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From the Norman Transcript:

Divine communication: Norman celebrates National Day of Prayer


By Melissa A. Wabnitz

Transcript Staff Writer

When the church bells rang out at noon Thursday, Protestants, Catholics, Buddhists and even Atheists gathered together to celebrate the National Day of Prayer. In Norman, area ministers came together to pray for both specific individuals in the community and the city as a whole. Two similar observances were held at the Oklahoma state Capitol: one was meant to be inclusive of a variety of faiths and the other was focused on promoting purely Christian beliefs.

At the Norman observance, Pastor Bill Sanchez, from the Church on the Rock, spoke of freedoms Oklahomans and U.S. citizens often take for granted.

"We have first amendment rights to peaceably assemble, practice a religion," Sanchez said. "We thank you Lord that we can articulate these freedoms."

A variety of Bible verses were read aloud at Norman's ceremony, including Psalms, Leviticus and Chronicles.

During the approximately hour-long service, Norman area ministers and pastors spoke on specific Norman entities and prayed for a variety of people. Nedria Santizo asked for repentance both in her own life and people living in Norman; Mike Warkentin offered a prayer for those serving in government offices and in area prisons and jails; Robert Custer prayed for Norman churches and families; Karen Robinson prayed for Norman's city leaders; Keith Seiss prayed for local and national media and Scott Salter prayed for the City of Norman's destiny. Don Baker, from Faithway Baptist Church, also offered prayers for schools, including the Moore Norman Technology Center and the University of Oklahoma.

"As individuals have destinies, so do cities," Salter said. "We ask that every single one of us accept civic responsibilities and vote. We pray for a prosperous economic destiny. Bring the businesses and jobs that need to be here."

In her prayer for city leaders, Robinson asked God to "lift up every senator, congressman, mayor, councilman and school board member."

"We pray that you, oh Lord, open them up with Godly wisdom that they would know this country was founded on Godly principles," she said. "Lead them to you."

Loaetta Redding, an area recording artist and evangelist, sang a song she wrote, "Freedom's Home" and led the crowd of around 30 in a rousing rendition of "God Bless America."

The Norman service concluded with a call for salvation, rededication and healing by the Rev. Gary Smith, founder of the Noble Healing Room.


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