Fort Myers holds National Day of Prayer, pastors pray to end violence
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Prayer has a way of bringing people together. And this afternoon, that was clear. Dozens didn't let the rain dampen their spirits as they asked a higher power to lead the way.
Gray skies and wet weather couldn't keep the faithful from pleas for peace.
Umbrellas in tow, they gathered at the steps of the old Lee County Courthouse for the National Day of Prayer.
Mayor Randy Henderson gave the keynote speech.
"As I was looking out across the crowd, you could see a spirit of happiness, a spirit of hope in people's face," observed Henderson.
It was eight religious leaders who stirred that hope. They prayed for Israel, education and for
God to help families dealing with difficulty.
"When his presence is not there, there's going to be like a void and there's going to be a presence that creates a lot of the violence that we see," said Pastor Gaspar Anastasi, with the World of Life Church.
Like Fort Myers' recent double homicide. On April 20, a gunman shot cousins Paul Baldwin and Jiatarious Brunson at the Renaissance Preserve public housing complex. The killer is still at large.
"I think we're entering into a season where the sins of the parents, the mistakes that we've made, the brokenness that's happened over the past years, now we're reaping the results of it," explained Anastasi.
But through prayer, pastors say there's salvation. A reason the mayor says citizens can count on this custom for years to come.
"This tradition will go on forever and ever and ever, just like the hallelujah chorus," said Henderson.
This is the fifth year Fort Myers has held this on the old courthouse steps. Next year, the National Day of Prayer will be on Thursday May 1, also known as May Day.