Hundreds come to pray in Roseville, Rocklin

National Day of Prayer celebrated
By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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More than 800 people gathered at William Jessup University in Rocklin to take part in the National Day of Prayer breakfast Thursday morning. Established by congress and signed by President Harry S. Truman in 1952, the National Day of Prayer is intended to be a day set aside to pray for the United States. “It’s a day when people are called to come together and pray for our nation, and pray for the wisdom for our leaders,” said Greg van Dusen, who was on the steering committee for the event at William Jessup. “We all need wisdom. As the Bible tells us, wisdom was here before we were.” In 1988, President Ronald Reagan designated the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May. This was the sixth-annual breakfast and celebration of the National Day of Prayer and one of the largest gatherings in Placer County, according to event organizers. “The first year we had it, it was just a small gathering at Adventure Christian,” said event chairman and Roseville City Councilman John Allard. “We had about 100 people, and it’s grown.” The gathering featured nine speakers offering prayers for the military, the government, public safety personnel, the media, the business community, local churches, families and children, local schools and the disadvantaged. A buffet-style breakfast was served with food prepared by William Jessup staff. Don Brewster, founder and executive director of Roseville-based Agape International Missions, gave a moving message about his experiences working to prevent child sex trafficking both at home and overseas. “We need a strong prayer support base, and this was an opportunity to put our cause before hundreds of people and hopefully get their support in praying for what we do,” Brewster said. “The truth is it’s really a spiritual battle. Economic development and education would mean nothing without a changed heart because a changed heart is what gets rid of evil.” Since 2005, Agape International has been working to restore hope to child sex trafficking victims by providing holistic aftercare to victims, equipping and mobilizing the church to take action and building community centers in sex trafficking hot spots. Australian Christian recording artist Steve Grace performed some of his music at the event and said he has always appreciated the Christian heritage of the United States. “There’s a lot of Americans that are discouraged and disillusioned with the current state of affairs,” Grace said. “But I believe that one of the answers is people standing together in prayer and believing that God can intervene in this nation.” Ten percent of the proceeds of this event went to benefit Agape International and other local charities, Allard said. “I think it’s amazing in a community like South Placer County that we have this many people come together for one morning of prayer,” Allard said. “It shows the strength of the faith community and how supportive our churches are of the community.” Van Dusen said he was impressed with how many local community leaders showed up to the event. “What is so uplifting about this event each year is to see how many of our community leaders are faithful,” van Dusen said. “It makes me feel really good about raising my family here.” Other National Day of Prayer events around South Placer County included a gathering of more than 100 people on the front lawn of the Rock of Roseville Church. Many people sat under a large shade tree while a few braved the sun and warm temperatures to stand out, raise their hands in the air, sway to the music and pray. “Today brings us together,” said parishioner Ashley Beals, who attended the ceremony. “Today is a day is about being in unity for one common purpose, and unity as a nation is key.” Toby Lewis can be reached at ~ Philip Wood contributed to this story.