More than 100 people prayed hand in hand downtown Thursday for the 61st National Day of Prayer Celebration in Bakersfield. Local pastors and people of faith joined together in prayer and song at the Liberty Bell. Many people of faith say the even is all about unifying in prayer for some our nation's biggest issues.
"We have to be united in prayer,” said Estella Cueto. “It doesn't matter which church you come from, but we all are praying to one God."
People from all religious denominations and backgrounds raised their hands high and bowed their heads in prayer. Organizers say the goal of the short 45-minute service is to join as a community in reflection and thanksgiving as millions across the nation are doing the same.
“We’re here to pray for not just our nation, but our community for our families, for our churches, for our government,” said Monica Orelas. “We can lift them up in prayer because there’s power in prayer, and that God’s hand will move for change.”
A praise team from Canyon Hills Church led the crowd in song and the Bakersfield Christian High School band closed the event. West High School's JROTC led the event's pledge of allegiance, and the event's program included pastors and local leaders leading specific prayers for the military, the government, education, families and churches.
"When you think of the 2-year-old and Eucalyptus, things are happening,” said Rosie Parron. “People who don't pray, shame on them."