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October 7, 2014
Nationals gather for Day of Prayer

Minister of National Reconciliation, the Public Service, Labour, Information and Ecclesiastical Affairs Maxwell Charles says that there must be a time when a nation must pause and talk to God, as talking to God is something that is noble and uplifting.

“With so many challenges facing the world {{more}}and the nation, we need not only individual prayer, but corporate prayer, corporate supplication,” said Charles, while addressing a small crowd of persons who gathered at Heritage Square yesterday for the seventh annual National Day of Prayer rally.

Charles, whose address was also broadcast live on several radio stations, said that that talking to God is important, as God is the creator, sustainer, provider and a problem solver.

He added that St Vincent and the Grenadines is beset by many problems, “problems of all sorts, rise in violence, disrespect etc, etc,” and while one can name the ills that are creeping in and attempting to take root here, “today, each of us can get together as a corporate body and ask God’s forgiveness and strength, grace and fortitude to do what is right.”

The Ecclesiastical Affairs Minister said that this country can be an example to other nations as we are a great nation, “one that believes in God.”

He added that while we are a God-fearing nation, we sometimes forget this, “and stray from the Lord and biblical principles, but today as we pray and cry out to God, heaven loves this, but the forces of evil and darkness do not like that and they move to the background when we pray.”

Charles, who at times sounded more like a preacher than a politician, also used the opportunity to address the theme: (Stand in the gap before me for the land) of the National Day of Prayer, taken from Ezekiel 22:29-30.

He told the gathering that they must take prayer seriously, while adding that there is no set time for prayer. “Pray in season and out of season,” he urged, stating that nations suffer dire consequences when they move away from God’s word, consequences that include famine and other disasters.

He said that the biblical Ezekiel knew what it was to be punished for wrongdoing and for being disobedient.

“Today, like Ezekiel, I‘m telling you that corporate worship, corporate prayers, collective prayers are extremely potent tools in the armory of all Christians,” said Charles, adding, “righteousness exalted a nation…we can also say that unrighteousness can solve to undo a nation.” He said that individual sin is different from when an entire nation joins together in collective wrongdoing.

“We need more modern Ezekiels who know how to cry against sin and call it by its correct name…cry against sin and call it by its correct name and do not use all the euphemisms that we have in covering up dirty sins,” said Charles.

He used his time at the podium to call on persons to be a “hedge” to help preserve the country.

“I call upon our leaders, we in the Government, we in the Opposition, the Senate, senior civil servants, junior civil servants, people of the corporations, farmers, nurses, doctors, all professionals, every single Vincentian listening, you can be a hedge to preserve SVG. Beauty and character can serve as a barrier to prevent sin entering SVG,” said Charles.

He also said that he was pleased that his Ministry put together another annual programme and added that while the National Day of Prayer is usually held in May or June, they changed the month to October in recognition of the country’s 35th year of independence.

Delivering a sermonette at the ceremony, Pastor Adolphus Isaacs said that while our nation has a number of problems, he is optimistic, “and God will make a way where there seems to be no way.”

He added that the righteous are never forsaken and “we are the people of God and we are going to take a stand for him.”

He urged Vincentians to not stand idly by and allow the evil one to run amuck.

“St Vincent and the Grenadines belongs to God and we as a people will reclaim the land and fight against crime and violence. We are going to stand as a people of God,” said Pastor Isaacs.

He said that we must pray for our young men and women, adding that he was concerned about the scanty attendance at the rally and that was an area that needed to be looked at.

The Pastor also spoke to the religious persons who sometime talk about other religious entities in a bad way.

“Sometimes you hear religious people talking about others as if we are in combat, fighting against each other. I heard expressions about religions and I wonder sometimes are we worse than the politicians fighting against each other?”

He said that if we are the children of God, “let’s not fight among ourselves; just defend the faith and do not pull down and set one against each other like we are in combat.”

He added also that we must avoid the derogatory things that come with partisan politics, as the programmes on radio sometimes sound like outsiders criticizing Vincentians, instead of Vincentians doing the criticism.

“Support your party, but stop the pulling down and fighting. SVG belongs to everyone and we should pray and hold up one another, instead of fighting. We were born here for a reason; we must live in peace and unity. Satan is the enemy, the political party is not the enemy,” said Pastor Isaacs.

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace also gave remarks at the ceremony.

The National Day of Prayer rally also saw a number of pastors praying for different sectors of the society. Pastor Shakika Fraser prayed for the youth, Pastor Anna Philips from the Spiritual Baptist organization prayed for the education system, while Pastor Chiefton Charles prayed for revival. There were also prayers against crime and violence and against drug abuse, among other things.

A number of Christian organizations and school groups provided entertainment in the form of songs.

The event was organized by the National Day of Prayer Committee, which is made up of various Christian organizations in the country.