Bradley County Cry Out America will be changing its meeting time this year in an effort to allow more participation.
Leaders of the local prayer movement decided to move the event to the evening, most likely 7 p.m., in the hope more students will be able to attend.
The group holds a yearly prayer service on Sept. 11 as a time to call out to God for this country.
This year the local focus is on “We Dream for You …” with the goal of bringing older and younger generations together in prayer.
“Nothing ever has happened or ever will happen, in my opinion, that even comes close to changing this world that does not first come through prayer,” said Dr. Phil Griffin, local co-chair and pastor of The Church at Gracepoint.
Holding the event in the evening will also most likely mean a change in location for the event. The board is looking at several options.
Mickey Clark, The Church at Gracepoint associate pastor to students, suggested holding the event outside, in a highly visible location. Co-chair Iris Ray said she liked the idea of holding the event in a central location.
Carl Caffrey, chaplain for Signature HealthCARE of Cleveland, said he would like to see the community dedicate the day to the Lord. He said it would be great to see the community stop its normal routine and take time to pray that day.
“I feel like we need to approach this from a statement, this needs to be — as one day [Sept. 11, 2001] changed our country … we believe that one day of prayer can change our country,” Caffrey said.
The board agreed getting schools to close for an entire day to allow students to attend a meeting on the designated day was probably unlikely. Clark said if schools were closed, students would still face logistical issues in getting to the event.
Caffrey said having the event at night might exclude the elderly. However, holding a supporting event where those from various local assisted living facilities come together for prayer was suggested as a way to include them in the overall plans.
Prayer walks will also be incorporated in the event this year.
To get schools and other areas of the community involved, having a group go to different locations and pray in the days leading up to the event was suggested.
Walking and paying on a school track or around a building was another idea.
Ray said she would like to have church members walk from their church to the meeting location.
The goal of the Cry Out America movement is to bring the nation to a spiritual awakening through prayer.
Ray said networking would be key to having various age groups involved.
Griffin said in the days leading up to Sept. 11, specific prayer events for different age groups, such as seniors and students, could be held and anyone who attended these smaller meetings would be given information about the day of the event.
Clark also suggested encouraging local pastors to emphasize prayer in their sermons the week before the event.
The team is planning events leading up to and to follow the Cry Out event to create momentum that has a lasting impact beyond just one day.
One way the local movement is doing this is by praying for and partnering with those who hold Fields of Faith each year. Fields of Faith is a local annual Christian youth rally. The group also tries to incorporate the annual See You at the Pole prayer event into its larger plans.
The planning group hopes to have people of different ages lead prayer during Cry Out America.