URBANA — The coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest, gun violence — take your pick of issues troubling the community, the nation and the world.
The answer, say participants in an event coming up Saturday in Urbana, is prayer.
C-U Day of Prayer will be an hourlong, nondenominational and nonpolitical hour of public prayer held from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the Lincoln Square parking lot, in the area where the weekly farmers market is held.
Nine area pastors will pray for the community, nation and world at this event, which is being held in conjunction with a National Day of Prayer and Repentance on Saturday in Washington, D.C.
This won’t be just for pastors, though.
“Really, we’re encouraging anyone to come,” said the Rev. Dianne Leman, a founding pastor of The Vineyard Church in Urbana.
“We get to cry out to God, know that he hears us, and we actually believe there’s power in prayer, that it does make a difference to pray,” she said.
Not only that, Leman said, this will be people of all faiths joining together in prayer.
“We get to join together, and that is super pleasing to God,” she said.
David Lemons of Champaign, one of the event’s organizers, said they hope people from surrounding communities will also participate, not just those from Champaign-Urbana.
“Everyone says it’s a national day of prayer, but we’re focusing on repentance,” he said.
Leman said repentance is often misunderstood. It’s not wailing and beating the chest, she said. It means turning from unhealthy and wrong ways and readjusting how you are thinking and behaving, she said.
What she calls on people to do, before they react or respond, whether it’s to something on social media or in public, is to step back, turn away from how they’re seeing something and call on the Holy Spirit to guide them, Leman said.
Faith Church Assistant Pastor Ethan Durst said there’s much to pray about, and he plans to go and take part in this hour of prayer.
What he, personally, sees in this effort: “We’re trying to get together to pray as a community and for the community and for the state and the nation, that all the wounds of this country will be healed.”