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Spontaneous prayer meeting erupts in Tallahassee in response to crisis

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (BP)–Dozens of Christians from across the city spontaneously gathered at the state capital Thursday night to pray for the nation, the two presidential candidates and judges who could decide the fate of the 2000 presidential election.

Jerry Garrard, senior pastor of Celebration Baptist Church and a past president of the Florida Baptist Convention, told Baptist Press the prayer meeting developed following a Promise Keepers event in downtown Tallahassee at First Baptist Church.

“After the meeting was over, many of us got together and felt the Lord leading us to go and pray at the state capital,” Garrard said. “Once we got to the capital plaza, a group of ladies walked up to us and said that God had told them to come to Tallahassee and pray for the city.”

“Now, when you hear a Baptist say something like that, it really speaks to you,” he said. “So we invited them to join us and we all joined hands and just started praying.”

While praying in the darkness and mist, Garrard said even more people came. “It turned out to be just a sweet time of prayer,” he said.

Garrard said Southern Baptists and other evangelical churches in Tallahassee have stepped up their prayer efforts since the election crisis began on Nov. 8. “People are aware that it is in the hands of the Lord,” he said. “We have been driven to our knees and prayer closets and now we are being driven to conduct public prayer meetings. This is more than just about a vote. This is about the spiritual health of our nation.”

More Christians are expected to meet Friday afternoon in a gathering called by an interdenominational group of pastors and clergy. The non-partisan, non-political event is designed to bring the Christian community together for a time of prayer, Garrard said.

In addition, the Florida pastor said he has spent time praying with the staff of Gov. Jeb Bush as well as the staff of embattled Secretary of State Katherine Harris.

For the past several years Harris has served as a platform leader for the National Day of Prayer. Harris has been the focus of nationwide attacks by the Democratic National Party because of her affiliation with Gov. George W. Bush.

“She is a genuine Christian lady,” Garrard said. “She really is more than just a political operative as far as prayer is concerned.”

Garrard said he is aware of at least one evangelical leader who has spent time praying with Harris during the election crisis. “She needs the prayers of her fellow believers,” he said.

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  • Todd Starnes