SYCAMORE – Cheryl Lienhard attends the National Day of Prayer every year, but she felt this year was very important.
“Our nation has so many issues right now that only God can deal with,” Lienhard, of Sycamore, said. “It’s way too big for government. Only God can deal with our issues right now.”
Lienhard was one of the many people who gathered Thursday on the lawn in front of the DeKalb County Courthouse to pray for the nation. The National Day of Prayer is held the first Thursday of May each year.
The religious leaders who led the event on the courthouse lawn asked people to join them in praying for local, state, and national leaders. Prayers also were said for local school districts, the nation’s military, and those were sick and hurting in the county.
Paster Steve Persson, of the First Baptist Church in Sycamore, led the public prayer for the country as a whole.
“It seems as those the nation needs a prophetic voice,” Persson said in an interview, stating that the Constitution provides for the organs of government, but not the morality. “But there’s a missing dynamic often in nations, a prophetic voice. It’s the voice of the religious, the church. This is our way of exposing that need.”
The event closed with a crowd rendition of “God Bless America,” the message of which was embodied in many of Thursday’s prayers.
“We recognize that God has blessed our nation, and we need to be dependent upon him for further blessing and renewal because of all the challenges we’re facing,” Persson said. “We need to seek God for that.”
Lienhard said she believed the American people, as a whole, have turned away from God. She said from a biblical standpoint, a country will not last long without God.
“We all need to turn back to God,” Lienhard said.
Nathan Somers, a DeKalb resident who attended Thursday’s prayer with his family, expressed similar sentiments. He said the country’s biggest issue is its pride, and the lack of Christianity in the public space has led to that pride. In his words, “faith should be everything.”
“Every decision ... every conversation, Christ should be a part of it,” Somers said. “There should be no private life and no separate public life. Otherwise, you’re lying.”
Beth Harbecke said she was very appreciative of Sycamore’s leaders, which is part of the reason why she attended Thursday’s prayer. Harbecke said she prayed for the country in general, feeling that America’s standards have been lowered.
“I am very pro-building our nation under principles our nation was founded on, which is a nation under God,” Harbecke said.
She added that no one has the right to impose faith on individuals, but the country has a whole needs to maintain its principles.
“Whether you’re a Christian or not, when you turn away from those godly principles it was founded under, we become like other nations,” Harbecke said. “America is not the greatest country in the world because it’s like other nations.”