Members of Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church may be in different camps for next month's presidential election, but a recent emphasis on prayer for the nation has put them in the same spiritual camp.
The emphasis, 40 Days of Prayer for Our Nation, has seen different church members submit prayers for the country each day between Friday, Sept. 28, and Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6.
"Some are short," said coordinator Donna Peterson, chairwoman of the church's evangelism ministry. "Some are kind of long, but they are just such fantastic prayers."
The writers, she said, are high school students through senior citizens, men and women, and pastors and lay members.
The prayers are available daily to members via email, website (www.signalpre.org) or Prayer Place telephone line (886-2160, Monday-Friday), Peterson said. Even nonmembers can request inclusion by emailing Stacy McKinney at the church office (email@example.com).
"There are different ways we tried to saturate this," she said.
Peterson said she and coordinator Peggy LaRochelle gave each person who agreed to participate simple guidelines, including the acronym ACTS (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication) prayer model.
"We [didn't] tell them what to pray," she said. "Some prayed about the election of leaders, some military, some family, some homes. We didn't have to tell them [to be] nonpartisan. They all knew that."
The economic downturn, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other issues have given the last four years "such a level of concern and anxiety," Peterson said.
"Any national election [is] terribly important," she said. "There is a sense, though, the country is getting so divided."
The church's Marr Chapel also is open daily between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for personal or group prayer.
Peterson said for those who want to pray for the nation but aren't quite sure how to start, the chapel's back table has a guide with simple instructions and the photos of leaders from the White House to the Signal Mountain Town Council.
While literature sent to members suggests they might both pray and fast, Peterson said the fasting hasn't been pushed.
"We've put the emphasis on the prayers," she said, "but it's up to the individuals."
Signal Mountain Presbyterian member Julie Perez, 41, said her prayer was basically "my own observations of our culture and our country about where I thought prayer was needed."
The process itself, she said, "is a wonderful way to be involved actually in the political process" and in observing "God's hand and watching to see what he will do."
On Sunday, Nov. 4, at 5 p.m., the Sunday before the election, the church will host a prayer service in Marr Chapel. The public is invited.
Contact Clint Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6497.
Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...