Despite the noise and distraction of downtown construction, hundreds of prayers for peace and harmony rose from the Gainesville square for an hour as part of Hall County Prayer’s Prayer on the Square event.
The event, which lasted from noon to 1 p.m., coincides each year with National Day of Prayer. Approximately one hundred participants of all ages were asked to divide themselves among eight stations: church, family, life, military, government, media, education and business.
“I think it’s very important to not lose sight of prayer and to not lose sight of our need for God in every area of our lives,” said Brandy Sandoval, one of the event organizers. “This [event] brings awareness to our national needs, which also covers families, education, military, government, all kind of sectors of America…we are the life of America so we look up to God to lead, guide and direct us each and every day.”
A community leader representing each station guided the participants in three minutes of prayer. During the prayer, the leaders focused on praying for whichever topic was at that station. Once the three minutes were up, the leaders would rotate.
Brian Hall, senior pastor at Chestnut Mountain Church, lead the education prayer station. He said a previous role as a middle school teacher at Davis Middle School eventually lead him to the ministry.
Hall said prayer on behalf of the education system is important because it is one of the biggest mission fields.
“The majority of the people in the education world and the school systems don’t know Jesus and what a place to exemplify love and to show them love, because so many kids come from broken homes and a lot of times school is the only consistent thing in their life,” said Hall.
He said that he prayed for a specific couple of areas of education during the event.
“Number one, I want students to see love exemplified through the educators,” said Hall. “But also, I pray that teachers would recognize that the talents and the skills they’ve been given are God-given.”
Prayer on the Square also featured a couple of solos by singer Jeneen Hammond and a group prayer led in English and Spanish by Art Gallegos, a local pastor and leader with the Latinos Conservative Organization.
Sandoval said that Hall County Prayer hosts a breakfast each year at 6:45 a.m. on the Gainesville Civic Center before moving to the square for the prayer event. She expressed her excitement over the size of the crowd despite construction in the area, lack of close parking and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had less than we normally do, but considering everything that’s happening here at the park, I think we had a real good number,” said Sandoval.