TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Nearly a thousand East Texans gathered at the 19th annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast in Tyler Thursday morning to honor the National Day of Prayer. The ceremony comes less than a month after a federal judge in Wisconsin declared the day unconstitutional.
"This is a special day in our community each an every year," said Mayor Barbara Bass.
East Texans bowed their heads and clasped their hands, praying for their communities and neighbors.
"We are a very strong faith-based community," said Bass. "This is a time each year where we can show our friends and neighbors that we believe in our freedom of religions. We believe in our freedom of speech."
The crowd expressed these freedoms amid controversy. A U.S. district judge ruled that the Day of Prayer violates the First Amendment, but the Obama Administration is still recognizing the day.
"Nothing will stop what God wants to do," said Danny Loeffelholz, the event organizer and a pastor at Grace Community Church. "Laws can be put into place, but bottom line, nothing will be more powerful than God."
"Everybody coming together on one accord," said Elizabeth Cooper, a Larue resident. "One understanding in what we need in this day and time. It was just great. It was more than I expected it to be."
"We are praying for people who have special needs in their lives - health needs, family needs, and other issues that we face in everyday lives," said Bass.
A prayer on the top of everyone's list is the East Texas church fires.
"I'm on staff of one of the churches that was affected by the fires," said Loeffelholz. "Just to see a rallying, a coming together of the Christian faith in the churches has been unbelievable."
It was a crowd thankful for their freedoms and trusting that greater things can be done in their city.
"Greater things are yet to come. Greater things are still to be done in this city."
The National Day of Prayer was enacted in 1952 by the United States Congress and was signed into law by President Harry Truman.