Franklin County marked the National Day of Prayer last week with a rousing call by Apalachicola clergy and lay people to turn towards God.

Evangelist Alma Pugh, from the Love Center Church, coordinated the ceremony May 4 at the Holy Family Senior Center, which drew about 75 people.

After Pugh’s welcome, Leslie Coon, from the First Baptist Church, set the tone for the service with the singing of “If My People,” which she blended sweetly into a version of “America the Beautiful.”

D.T. Simmons, from the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, recounted the history of the National Day of Prayer, formally created by President Truman in 1952, designated in 1988 by Congress for the first Thursday in May, with roots as far back as colonial America’s days set aside for fasting and prayer.

Mayor Van Johnson led the prayer on behalf of federal, state and local government, noting his own recovery from a heart attack a year ago, and his subsequent loss, though diet and exercise, of well over 200 pounds. “You can understand when I say I’m grateful,” he said.

The Rev. Themo Patriotis, from Apalachicola’s United Methodist Church, followed with a prayer for the military, noting that his son now serves in the Air Force. He cited the verse from Daniel 9:19 which was the theme for this year’s nationwide observance: “Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”

In the role of psalmist, Missionary Maxine Kellogg, from New Life First Born Holiness Church, then offered a moving rendition of a gosel song made famous by Mahalia Jackson “I Found The Answer.”

Sister Linda Thompson, from First Pentecostal Holiness Church, led the audience in a prayer on behalf of local businesses.

Pastor Barry Hand, from Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, led a prayer for the media, followed by a prayer for education led by Elder Valentina Webb, from Tabernacle of Faith International Ministry.

Pastor Charles Morris, of Apalachicola’s First Baptist Church, led a prayer on behalf of families and relationships, citing Malachi 4:6 "He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”

In her prayer for pastors and the body of Christ, Pastor Sheila Martin, from the Love Center Church, cited Ephesians 4:11-12, “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.”

Pastor David Walker, from Covenant Word Christian Center, offered a prayer on behalf of the peace of Jerusalem, with Apostle Shirley O’Neal, from Love Center Ministries Worldwide, closing the service with a Heart prayer, on behalf of deliverance of souls, and healing of bodies.