Forest Lake women attend D.C. prayer service

National Day of Prayer leaders Holly Payer and Diane Rueb of Forest Lake met with 300 other leaders from all 50 states last week to pray for the United States.

From Oct. 3 to Oct. 7 attendees visited offices of their representatives to offer prayer support, covering the Capitol, Supreme Court, legislative houses, war memorials, and the Pentagon.

Payer and Rueb have coordinated the local gathering of National Day of Prayer for the past 21 years.  Each year on the first Thursday in May, American citizens across the nation gather to focus on praying for the nation and its leaders.  Forest Lake’s annual turnout averages about 200.

“I was concerned for the moral decay in all aspects of society,” Payer said.

Rueb said she read an article about the event and felt an urge to bring it to Forest Lake.  It started at city hall, where she worked.

She called the Washington, D.C. trip a mission of peace, “not about Republican or Democrat, but about uniting the country, since we began as one nation under God,” she said.

Rueb feels a sense of urgency.  “These are desperate times,” she said.  “We need prayer, and we need people of courage to be on our knees.”

The event dates to 1775, when such a day was called for by the first Continental Congress. Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of prayer during the Civil War.  It became an annual event during the administration of President Harry Truman. In 1988 President Ronald Reagan designated the first Thursday in May as National Day of Prayer.

Today the event is led by Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family broadcaster James Dobson.