Akilah Edgerton and Katelynn Miner say a prayer for those in government.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — God bless President Donald Trump and Mayor Linda Tyer.
Those two names aren't spoken in the same sentence often. But for those gathered outside City Hall on Thursday, the focus wasn't on what divides a community, a state, or a nation.
The focus is on what unites -- love, goodness, and faith.
Pastors of a number of local faith-based organizations led a crowd of about 50 in prayer, prayers for the government, for education, for businesses, for the media, the military, the church, and for families.
"Now I think, based on what's happened in politics and different things, it is an important time for churches to be coming together, learning to figure out what we are for and not focusing on what we are against and figure out a way we can love our community together," said Tom Miyashiro, CEO of Faith 2 Faith Ministries Inc.
Miyashiro was the emcee for city's first National Day of Prayer event at which local pastors each said prayers for the various aspects of community life. The Berkshire Pastors Network has been connecting denominations of faith together to focus on the common grounds they share.
Individual churches have been getting smaller and smaller, Miyashiro said, but together they represent a large swath of the community and together they can make a difference.
"This is a national thing that has been going on for many, many years. We are just kind of taking part is something much bigger than us," he said.
Mayor Linda Tyer read a proclamation and declaring May 2, 2019, as National Day of Prayer in the city.
"This day provides the opportunity for all of us to join together in prayer, to give thanks for our blessings, to ask for healing, to help guide our leaders, and to bring peace to the nation and the world," Tyer said.
The mayor said it is important to recognize the role that prayer, churches, and congregations have on the life of a community. She recapped the history of the National Day of Prayer saying it had been created by a joint congressional resolution in 1952 and is founded on freedom of speech and freedom to worship.
"We know our prayer-keepers are so important to community life, our spiritual leaders, our congregations. It is so important to have all of you saying your prayers for all of us," Tyer said.
The pastors prayed for Tyer to make the correct decisions as they also prayed for all mayors, city councilors, legislators, first-responders, fire departments, and those in the judicial branch to be guided to make the right decisions.
"God we ask that you will guide their hearts as they lead us cities and towns to a place of restoration and transformation, a place where we can demonstrate value and respect for one another," pastor Akilah Edgerton from the New Generation Global Ministry said.
Edgerton named a number of officials specifically from Gov. Charlie Baker to Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, to Attorney General Maura Healey, to District Attorney Andrea Harrington to receive prayers and guidance.
"We pray that Massachusetts will be a place where love dwells and truth is spoken, where we love one another and lead by example for the change we wish to see," continued pastor Katelynn Miner from the Berkshire Dream Center.
The Rev. Chris Adorno from First Baptist Church of Cheshire led a prayer for the military, praying for those serving, their families at home, and the leadership that makes the decisions that could mean life or death.
"We pray for protection upon them and pray for a hedge of protection around each soldier," Adorno said.
He puts his faith that those serving are doing what they were called to do and he prayed that God stays with them all and that everybody is protected from evil.
"I pray for the leadership, those who lead the military, father God, that you give them divine inspiration, that you give them discernment, that you give them caution, that you give them everything they need to make the decisions that put lives on the line," Adorno said.
Pastor Paul Shepherd from New Life Community Fellowship reflected on the increasingly influence the media has to play and prayed that God's values and spirit shine through.
"Media is such a big part of our lives these days, moreso than in the past, and it is not going away, it is only increasing its influence in our families and in society today," Shepherd said.
Mayor Linda Tyer reads a proclamation recognizing the day.
"There are many evil things in the various media outlets that come our way each and every day, through music and movies and TV shows and Netflix and the internet and so many others, that father we ask that you would take Christians and place them in positions of authority in those channels of influence and that they would impact our culture for good."
He hopes for Christians to serve prominent roles in music and television and hope those arts are used to reflect positive values. He praised athletes such as Tim Tebow and Jeff Gordon who influence young children for vocalizing their faith and television and movie starts who do the same.
Pastor Jeff Black from New Life Community Fellowship said a prayer for the economy and businesses.
"We pray, father, that our families will benefit when a business looks for a place to locate and sees our community, sees the love we have for one another, and want to locate here, want to be here in Pittsfield and in Berkshire County because of what you've done in our hearts," Black said.
He called on God to keep harmful businesses away and prayed for support for the business owners and their families as they create jobs and other benefits for the community.
Pastor Jason Corbett from Calvary Fellowship of the Berkshires prayed for the education system, calling on teachers and administrators to reinforce the values of faith.
"We pray that you will work in their hearts and that they would understand that they need to highly value truth and not just continually debate things that don't bring any good to anybody," Corbett said.
The Rev. James Guenther from Open Door Church prayed for churches to be revived and have greater importance in the community. He also called for churches to keep focused on important things and that the scripture leads the way.
"We know that for this nation to be what it needs to be, the church need to be revived. I pray, dear God, that there will be an awakening within the churches, that there be a revival within the churches. I pray, dear God, that once again we will be focused on the message of the gospel," Guenther said.
Pastor Thiago Oliveria from Evangelistic Ministry Church prayed for families in the community.
"I pray to God heals the overwhelming amount of emotional suffering for the families of this generation. It is because of the suffering, there is so much distance between families members so I pray that this chain be broken," Oliveria said.
The prayer session lasted about a half hour in a light drizzle of rain. It was the first time the city had such a public event but other cities and towns have had large events for years.
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