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Churches uniting for prayer rally in Idaho Falls next week


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IDAHO FALLS – Dozens of churches in eastern Idaho are uniting for a prayer rally in Idaho Falls on the National Day of Prayer next week.

Three different events are being held at three different locations Thursday, May 6.

Charles Barnes, who attends Christ Community Church in Idaho Falls, is helping to organize it. He tells the purpose of the event is to bring people together to pray for the problems facing the nation today. The problems he’s referring to include hatred, division and confusion related to the COVID-19 pandemic, politics, ideas being taught in public schools, the rise of secularism among elected officials and the removal of religion and God from the public square.

“I wanted to get involved in organizing something … to pull together a team of people to get people out to pray more, whether it’s for the nation or city or troubled spots in the world,” Barnes says. “We’ll meet at three times in three different formats to cover a wide variety of (issues).”

The first event begins at 6 a.m. and will be held at New Destiny Ministry Hub at 830 Park Avenue. Pastor Anthony Manzanares will lead the group in a symbolic journey across America to help those in attendance remember the nation’s roots and re-align their hearts with God’s will.

“Coming before God’s throne and grace, we will journey in prayer to Plymouth Rock to rededicate this nation to the Lord, to Philadelphia to give thanks for God’s blessings on this nation, to the power centers of Washington, D.C., New York and Silicon Valley to pray for all authorities to submit to the King of Kings,” according to a flier for the event.

The morning rally will conclude at 7:30 a.m. with a prayer for life and health across the country and in Idaho Falls. A series of prophetic declarations about America will also be read.

At noon, the crowd will meet on the steps of the Bonneville County Courthouse for a second rally lead by Tony Szmak, who attends Rise Church. Barnes says the format of this rally will be more of a worship service.

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A combined worship team from a number of different churches will be in attendance, Barnes says. Pastor Tim Rupp with Cop Church will talk a little about and pray for police locally and nationwide. Pastor Jose Favela, who works with Eastern Idaho Public Health District, will offer thoughts and prayers about the ongoing pandemic.

Other pastors will be involved as well. The noon gathering will end at 1 p.m. and will be streamed on the Jesus in Idaho Falls Facebook page.

“We want to see people unite because people will rally around this country for various issues. Why not do it in Jesus’ name?” Rise Church Community Outreach Pastor Nick Bowes says.

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Pastor Oscar Perdomo with Restoring Fountain Fellowship will host the final rally at 7 p.m. He’ll provide some initial instruction on a specific topic before the crowd is divided into small rotating prayer groups to pray for things related to that topic.

Perdomo says this gathering will be a bilingual event and his primary role will be translating the words into Spanish for those in attendance.

“The Hispanic population in Idaho Falls is by far the fastest-growing segment of our town and the Spanish-speaking churches are the most alive and the most fervent at prayer,” Barnes says. “This is an element that the other churches are totally unaware of and they need to be. So I was glad that Oscar volunteered for this.”

The final rally will last until 8:30 p.m. Restoring Fountain Fellowship is at 170 Park Avenue.

Organizing a rally

The National Day of Prayer has been observed as a day to “turn to God in prayer and meditation” since 1952. Prayer rallies or similar events have been held in Idaho Falls in previous years, but Barnes says it’s never been a consistent thing. This is the first time one of this size and scope has taken place.

“There’s so much to pray about on the National Day of Prayer, so I thought let’s do it morning, noon and evening this year,” Barnes says.

Barnes says the inspiration for this year’s rally came from a radio program he heard in December on 107.9 FM hosted by local pastor Dave Bass.

“The title of his talk that day was ‘If Biden gets inaugurated, we need to pray,'” Barnes recalls. “It really clicked with me. I contacted Dave. We had a prayer meeting at his church on inauguration day and then we had a prayer meeting that same week at Oscar’s church.”

Barnes met with other pastors who were interested in the cause and he’s hoping it will become an annual event.

Anyone is welcome to attend. Ultimately, Barnes wants people to walk away with an increased desire to pray more regularly and fervently in their life.

“We need to be praying not just for our nation, but for our neighborhoods and our community. Maybe somebody will meet someone at the meeting they can start a prayer group with or go back to their pastor and say ‘How can we pray more in our church?’ or ‘Is there a prayer group I can join?’ That would be my prayer for the day,” Barnes says.