tuesday was Conger’s testimonial.
“I really enjoyed listening to Mrs. Conger,” Gibson said. “I talk to her often and she’s just a real sweetheart. I enjoyed hearing her testimony.”
She said while people have different concerns and political opinions of the country, the themed prayers proclaimed at the service unified those in attendance.
“My political opinion may not be your political opinion. It divides people,” Gibson said. “Something like this draws people back together. We remember that it’s not just us as individuals, it’s us as a community, a community of God. I was just blessed by ... everybody that was here.”
Russell Payne, district minister for the Southeastern District Church of the Brethren, was part of the audience Tuesday, praying and holding hands as prayers were being sent up for the country.
One of the things he said about the service was that it fostered a positive atmosphere for all.
“I didn’t hear a lot of negative things today. It was just positive, rather than putting down other people,” Payne said.
He said he enjoyed seeing a mix of ministers and speakers from different denominations leading the prayers at the service.
“Out in the audience where we were, we were ... just hearing prayers of agreement ... people that I believe are sincerely desiring to see America turn more toward God. We need those prayers in every facet of our lives in America,” Payne said. “I was just inspired by everyone and the feeling of unity.”
A call to prayer was led by Matthew Miller and the invocation was delivered by Jeremy Dykes at the beginning of the service.
Members of David Crockett High School’s Navy JROTC presented the colors, Washington County Clerk Kathy Storey led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and Steve Ferguson sang “God Bless America.”
Speakers for the time of prayer included Dr. James Harrison, Ed Wolff, Vincent Dial, Tammy Wright, Allen Huff, Bob Roberson and Jeff Keeling.