BROOKSVILLE — Hoping to repeat the success of last year's "Pray for the Nation" event, the Spring Hill Chapter of Aglow International will host an hour of prayer beginning at noon Jan. 19 on the steps of the Hernando County Courthouse.
"This is our second year to host the event," said Judy LaRose, president of Aglow and master of ceremonies. "The board felt it was so successful that we should make it a yearly event, because the country needs to return to God and place our faith in him."
The Christian program will open with prayer led by Aglow prayer chairwoman Eleanor Hart and songs led by local singer/songwriter Angela Dittmar.
"I was thinking America the Beautiful and God Bless America," Dittmar said about the opening.
The Rev. Rachela Corelli, past president of an Aglow chapter in Maryland, will speak. Jordan Baker, president of Conservative Christian Teens, and several members of the group will read Scriptures.
Those leading prayer for the nation, including government officials at all levels, churches and families, youth and schools, the military and the courts, will be the Rev. Adam Brant of Believer's Christian Fellowship, Weeki Wachee; the Rev. Jim and Mrs. Pat Pickens of House of Faith, Hudson; Baker; Aglow treasurer Sharon Guedesse; and the Rev. John Grossi of Springs of Life Church, Spring Hill.
Lt. Harold J. Hutchinson Jr., district commander of the operations division for District 2 of the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, will also speak and pray for law enforcement. His topic: "How the United States of America is a Christian Country."
"Prayer is an important time to ask our creator to help show us how we can make a difference in others' lives," Hutchinson said. "It is even more important that we, as Christians, join others with similar beliefs (in prayer). The community is important, and in order to make change it starts with one person asking God to help them make positive change and invest in the lives of others."
To make these changes, they need God's help, he said.
"They should ask God for courage and to show them opportunities where they can use their skills to make a difference within their own back yards," Hutchinson said. "Change occurs because one person says, 'I can make a difference' and then sets out to spread God's love through their own passions and action."
The event will include the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag.
"I am including the pledge, because it says 'one nation under God,' and we are asking God to provide and protect and guide this nation," LaRose said.
Everyone is welcome and may stay as long as they like. They will be asked to unite in prayer and sing, LaRose said.
"We are giving them flags to wave," she said.
LaRose believes prayer should go beyond sponsored events.
"We need to be in prayer daily for the guidance and protection of our Lord," she said. "Things like terrible deaths of little children in the schoolhouse should never occur, but they do. Praying for protection over every school each day should be part of a Christian's life."
LaRose is a former teacher.
Daily prayer should also cover government officials so that they can be effective leaders, LaRose said.
"Praying for wisdom for those elected to govern is necessary so that right decisions are made," she said.
And, LaRose said, prayer is a good way to begin the new year.
"Holding this hour of prayer at the beginning of the year is a good way to get the Aglow members and the community off to a good start in making a commitment to pray for all areas of government, family life and our kids," she said. "We do not need to just be in prayer for our own family; we need to pray for each other and the county and community in which we live."