Group gathers outside hospital for prayer vigil
Dozens of cars and trucks with their flashers on lined the parking lot at Putnam Community Medical Center in Palatka for a prayer vigil Wednesday.
The prayer vigil, hosted by Pastor David Price of Paran Baptist Church in Grandin, was in response to the coronavirus pandemic the world is currently facing.
There are 14 cases in Putnam County and more than 9,000 cases in Florida as of Thursday night.
On Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order that went into effect 12:01 a.m. today.
“God and prayer are the answers to all our problems,” said Price, who has been pastor at the Grandin church for eight months. “We wanted to lift these frontline workers up to God for his protection and strength.”
Price got the idea for the prayer vigil when a pastor friend, Dustin Jenkins from Nashville, posted on Facebook about a similar worship service held in the parking lot of a hospital in Braselton, Ga.
According to Price, he believes wholeheartedly in Matthew 19, which says, “Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”
“We feel that standing on the grounds of where we are praying satisfies the requirements of verse 19,” he said.
Wednesday’s prayer vigil lasted about 20 minutes and included deejay Ricky Bybee of 91.3 Hope FM broadcasting four songs with a prayer in between each song. Those who attended the vigil were encouraged to maintain social distancing and remain in their vehicles and 6 feet away from others.
Robin Robinson, general manager at Hope FM, thought the prayer vigil was a great idea.
“Ricky talked about how we all are gathered together for prayer, and even though we can’t join together and hold hands, we’re still together in spirit and in agreement with one another,” she said. “Being able to feel like we’re together, even while apart, by listening to Hope FM is very comforting and helpful at a time like this.”
Sheena and Josh Bass brought their children, Carson and Avery, and the family dog, Alfie, to the event.
“What an awesome time worshipping our God while praying for our health care workers,” Sheena Bass said.
Price and his wife, Trudy, have four children and 12 grandchildren.
“I always go to God’s word to find peace in trying times,” he said. “One verse that has brought me personal peace is John 16:33: ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’
“Our God is much bigger than any problem, calamity or plague this world throws at us. We need to put our faith and trust in Him to see us through.”
When declaring the stat-at-home order, DeSantis told reporters he decided to issue the order after consulting with President Donald Trump and White House advisers, who have said Americans need to stay home through April.
Until May 1, all non-essential businesses must close and people should stay home except when buying food or medicine, visiting a doctor or going to an essential job. More than 30 states have statewide stay-at-home orders.
Price said the song leader at his church, Richard Ridaught, who is also the lead singer for the Cross Creek Singers, sings a song that he loves called “Prayer is the Key to Heaven but Faith Unlocks the Door.”
“That song title so much holds the truth about prayer and faith and how they both go hand in hand,” he said. “’Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them.’ Pray believing.”
Price said prayer is important at all times and the Bible gives specific instructions for Christians to heal their land in 2 Chronicles 7:14.
“The four requirements in that verse are to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face and to turn from our wicked ways,” he said. “If we get these four things right, God will do His part, which is to forgive our sins and to heal our land.”