Music, dance, hope fuel Day of Prayer in Youngstown

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Under the encouraging eyes of his mother, Hattie R. Hudson, 9-year-old Elisha J. Hudson reads his favorite passage from Psalm 23 that begins, “The Lord is my shepherd,” during National Day of Prayer on Thursday. Youngstown and Regional Prayer Team sponsored the event downtown with about 100 participating.

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A combination of inspirational music, interpretative dance and energizing messages uplifted about 100 participants who gathered Thursday to celebrate National Day of Prayer.

Pastor Ebenezer Appiagyei of New Hope Free Methodist Church in Warren offered the keynote address at the event staged by Youngstown and Regional Prayer Team on East Federal Street downtown.

He said many Valley residents “experienced the great days of steel,” but today people “see desolation and feel depressed.”

Pastor Appiagyei encouraged believers “that the glory of the city is still to come” and “they’re where God wants them to be.”

He said Valley residents must “put hope and confidence in the Lord,” and by doing so, God will not abandon the city and Valley.

The pastor predicted better days brought about by public and private prayer. He urged people to have a “committed relationship with God” and that will result in good things happening in the Valley.

“Hope is not found in the past but in the future,” Pastor Appiagyei said, adding it is by “coming together as people of God” this will happen.

Pastor Dan Barker of Cortland Trinity Baptist Church said, “The Valley is on the cusp of a great revival ... a prayer movement that’s part of a global movement.”

He challenged those in attendance to “adopt their street” and pray “home by home.”

He said Trumbull County Prayer Movement is poised to open a community prayer room in Warren in the next four to six weeks. The goal is have 24/7 prayer. “We want to cover the region in prayer,” Pastor Barker said.

The youngest speaker to address the crowd, 9-year-old Elisha J. Hudson, inspired those gathered with his devotion. He read his favorite passage from Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. ...”

Elisha, a third-grader at Williamson Elementary School, is a son of Hattie R. Hudson and Ernest Hudson.

“He’s a prayer warrior,” said Larry Stephens, who with his wife, Betty, are leaders of Youngstown and Regional Prayer Team.

The Bride of Christ, a group of dancers from churches in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, performed interpretative dance selections. Debra Ingram leads the dancers.

The praise team of Touch Heaven Canfield Church provided music. Samuel Torres, associate pastor and minister of worship at the church, led the group.

The Davidic Army provided the call to worship and close of the event by blowing shofars. Emma Donaldson gave the invocation, Christina Chism sang the national anthem and Eagle Scout Robert McKay led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Other prayer observances were marked by Hubbard Christians in Action, Crestview Churches Community Concerns and in Girard and Salem. Youngstown and Regional Prayer Team also sponsored a prayer breakfast.

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