Kilgore citizens seeking healing for their community and their nation have a plan: to lift up their voices in prayer.
Former Kilgore ISD superintendent and Longview ISD assistant superintendent Dr. Jody Clements and his wife Courtney created “20/20 Vision in 2020: A Call to Prayer in Kilgore” to bring the community together in prayer and Scripture readings. The event will be held Friday, Jan. 17 at 4 p.m. until 12 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18 in the Texan Theater at 201 S. Kilgore St.
“My wife and I have been wanting to do something for the community but we didn’t know what,” Clements said Monday.
“I read a book that talked about 20 hours of scripture reading and we thought, ‘That’s a great idea. Let’s do that.’ We prayed about it and got together with some of our friends and they said ‘Yeah, let’s do this.’”
The event will span 20 consecutive hours of continuous prayer and Scripture readings. Volunteers will lead participants through a reading of the entire New Testament while prayer leaders will guide attendees through a series of prayers for specific groups in the community.
“Every hour on the hour we’ll have people come in and pray for a specific group. They’ll be responsible for the next hour, taking their group around the prayer wall,” Clements said.
The prayer wall will consist of different areas for different community groups, including the police department, fire department, nurses, doctors and pastors.
“People in the community can come in whenever they wish,” to pray for the groups Clements said.
The prayer series will begin with prayers for community leaders at 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17. It will then continue with prayers for educators at 5 p.m., for law enforcement at 6 p.m., fire & EMS at 7 p.m., businesses and the oilfield at 8 p.m. and families at 9 p.m. Prayers will continue the morning of Saturday, Jan. 18 at 6 a.m. with prayers for local pastors, prayers for local churches at 7 a.m., for doctors and nurses at 8 a.m. and conclude with prayers for military service members at 10 a.m.
Participants are also welcome to place prayer requests on a bulletin board at the event.
“We will also have a table (community members) can sign up to commit to pray for our community for the next year,” Clements said.
As the prayer sessions continue, the 20-hour Scripture reading will also take place as participants read the entire New Testament of the Holy Bible.
Clements said he had noticed a good response to the event. News of the prayer and Scripture event has been shared on signs throughout town, on Facebook and through announcement at local churches. Volunteers have stepped up to lead the prayer sessions and Scripture readings.
“We’ve spent these past few days filling up these last few spots. The main thing we’re trying to do is get our churches to come out and to send their members out. Our spots for praying and reading and spots for reading are full.”
So far, those planning to attend are mostly from Kilgore churches, though some members of churches in Longview are planning to participate as well.
Clements said he hopes the Call to Prayer event will inspire others to create something similar in other towns.
“We set it up as a Kilgore event. Maybe some other towns will set up an event like this in their community.”
The event is open to all who wish to participate and attendees can stay for as long as they wish.
“The main thing is we want people to come and they can spend 15 minutes or they can take an hour. They don’t have to be a member of a church. If they need to pray with somebody, there will be somebody there to pray with them.”
He added the event has been planned to be “all about God” and will not include any vendors or musical groups.
“It’s all about the prayer and the Scripture reading,” he said, adding the genesis of the idea was inspired by Bible passages.
“Our whole focus on this was coming out of Scripture, out of 2 Chronicles.”
This book of the Bible includes the verse: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land,” in 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV).
The aim of the event is to unite believers in solidarity during a period of uncertainty in the country, he said.
“We felt like it’s a time in our country right now where there’s a lot of things going and we could use some healing, so we thought we’d start with our community.”