Many are remembered on day of prayer

They prayed for marriages. They prayed for children and schools. They prayed for college graduates, people dealing with mental illness, those affected by domestic violence, for the community, its leaders, and more. They prayed for peace in our world.

Scores of people came to Wilton Library’s Brubeck Room on May 4 for a service for the National Day of Prayer. The event was hosted by Morning Meditations with Sisters in Community, a local prayer group that meets every Wednesday at the home of Adrienne Reedy. She has arranged the service in Wilton for several years.

“My door is always open on Wednesday morning for women to come and pray,” she said. “Where in the world would I be without God’s unmerited love and grace.”

Reedy invited Stamford pastor Jean Luc Charles as the guest speaker, who broke down the words national, day, and prayer.

About the word national, he said, “I could not help but think about the world we are in today.” Calling it a word that “brought us all in,” he said it also “demonstrates our current fragmentation, demonstrates our current division, demonstrates all of the ways in which we are not necessarily living up to what it means to be one nation.

“More than ever we are recognizing and are increasingly aware of the deep differences and the stark divisions that divide us, and we ask, ‘What does it mean to be one nation?’”

Nation is not a “far-flung, abstract ideal,” he said, but “when people gather, they are practicing what it means to be a nation.”

“What it means to be a nation is what it means to exhibit the practices of the people,” he said. “The day-to-day activity that allows for flourishing, and that’s where our ideal resides.”

Prayer is such a practice in such a gathering. Although there is a National Day of Prayer, he said the sentiment must last for more than just one day. “We cannot live our lives in deep compartmentalization. We cannot keep our lives in separate boxes.” The values exhibited on this day must be exhibited every day, he said, “particularly on those days that are most challenging … every day should be a day of prayer.”

Because we live in communities where people care for one another, we should offer prayers of Thanksgiving, he said, but added that Jesus also offered prayers for his enemies.

“Perhaps this a day we should recognize that prayer for our enemies betters ourselves,” he said.

Following his talk, 12 guests walked to the stage and offered prayers as an acolyte lit a candle for each.

“May each child and youth speak and walk upright with integrity,” prayed Lisa Stevens.

YMCA Executive Director Bob McDowell prayed for college graduates “to make good decisions and avoid temptations … to have the boldness to stand up for what is right.”

The Rev. Anne Coffman of Wilton Presbyterian Church prayed that victims of domestic violence “receive the peace that allows them to heal and forgive” and know that “no weapon formed against them will prosper.” She also prayed for their abusers to not be dominated by fear and anger and instead feel peace and joy to live in harmony.

Pam Brown, director of Hillside Cemetery, prayed for national and local leaders to make decisions that are “always in the best interest of our community.”

Father Reggie Norman of Our Lady of Fatima prayed for the police, saying, “We live in safety because of their efforts. We pray every siren brings them home safely.” He added, “What good is a great school if it’s not in a safe environment?”

The Rev. Hanna Massad of Stamford was thankful for the gift of peace and prayed for people to “live by the law of love and forgiveness.”

The service closed with police Officer Anna Tornello singing the Lord’s Prayer and Reedy inviting those in the audience to submit written prayer requests.