Bradley County Cry Out America began planning for this year’s Sept. 11 event by establishing the local theme as “We Dream For You …” during a meeting Monday.
“I dream things for my children and one of the main things is that they will live in a nation that knows God,” local co-chair Iris Ray said.
The local theme aligns with the national Cry Out America theme, “Today’s Dream Awakens Tomorrow’s Destiny.”
Ray said she wants to focus on getting youth and children involved in the event.
“For me it’s not just about praying for my daughter and her friends and their peers but it’s also about teaching them to be prepared to awaken another generation. They are not the end,” Ray said.
In order to do this, the traditional noon event may be moved to the evening so that students will be out of school.
Social media was also discussed by the coordination committee as a way to engage children and teenagers in prayer around the event.
Developing a smartphone application with age-appropriate prayer ideas was suggested. Ray said it was definitely something she wanted to look into.
Mickey Clark, The Church at Gracepoint associate pastor to students, said networking is important and said the Cry Out America event should be tied in with the Fields of Faith youth event to be held the following month, similar to what had been done last year. Clark said student pastors used the 21 days of prayer and action following Cry Out America to set the stage for Fields of Faith.
“It’s our opportunity to engage the community in prayer; particularly the students praying for their own peers … prior to those opportunities for evangelism and witness,” Ray said.
She said she was interested in pursuing closer partnership with Lee University.
“Probably the greatest sin in the church is prayerlessness, I think. … We read about prayer and we talk about prayer and we study about prayer and we preach about prayer, but we don’t pray,” said local co-chair Dr. Phil Griffin, pastor of The Church at Gracepoint.
He said he values the opportunities he has to pray for the community with other local pastors. He said prayer brings down “the barriers” to interdenominational unity.
“I know that is where my heart is … I want to be a part of anything that could draw this community closer together and more in love with Jesus — that’s our only hope,” Griffin said.
The planning committee is also looking to partner with local schools.
At the start of the “grassroots prayer movement” the idea was to pray throughout the nation for God’s help and revival.
Sept. 11 was chosen because “it was a wake-up call to this nation,” national director Kay Horner said.
“We are hoping that this year will just exponentially increase as we are branching out a little further. Rather than just having it in the churches and the courthouses, we are hoping to have this year — and have been assured by Prison Fellowship — that there will be prayer gatherings at all the Prison Fellowship cells around the nation and on the campuses through Campus renewal ministries,” Horner said.
Prison Fellowship is a Christian prison outreach organization founded by Charles Colson.
It wasn’t until the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when Sept. 11 fell on a Sunday, that many churches became involved, Horner said.
“Bradley County has been the flagship or kind of the parent group that has met,” Horner said.
This year Bradley County Cry Out America hopes the 9/11 event will spur a continual focus on prayer by community members of all ages.
Ray said she wants students to “be strengthened in their communities” to pray for change.
Ray encouraged committee members to pray about the ideas presented before the next meeting.