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Inmates Listen To Lanham Prayer Service

National Day of Prayer From left to right, Quest ensemble members Blandin Mozon, Arkese Gaskin, and Dameion Roy perform. Quest is part of the Friendship Outreach Ministry of Capitol Heights. (Photo by Hamil Harris)

At sunrise today, inmates at the Prince George's County jail listened over the Internet to the observance of the National Day of Prayer at the chapel of the Washington Bible College in Lanham.

"There are many in jail who could benefit from the power of prayer," said Alfred J. McMurray, director of the Prince George's County Department of Corrections, who spoke to the special service for men at the college.

The first Thursday in May was designated as the National Day of Prayer in 1952, and since then, the occasion as been used an an ecumenical opportunity for faith leaders to come together and pray for the country.

Inspired by Psalm 28:7, the national theme of the event this year is "Prayer: America's Strength and Shield." In keeping with a national model, Washington Bible College President Larry A. Mercer offered prayers in what he called "seven centers of power," which included government, media, business, education, church and family.

"The National Day of Prayer is a collective collective acknowlegement of our inadequacies," said Mercer.

Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson is scheduled to speak at the college during a midday service.

"Lord, I will lift my hands to the hills," sang the members of the Salvation Army Men's choir as they performed Richard Smallwood's song about prayer, "Total Praise." "You are the the source of my strength, you the strength of my life, I lift my hands in total praise to you."

Mercer broke the gathering into groups of seven that prayed among themselves and agreed to come back together in seven months to gage their progress.

Barbara J. Davis, chair of the Prince George's County National Day of Prayer steering committee, said that she was glad that there was a special service for men. "It is my hope that men in the county will take their rightful place as leaders in the home and in the community."

-- Hamil R. Harris

By Anne Bartlett  |  May 1, 2008; 9:50 AM ET
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