South Mississippi Residents Gather For Prayer

Americans everywhere turned to their faith Friday, seeking comfort and strength in this time of national tragedy.

Churches and synagogues opened their doors to observe the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance called for by President Bush. Over the noon hour, thousands of South Mississippians filled houses of worship. They offered prayers and paused to remember the many victims.

President Bush urged Americans to take time out to pray for their country.

The sounds of "Amazing Grace" echoed through the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church in downtown Biloxi. Rev. Frank Burton spoke of seeking comfort from God.

"The people of faith come together to offer comfort and strength that comes from our God."

He also reminded those here that human words can only convey a small part of the emotion and feeling that we all experience.

"Almighty God can convey to us the healing, the comfort and the hope that our battered spirits need."

Those who took time for prayer and reflection this day found support in coming together and sharing their grief experience as Americans.

"I was listening to Billy Graham when I left to come here, and he hit it right on the button," Biloxi resident Bobbie Taylor said. "He said we need more of this."

The community of faith also filled the sanctuary over the noon hour at Our Lady of Fatima.

"Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses," prayed the people gathered there.

The standing room only crowd prayed together, relying on their foundation of faith to carry them through the latest pains of the present world. They turned to a higher power for immediate comfort and eternal hope.

Rev. Patrick Mockler urged Americans to unite.

"We're united by the fact that we're Americans. I'm an American by choice. Very proud of it. And it's time now we pull together, pray together and ask God to bless America."