Pray,Selma,pray! City turns out for faith

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 13, 2002

One after the other they walked to the front of the sanctuary in hallowed Brown Chapel AME Church to tell their stories.

One was the wife of a pastor from Mobile. One was the father of Selma’s mayor. Another was the grand-daughter of a Ku Klux Klansman from Texas.

They came from Florence and Tallahassee and Roanoke, Va., and Charlotte, N.C., and a host of other towns across the country. Most had never been to Selma before, but all said they felt certain that God had called them to be in this place on this day.

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Tuesday they gathered in Brown Chapel to share their experiences as participants in Pray Selma!, a citywide effort to cover the city with prayer.

Throughout the day teams of participants fanned out to scores of sites across the city, praying for Selma’s collective soul.

An estimated 200 to 300 teammembers from both other cities and area churches participated. Others gathered in cities across the Southeast to lift Selma up in prayer.

Fain said that local churches had organized 50 hours of continuous prayer – what he termed &uot;a wall of prayer&uot; &045;&045; in preparation for Tuesday’s activities. Other teammembers took up locations on the city’s perimeter, literally encircling the city with a hedge of prayer.

Teammembers prayed for community leaders and for community renewal. They prayed that &uot;the hatred and the hurt and the anger&uot; of the past be replaced by reconciliation and love and understanding.

The prayers were as grandiose and as simple as the people who prayed them.

Some asked that God intercede to bring economic renewal to a city and county for too long besieged by double digit unemployment. Others asked only that God reopen the two Burger Kings that closed recently because there likely were single mothers working there who needed a paycheck to feed their families.

Small is the head of International Renewal Ministries’ Project Pray Southeast. It was after attending a pastors’ prayer summit in Montgomery led by Small that the Revs. Daniel Martin and Ezekiel Pettway began enlisting other local ministers and lay people here for what was to become Pray Selma!

Small said similar efforts already have taken place abroad in such disparate places as Cali, Columbia, where more than 70,000 people gathered in a soccer stadium to pray for an end to the power of the drug cartels operating in that country, and in the Fiji Islands, where the two warring factions in that country’s longstanding civil war came together in prayer.