By LINDA M. LINONIS
Pastor Barry Knaub spent Thursday’s National Day of Prayer up on the roof of Memorial Baptist Church.
This year marks the eighth time he’s made the effort. The pastor of the church at 56 Water St. said he “wanted to do something different to attract attention to the day.”
Pastor Knaub said he also was motivated after hearing complaints from people about the country and leadership. “People complain, but are they praying for a solution? If they’re not praying, they’re part of the problem,” he said.
In a way, Pastor Knaub said, he wonders why such a day is needed to emphasize prayer. “It’s something that people should do daily,” he said. “But if this leads them to pray, it’s a good thing.
“People need prayer in their lives,” he said. “Prayer embraces God’s power in our lives and draws us into a personal relationship with God.”
The pastor said he pictures praying “as crawling into God’s lap and talking to him.”
The pastor said his congregation supports his effort by signing up for 30-minute slots to pray. They aren’t physically with him, but pray at home or wherever. “Prayer may help remind us what’s important in life,” he said.
On church property, the pastor had signs noting he was praying on the roof. Motorists are asked to honk in support. As motorists honk, he offered a general prayer for their well-being. But he also prayed for those who don’t acknowledge what he’s doing.
On the roof, Pastor Knaub had a lawn chair and umbrella. He kept food and beverages in a cooler. A woman from the church brought him lunch. In years past, passers-by also have stopped, some bringing snacks and cupcakes.
“I’ve been lucky because it hasn’t rained. It’s been a little windy,” he said of Thursday’s weather, noting the outdoor atmosphere was “comfortable.”
Pastor Knaub’s effort was among a variety of activities in the Valley focusing on National Day of Prayer, the theme of which was SDLqOne Nation, United in Prayer.” The event originated with the Continental Congress in 1775. In 1988, the day was legislated by Congress. There are seven points of prayer: government, military, media, business, education, church and family.
Girard Ministerial Association members walked with a processional cross to significant locations in the city including the police and fire stations, Emmanuel Care Center, day-care centers and Veterans Memorial. Pastor Rhonda Gallagher of Trinity Lutheran Church said the event is about “prayer, unity and community.”
Hubbard Christians in Action prayed at Tylee Park in Hubbard while the Salem National Day of Prayer Committee gathered on the Village Green at the Salem Chamber of Commerce building.
Youngstown City and Regional Pray Team hosted a gathering on the plaza with several clergy speakers who focus on various prayer topics.
Teen Challenge men’s choir led worship for Crestview Churches Community Concerns at Crestview High School. The Rev. Susan Antolik, pastor of East Fairfield United Methodist Church, gave a historical look at “The Star-Spangled Banner” that was followed by singing of the anthem.
American Legion Post 290 of Columbiana presented the colors. Linda Allender, president of the 4C’s, spoke on its outreach efforts including the food pantry.
The community prayer event was organized by Jerry and Marilyn Mong.