Pastor Blair Bradley stood in front of his small congregation and painted a bleak picture about the immediate future. "These are powerful days that we're involved in right now," he said. "Days of turmoil. Days of war. Days of dying. Days of killing."
The powerful words echoed through the pews of the Gulfport church. Seconds later, the pastor used words of the gospel to comfort his congregation. "We've gathered together this morning for one reason, to cry out to God for mercy," he said.
Eight people attended the morning prayer service. They all had a chance to pray out loud so God could hear them. "We need you Lord," one woman said. "We need you more than ever right now."
Most of the congregants at Covenant of Peace Church worshipped on their knees. They often stretched their arms to the heavens and asked for salvation. "Lord, our hearts are heavy this morning," said one parishioner. Hallelujah could be heard in the distance. A young gentleman then took the microphone and pleaded for God to help the troops. "Do whatever it takes God," he exclaimed. "Do whatever it takes."
This was their chance to pray for the troops about to enter Iraq, and pray for peace. "I pray father, Lord, that there would be no war," said a veteran of past conflicts.
Another man used his time with the mic to remind God why America had troops in the Middle East. "Lord, it isn't about who we're there to kill and the oil, Lord," he said. "It's about who we can help, Lord."
With that in mind, some of the worshippers even prayed for Saddam Hussein. A woman who called herself a reformed sinner pleaded with God to have Saddam Hussein follow the path she chose. "Lord, if you could just save this man, God," she said, walking up and down an aisle. "Lord, if you could just touch his heart. Lord, nothing is impossible with you father. Hallelujah."
One of the worshippers said she came to this service because in her heart, she thought it would help her cope with the impending war. She wasn't disappointed, and neither were the other congregants who gave emotional testimonials at this service.