Group gathers to pray for the nation

Photos by Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Joni Pinkstaff, right, Carol Bolling, and Norma Wibbeler, all of Huntingburg, bow their heads during the community prayer service at Maple Grove Campground in Huntingburg on Wednesday. The service was organized by Cathy Meyer of Huntingburg to pray for unity in the nation.


HUNTINGBURG — “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20 (NIV)

About 40 people gathered at the Maple Grove Campground Wednesday evening to pray.

They prayed for healing, comfort, unity.

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“We’ve become a nation that’s divided, and it seems that evil is running rampant,” said Cathy Meyer, the organizer of Wednesday’s prayer meeting. “But this didn’t just happen with this killing of George Floyd, although that is what has set things off now. We have been experiencing a moral breakdown for years. And we have slowly been taking God out of almost every equation of our lives, and especially our national fabric.”

Cathy was inspired to hold the meeting after hearing a speaker on the news Sunday morning, before she went out on her walk.

“He said, ‘We need to pray.’ He said that we need the Holy Spirit to come down and we need to pray,” she recalled. “He kept emphasizing that over and over.”

While she was on her walk, Cathy kept thinking about his words and knew that he was right.

“And then it hit me,” she said, “the verse about ‘where two or more are gathered’ came to my mind. And I thought, ‘Okay, Lord.’”

Elizabeth Elshoff of Huntingburg, right, sits during the community prayer service at Maple Grove Campground in Huntingburg on Wednesday.

She talked about it with her Sunday school class at St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church in Holland; the class had started meeting again recently. The class was on board to help. When discussing where to have it, the Maple Grove campground — just southwest of Huntingburg’s city limits off County Road 585 West — came to Cathy’s mind. So she talked to a member of the board that takes care of the site and got permission.

She spread the word about the meeting through social media and word of mouth.

“I wanted anyone who feels moved and who feels distraught about what’s going on now to be able to express their prayers,” Cathy said. “This is for Jesus’ glory. This is for Him, because He is the only one who can bring this country out of what is going on right now.”

The prayer meeting was relaxed. People greeted each other, especially the ones they knew from church or their neighborhoods. They spaced out some, adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Some couples held hands. Parents brought their children, who sat on blankets. There were seniors as well, many who donned face masks. Most people brought their lawn chairs; some sat on the wooden benches already at the campground.

All listened tentatively. Most chose to pray quietly in their space.

Sara Kahle, Huntingburg, chose to stand and pray out loud. She thanked God for organizing the gathering and she prayed for the country’s healing.

Cassie Heile, left, her son, Luke, 6, and Brady Blackgrove, 5, all of Holland, sit during the community prayer service at Maple Grove Campground in Huntingburg on Wednesday.

“Prayer is so important right now,” she said. “It’s super important for us to talk to God about our nation.”

Kahle brought with her four young people from her church, Holland United Methodist Church. “We wanted to make sure we brought our youth along, so that they can see how important prayer is as well,” she said.

Cathy also shared a prayer. Before she prayed, she told the group that God was the only one who could heal the country.

“We’ve come to get back to God in repentance and praise, and ask for His help in the healing of our nation,” she said. “And we hope that in the end of this service we will all go away with a renewed sense of God’s presence in our lives and in the country.”

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:13-16 (ESV)

St. James Pastor David Darling led the meeting, and also shared a prayer with the group. In it, he appealed to God: “Open our hearts to work toward the love of one another. Help us to reach out, to be Your hands and feet, so that all may know Your love, and we can bring unity back into this broken world.”

About 40 attendees listen at the community prayer service at Maple Grove Campground in Huntingburg on Wednesday.

He was glad how the event turned out. “Bringing people together in this time is needed,” he said. “Together, we can heal our nation.”

Diana Wright of Huntingburg was glad the prayer meeting was organized. She has come out to the campground since she was a child. And with the virus, she has been missing her church family.

“We need to remember that we’re all God’s children,” she said through her mask. “And God doesn’t make junk. We are all God’s children.”

Diana believes in the power of prayer. “We should all pray for peace and pray for the love of Jesus to be in our hearts,” she said, “so that we can show that love to others. If we love, we can save the world.

Cathy hopes that others will be inspired to hold other community prayer sessions.

“It would be wonderful if this turned into something that happens once a month,” she said. “If it gets others in different communities going, that would be great. It would be good to see more prayer services.”

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