July 16th, 2010
09:53 AM ET

Change of prayers in the Gulf

For the past 60 years, each Sunday from Mother's Day to Labor Day, Foley United Methodist Church has met for a beach service at the state park in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

This year the service has been interrupted by the oil disaster.

Clean-up efforts forced the congregation from the sandy beach up to a concrete pavilion, "partly due to the relief workers basically taking away our beach. We’re glad they are, but that is the situation," said the Rev. Lance Moore, who has pastored the congregation for six years.

“We’re down there praying every week," Moore told CNN's Belief Blog by phone on Thursday. "It’s important for us to pray every week, every Sunday since we’ve been out there since it has happened. Every day we’re down there, we’re praying for some relief.”

The. Rev Lance Moore baptizes a baby with a shell in cleaner times in the Gulf of Mexico.

On Sunday, the beach service will play host to another event - seeking prayers for the communities hardest hit by the oil disaster. The church will be participating in a National Day of Prayer for the Gulf.

The day of prayer follows past Sundays in the Gulf where legislatures and governors had called for a day of prayer. This week's event was organized in part by the National Association of Evangelicals and the Evangelical Environmental Network, which put out a statement saying:

Thousands of people of faith will join together in prayer for the residents of the Gulf Coast facing the tremendous human impact of the spill, and for God’s creation in the Gulf, which was decimated by this ecological catastrophe. ... Congregations will call in prayer “… For the oil flow to stop; give us the wisdom to end this tragedy. For the people in despair that you would provide peace and hope. For restoration for the sea, the land, and all who live and inhabit them.”

Following the big news Thursday that BP successfully attached a new cap to stop oil from spewing into the Gulf, Moore says their prayers may be different this week.

“We’ve been praying since Mother's Day for help, and maybe this Sunday it’ll be a prayer of thanksgiving,” he said.

You can read more about the day of prayer here.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Culture & Science • Environment • Prayer

soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. The Jackdaw

    Prayer. How to feel like you are doing something profound while you are actually doing nothing.

    July 21, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  2. David Johnson

    For 60 years, you have been wasting your time. Prayer does not work. If it did, you could pray and the beaches would be cleaned.

    July 19, 2010 at 11:17 am |
  3. BradLW

    Prayer can be a form of personal meditation; unfortunately that is not the way most xtian religious people use it due to their (normally) life long indoctrination/conditioning(call it brain washing if you want). If prayer is used as a form of meditation as a precursor to action/s that benefit your fellow humans, great; if, however, all you do is pray because you believe it will save your fantasy "soul", then you are a part of the problem, not of the solution.

    I will become a xtian the first morning I wake up dead!

    July 17, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  4. Leah (TXanimal)

    Here's an idea: pray with a shovel or a soup ladle in your hand...

    July 17, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  5. Reality

    Once again:

    "Christians (et al) must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman doctrine of predestination without in so doing making God the great scapegoat of history."

    "Nothing is determined in advance:

    In nature there is chance and determinism; in the world of human activity there is possibility of free choices.
    Therefore the historical future is not known even to God; otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings.

    For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."- Schillebeeckx

    Think about it, god (if one exists) either answers all prayers and then free will and future will not exist or answers no prayers. There is no in between. Obviously, the latter is the rule so stop wasting your time with prayers

    July 16, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Then Christians must give up the idea that god is all knowing. The book of Revelations must be pronounced as fiction, because it is to take place in the future. Any prophecy written in the O.T., could not have been written. The future can not be known by god. Jesus could not have known that Peter would deny him 3 times. Jesus could not have known Judas would betray him.

      If god does not know the future, how are we then certain he defeats Satan? Satan may win and then boy are we in for it. LOL

      July 19, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
    • Reality

      David Johnson, The Book of Revelation as per Thomas Jefferson, merely the ravings of a m-niac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams.

      July 20, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  6. Apeman

    Religions are a way to control the masses. Prayer/worship is or should be a one on one between you and your God. It's just really annoying when people use a religion as a crutch or worse, as a reason for a jihad. How about using what should be common sense in your thinking instead of letting some other human try to tell you have to live or die.....

    July 16, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  7. Eric G

    Is it important to believers if their god exists? I am really curious.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  8. Iamurme

    Can you imagine this conversation taking place face to face instead of behind the screen of cyberspace? Oh, that's right – that's called "War". Please – practice, but don't push what you preach. For those on the praying side – you know that real prayer happens in silent secrecy – not in a CNN article comment. For the others, have you ever really succeeded in talking someone out of God? Probably not, aside from those who politely agreed with you to make you stop. Won't work here either.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
    • ProvePrayerWorks

      I don't see anything in the TOS about posting links or videos. The video I posted did not violate section 2. Is that the purpose for B) within section 1? CYA?
      Regardless of your censorship, the message remains the same; religion remains a negative influence upon our global society. I hear often Muslims claiming their religion to be one of peace, of knowledge of wisdom and of respect, and much of the same is said by Christians, Jews and Hindus. Religion now as always maintains a clear and distinct correlation with conflict, not peace. The Vision of Humanity Global Peace Index survey accounts for: Internal and external conflicts and the subsequent losses incurred. Perceptions of criminality in society, violent and non violent crime rates and intentional homicidal displacement ratios to the overall population. Capital prison population, capital police officer population. Military expenditure, capability, sophistication and number of armed personnel.Volume transfer of conventional weapons both import and export and ease of access to minor. UN peacekeeping funding, overall UN involvement and capital respect for human rights The overall functionality of government, the Electoral process, Political participation and overall political culture. Civil liberties, corruption perceptions, Women in parliament, Democracy Index, Gender Inequality, freedom of the press, export and import % of GDP and foreign direct investment flow. Number of visitors as % of domestic population, and net migration. Gender and age ratios, regional & international framework/conditions and framework of regional integration. Education spending, primary, secondary and higher school enrollment ratio, mean years of schooling and adult literacy rate. Hostility to foreigners, importance of religion in national life, willingness to fight. Nominal GDP, per capital, unemployment percentage, life expectancy and infant mortality rate.

      With that said, the Global Peace Index is detailed and comprehensive to say the very least. Utilizing the results generated from each of the ten most religiously concentrated Islamic, Christian and Non-theistic Atheist nations I have compared them directly as to express the clear and distinct correlation between religion and conflict. But more importantly, the apparent correlation between non-theism and peace. As the numbers clearly demonstrate, religion is a negative driving force, pulling us backwards. Non-theism is a positive driving force, pushing us towards the future. They have done so by conducting a very detailed and extremely accurate statistical study in 2008 of 144 major countries and have allocated them a rating based upon many political, economic, social and academic factors in an effort to view a given nations merit of peace.

      July 16, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.