The weather was perfect. The sun was out, but so was the breeze. An event was taking place in downtown Sarasota this morning, May 5, 2011. JD Hamel Park, located west of Tamiami Trail across from the famous kissing statue, nurse and soldier of WW Two fame and Marina Jack’s, was the venue of the National Day of Prayer Sarasota.
In 1952, Billy Graham spearheaded an idea that was finally instituted in 1988 by Presidential Proclamation: “to set aside the first Thursday in May every year as a National Day of Prayer, on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups and as individuals.”
So it was today. Dr. Clairie Monokian, author of ‘Set Free from Abuse,’ and Rock Ministries has chaired the event with her husband, Dr. Mike Monokian, for many years. The amplitheater stage was arrayed with the American flag, the Christian flag, podium and banner. At 9:45 a.m. the podium was open for people to read scripture until the noon hour when the program began.
On cue, the Sarasota Military Academy marched in with their bagpipes and drums. This brought all eyes to the center where they set the stage for what was to come. As they retreated, large banners cris crossed from the spectator seating to the stage area. There they stood at attention as the smaller flags came forth led by Barbara Nelson, Tsunami Glory Ministries. Today’s flagers were an eclectic team from several churches. Pastor David McCoy from River’s Edge, Renae Little, Sandra Helms from Christian Family Fellowship, Judy Yancey from Myakka Family Worship Center, Donna Scott, Karen Andrews from Victory Sarasota, and Gay Stoughton from church on the Rock South all came forth with a mission. Every wave of the flags were a declarative of to whom ‘we’ belong, The movements were a part of spiritual warfare designed to create an open Heaven for the prayers to ascend unobstructed. After each speaker made his petition, the sound of the shofar was heard, blown by Rev. Deborah Zoe Miller. The flag team would accompany the shofar to usher in each speaker.
Opening prayer was offered by Georgie Alfano, Veteran of the Year. She is also female, which made this title even more prestigious. Carolyn Mason, County Commissioner, followed her praying for the judicial system, prisons, courts, law enforcement and fire departments. Rev. Dan Nawaro from Living Sanctuary church, prayed for national and local government officials, including President Obama, and the nation. Father Jon Roberts from Good Shepherd Episcopal, prayed for churches and synagogues.
Dwayne Geib from Cornerstone Church played his guitar and sang. Yancey Mosley prayed for blessings on businesses. Rabbi Judah Hungerman from Beth Messiah Synagogue prayed for unity, forgiveness, peace for all cultures and families of this nation. He also prayed for a clearer understanding of the Judaic roots in Christianity, and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. He was followed by Robert Hagemann, from Church of the Holy Spirit, who prayed for schools, school boards, students and education in general.
David Pavkovich from Church of the Cross, offered up a song accompanied by his guitar. Rev. Gene Mathis from Restoration Fellowship took the offering. He was followed by Rev. Brian Gibbs from Victory of Sarasota, who led the crowd in prayers of repentance, but also forgiveness. He also came against witchcraft in the nation. Rev. Steve Coder from The Barn prayed for spiritual awakening in the Media and for protection over the armed forces.
Dr. Mike Monokian from Rock Ministries, led the assembly in communion and declarations. He and his wife announced that this year was their last year to orchestrate this event, and they passed the baton to Rev. Brian Gibbs from Victory of Sarasota.
The event closed with a song from Jeff Swartz. American flags were passed out earlier and the crowd entered in with great fanfare and flag waving.
God Bless America.