Mount Calvary Lutheran Church's Pastor Will Hanke bows his head in prayer on May 5 at Brentwood City Hall. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

Mount Calvary Lutheran Church’s Pastor Will Hanke prays for the city and the country on May 5 at Brentwood City Hall. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

Prayer topics vary from Iraq and Syria to Brentwood Boulevard

 
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Email: bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

You might think children would be shy to share their prayer requests with a roomful of strangers. But Pastor Will Hanke only had to ask once on Thursday at Brentwood City Hall. Almost every one of the two dozen students from Saint Mary Magdalen Catholic School raised a hand.

It was heartwarming to hear each child’s biggest concern, which included:

“The homeless”
“People that have cancer”
“War”
“People who are in the hospital who need to get better”
“People who live in Iran and Syria”
“Those with physical and learning disabilities”
“Kids without families”
“People with Ebola”
“For all babies”

A student from St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School raises her hand to share a prayer request.

A student from St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School raises her hand to share a prayer request.

A student folds her hands in prayer.

A student folds her hands in prayer.

The students made up about half the crowd that filled the council room over the lunch hour to observe the 65th annual National Day of Prayer. The event has been held annually in Brentwood for 20 years, said local resident and former city employee Susan Zimmer, who helped organize it through the St. Louis-based Gateway National Day of Prayer Committee.

The proceeding was led by Hanke, pastor of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, with help from pastors Jack Siefert of St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church and Donny Selvidge of City of God Church, located on Manchester Road in Brentwood.

About 50 people attended the National Day of Prayer meeting in the council room at City Hall.

Will Hanke welcomes about 50 people to the National Day of Prayer meeting in the council room at City Hall.

Prayer for the church

After the students led the room in the Pledge of Allegiance, and a welcome from Brentwood Mayor Chris Thornton, Selvidge opened with a prayer for the church in America. It related to this year’s National Day of Prayer theme of “Wake up, America,” based on Isaiah 58:1a.

Pastor Donny Selvidge of City of God prays aloud.

Pastor Donny Selvidge of City of God Church prays for churches in the U.S.

Prayer for families

Hanke then spoke about and prayed for families.

“So often when people come into our churches and they try to see and understand God being a father, they are led in a different direction because maybe their father wasn’t exactly the best example,” Hanke said. “So, oftentimes the family can be misconstrued and lost and it’s where we see that God guides us back to the understanding of what family truly is: a father who loves his children and sends his son to rescue us.”

Will Hanke

Will Hanke: “So often when people come into our churches and they try to see and understand God being a father, they are led in a different direction because maybe their father wasn’t exactly the best example.”

Prayer for education

Siefert spoke on the need to pray for education, adding that Brentwood is “blessed” with outstanding public and private schools. He asked for prayer for private education, which is “education about God. I think these days that [type of] education is under attack somewhat. There is an attempt to minimize [it]. And there is an attempt from some to eradicate it from society, which I think is a huge, huge, huge mistake. So for those that want to do that, let’s pray for them so they may have a change of heart.”

Pastor Jack Siefert of St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church speaks about the need for religious education.

Pastor Jack Siefert of St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church speaks about the need for religious education.

Open prayer

Hanke took children’s prayer requests then started a time of open prayer for adults. More than a dozen spoke on numerous topics.

One of the most passionate prayers was by a woman who said, “We are here in unity, Lord, on behalf of our nation. We claim that you are our Lord. The world tries to say you’re not, but we’re not of this world, we’re of your heavenly kingdom. … We’re asking on behalf of our government that you raise up Godly people, people you want in different places. … In the city of Brentwood, Lord, we ask that there be peace and unity … and that you give the [Board of Aldermen] your Godly wisdom for whatever their decisions are.”

Henke drew a smile from Mayor Chris Thornton when he prayed, “Sometimes we’re so blessed by the joys and freedom of this world that we get frustrated easily. But we pray right now for the workers who are working on Brentwood Boulevard, that you would keep them safe.”

The meeting ended with the crowd singing “God Bless America.”

Residents bow their heads in prayer.

A resident (middle) prays aloud.

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Brentwood Mayor Chris Thornton attended the prayer for the second year.

Brentwood Mayor Chris Thornton attends the prayer for the second year.

Students join others in singing "God Bless America."

St. Mary Magdalen students join others in singing “God Bless America.”