Scads of people complain about government at all levels. Here in Washington, there are people who make a habit of praying for it.
The Washington County commissioners have opened each meeting since 1997 with prayer, usually offered by a member of the local clergy.
At the most recent meeting, Paul Powers, a layman, frankly went where few had gone before when choosing intercessory topics.
He prayed for wisdom for the county commissioners in a contentious court dispute over property reassessment that has been rankling participants for five years.
Asked why he chose to pray publicly about the commissioners and property reassessment, Powers later said, “Because that was the topic in the O-R the day before with their picture. I love all those commissioners, and they know that. I know all three of them are concerned. With the Lord’s help, they will get the wisdom to do what they need to do. I’m confident in that.”
Each day at 6 a.m., Powers is part of a group at Life Church, North Main and East Chestnut streets, the former Midtown Theater, that prays for Washington County.
“We want to see positive transformation, especially for our city and region,” Powers said.
Washington County Commission Chairman Larry Maggi has known Powers for years, first as a McGuffey School District teacher and junior varsity basketball coach.
The commissioner, who teaches a youth Sunday school class at Claysville United Methodist Church said, “Never underestimate the power of prayer.”
A few blocks away from the Courthouse Square office building, at City Hall, Pastor Patricia Cherry gathers with two others at Washington’s City Hall to pray for the city, its residents and leaders.
“We love the city of Washington,” she said. “We want it to be all God wants it to be. We want to see everyone work together as a team.”
Cherry’s city-specific prayers began two administrations ago, when Ken Westcott, now a councilman, was mayor.
“Recently, we felt it was time to start praying again at City Council,” Cherry said. There are three of us who pray now.
“We really desire to see peace and harmony in city government. We want to see a difference. We really want people to see Washington as place where people work together and worship together. Unity is the key, and we want to see unity.”
Unaware that word had gotten out about their low-key mission, Cherry phones ahead of time to make sure no other group is convening in the stately council chambers.
“We are fortunate enough to go to City Hall because we want to see the best decisions made for our city,” said Cherry, co-pastor of New Dominion Birth Kingdom Ministries, 240 N. Lincoln St.
Washington Mayor Brenda Davis said she introduced herself to Cherry while campaigning last year.
Immediately after she took the oath of office, she remembers getting a call from Cherry and her prayer partners.
“They asked if they could come in and meet me and do a prayer. It was January, one of the worst nights that the streets were covered and not many people were out.
“The dedication of the prayer group was amazing.”
The King James Version of the New Testament, I Thessalonians 5:16-18, implores Christians to “pray without ceasing,” and it’s a message that has apparently taken root.
Their supplications aren’t limited to City Hall. The partners also walk through downtown and city neighborhoods, praying as they go, sometimes praying for people they see along the way.
“Those people probably don’t know we are praying for them, but we are,” Cherry said.