Montco's faithful unite in prayer on National Day of Prayer

NORRISTOWN — Dozens of Montgomery County’s faithful gathered Thursday outside the courthouse and united in prayer with others coast to coast in observance of National Day of Prayer.

“This country was birthed in prayer and prayer is part of the tapestry of this great nation,” Byron Battle, the local coordinator of the National Day of Prayer event for the greater Norristown area, said after county courthouse workers and downtown visitors gathered at noon for the observance on a courthouse plaza in the shadow of the county’s Sept. 11 memorial sculpture.

Each year, the President designates the first Thursday in May as National Day of Prayer for people of all faiths to pray.

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“Prayer is a gift from God. It is the means by which God has given us to commune with him in worship and to invoke his blessings,” Battle said as he addressed the crowd, many of whom also carried American flags.

The local observance included the reading of Scripture. Battle also spoke about the significance of the annual event when millions of America’s faithful, regardless of religion or creed, gather at public places nationwide to pray for the country.

“Days of prayer have been called since 1775. The Continental Congress designated a time for prayer in forming the new nation,” Battle said. “On many occasions throughout America’s history there have been times of prayer.”

Spectators bowed their heads or held hands as prayers of comfort, thanks and hope were offered for the nation, government, educators, business leaders and military members. The Rev. David McKinley of Central Schwenkfelder Church, Lansdale, and Father Gus Puleo of St. Patrick Church, Norristown, participated in the observance.

Vocalist Robin Smith performed during the half-hour observance.

Battle said he hopes those who attended left with a feeling of strength and an understanding of the historical significance of the day.

Follow Carl Hessler Jr. on Twitter @MontcoCourtNews