Monroe churches unite for a National Day of Prayer on Stepney Green

A lawn sign beckons people to join a prayer group on Stepney Green during the National Day of Prayer Thursday.

MONROE, CT — As conflicts erupt in the world, from fighting between Israel and the Palestinians and Russia and Ukraine to contentious elections at home, a group of more than 30 people of different faiths gathered on Stepney Green for a moment of reflection and prayer on Thursday afternoon.

The 73rd annual National Day of Prayer event, hosted by Stepney Baptist Church, also included members and clergy from St. Jude Parish, United Methodist Church of Monroe and Beacon Hill Evangelical Free Church.

“It’s a day to bring our nation and the world to the throne of grace for God’s blessing and protection, specifically so the church would be the light of the world,” said Liz Merritt, the minister of outreach and discipleship at Stepney Baptist.

Father Joseph Gill of St. Jude Parish leads a prayer on Stepney Green Thursday afternoon.
Father Joseph Gill of St. Jude Parish leads a prayer on Stepney Green Thursday afternoon.

Participants stood in a circle as a gentle breeze passed through the green. Speakers took turns with the microphone while leading prayers for church, family, education, business/workplace, military, government and arts, entertainment and media.

Pastor Kevin Merritt, who is Liz Merritt’s husband, read from 2 Samuel 22:29-31 for the welcome and Liz made an opening statement, asking the Lord to lead everyone out of darkness and into the light.

Joining the Merritts in leading prayers were Father Joseph Gill of St. Jude, Betty Anne Anderson, Bill Stewart and Bonnie Thibideau. Stewart also led the group in the opening song, “How Great Though Art” and the closing song, “Amazing Grace”.

The Rev. Merritt prayed for a deescalation of wars, for the President and military leaders to make just decisions, and for military funding for the safety and protection of our country’s citizens.

Of the men and women who serve in the U.S. armed forces, Merritt said, “thank you for their bravery. Thank you for their heroism and how they sacrifice.”

Thibideau prayed that the candidate God would choose wins the presidency and that the winner is someone who will be “our servant” rather than the citizens serving him.

The Rev. Kevin Merritt, pastor of Stepney Baptist Church, leads a prayer on Stepney Green.

The Rev. Merritt passed the microphone around so others had an opportunity to share their own prayers.

A man said he sees a sense of complacency of faith and a woman prayed for a revival where people come together to shine a light in God’s name.

Merritt said churches are struggling to fill a void of members in their teens, 20s and 30s.

“We can’t do it. We’ve tried to reach that generation Lord, but our efforts have fallen flat,” he said, while praying for the return of those who’ve strayed from the flock.

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