Christians urged to join Bless Minnesota

by Jim Boyle

More than 250 people from more than a dozen churches came together Thursday night for a National Day of Prayer gathering a Zabee Theater in Elk River High School.

The event capped off a full day of prayer in Elk River that started at 7 a.m. with the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast and included a time of prayer around the flagpole at noon at the Sherburne County Goverment Center. All three events were part of the 61st observance of the National Day of Prayer, which was recognized in more than 3,500 venues around the country.

The Rev. Paul Salfrank offers up a prayer.

With the help of pastors from the Elk River Ministerial Association, those who came to Elk River High School prayed for government, the church, military, family, educational leaders and teachers, media and the marketplace.

And before they left they were encouraged to join a Minnesota movement that is bringing together a broad representation of of Christian denominations, congregations and ministries as well as representatives from business, education, government and every area of society.

About 40 to 50 people gathered around the U.S. flag at the Sherburne County Government Center to pray for local, state and national leaders, among others.

“I want to implore you tonight as brothers and sisters in Christ to join Bless Minnesota,” said the Rev. Greg Pagh, the keynote speaker of the event from Christ Church in Otsego.

Pagh asked for every person and every church represented to go on and sign up to adopt a street or whatever unit they choose.

“Put legs to your prayers and see what God will do,” he said.

The pastor described one Elk River High School student who decided to adopt the five lockers to the left of hers and the five lockers to the right of hers this past year.

Pagh said when she started to speak peace and blessing over those lockers, the Lord opened her eyes to see the people who belonged to those lockers.

“She began saying hello. She found herself reaching out to be a friend,” he said.

One person was new to the school and didn’t have many friends. She befriended this person. Another fell on hard times in a family situation. She was able to listen and respond to that need.

In the end, she led two of those 10 lockermates to the Lord. “Praise God,” Pagh said.

Bless Minnesota asks people to do four things:

•speak peace and blessing in Jesus’ name

•reach out and build relationships with others

•identify and respond to visible needs in tangible ways

•share the love, presence and power of Jesus.

“Bless Minnesota is not a program,” Pagh said.  It’s a lifestyle, grounded in prayer.  Don’t you agree we need an uprising of prayer in the state of Minnesota? Don’t you agree we need an uprising of unity in the body of Christ that will make Jesus the No. 1 thing? Don’t you agree we need an uprising of action that calls the church beyond its walls to impact this world that God loves?

“Prayer is an action word. When God’s people pray, things happen.”