SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Thursday was the 64th annual National Day of Prayer. Thousands of South Mississippi believers attended noon prayer events.
"It really is an exciting time as us believers come together in unity," said organizer Ron Meyers, as he opened the prayer gathering.
Around 200 people filled the Leo Seal Plaza at Jones Park in Gulfport. Mayor Billy Hewes told the crowd it's a good thing that Congress, the state legislature and Gulfport city council open their meetings with prayer.
"We know that our faith is under attack. Our values and morals daily are under attack. So, it's up to us to carry the torch and not just talk the talk, but live as Christians in our daily lives," said Hewes.
Public safety leaders led the prayers.
"Help us to be better neighbors, friends and families. Give us courage to love our neighbors as you love each of us," said Police Chief Leonard Papania.
"When we're in trouble, be our ever present help. And when we're afraid, help us to trust in you. When our hearts grow faint, be our rock," prayed Fire Chief Mike Beyerstedt.
The crowd was a cross section of different ages, backgrounds and ethnicities united by faith.
"Because you have assured us that when people gather, two or three in your name, you are in their midst. And so Lord, we believe that you are with us," said the Rev. Joseph Uko, with St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.
Prayers were lifted for our military, our children and our leaders. Prayers for comfort and prayers for courage.
"And God, would you forgive us of our cowardice when we don't stand up to injustice, but we cower and we hide and we pretend like it's not happening," prayed the Rev. Leanne Burris, with Trinity United Methodist Church.
The theme for this year's National Day of Prayer was Lord, Hear Our Cry.