THE nation's leaders were thrust before the throne of mercy at noon on Wednesday as church heads and their congregants sent up a fiery prayer on their behalf during the sixth staging of the annual Heal the Family, Heal the Nation gathering.
The event, which took place at the Power of Faith Miracle Cathedral (PFM) in Portmore, St Catherine, saw hundreds of churchgoers cramming the large church to enter into a day of prayer. Among those present were the representative of the governor general and custos of St Catherine Sophia Azan, deputy Prime Minister Dr Ken Baugh, and Opposition leader Portia Simpson Miller, who all went forward for prayer.
Founder for the PFM Bishop Delford Davis, said the objective of the event was to bring a more cohesive relationship between the leaders of God's church and the leaders of the country, as they seek to mend families and restore the island. He expressed his pleasure at the gains the nation was making in various sectors, such as in crime reduction, even as he echoed the theme of the gathering "No turning back — go forward".
In addition to the political leaders, the large gathering also spent much time interceding for backsliders, the security forces, health workers, teachers, students, farmers, the sick and suffering and for national peace.
Pastor for the Open and Mercy Church in Portmore, Earl Wright sought to assure that praying was one of the most significant contributions of the church to the nation.
"We are asking what is the church doing? The church is praying," he said before adding, "If the church was not praying, you can imagine how much more demons and devils (we) would be running from Jamaica."
In delivering the message for the Governor General, Azan encouraged the church to be the beacon of hope for families who are crying out for restoration and reconciliation.
"As leaders you must reach beyond your congregation and into communities so that people may be educated about spiritual, moral and ethical matters on which to build strong families," she said.
Simpson-Miller felt that healing the family was the ultimate way to heal the nation.
"If we can fix the families and the communities, we will get the nation right," she said.
But while many spoke about the role of the church in improving the nation, Mayor of Portmore Keith Hinds called upon the men in the country to help raise wholesome families.
"I believe that the men of this country, needs to pull up their socks and begin to sit as the head of the family," he said. "You want to heal the family, you want to heal the nation, men start to have dinner with your wife and your children once more," he admonished.