Dozens of people converged on the Chautauqua Auditorium on Tuesday night to participate in a prayer vigil in support of our troops.

It was no particular denomination or para-church organization – just a gathering of concerned people who wanted to pray for the safety of troops and express thanks for freedom men and women in uniform fight to preserve.

At the beginning of the service, members of Boy Scout Troop 233 presented colors and the pledge of allegiance was led by Ron Langenheder.

Old traditional hymns and contemporary Christian songs were performed with a country flair by the Ranch House Cowboy Band from the Ranch House Cowboy Church of Maypearl. Long time Waxahachie clergyman, Dr. Leroy Fenton, called the meeting to order and gave words of welcome to the crowd.

“We are thankful for the time you sacrificed to come out tonight and pray for those who are in harm’s way that are serving in our military,” Fenton said. “Our troops are probably not receiving the spiritual support they should be getting sometimes and we hope they will feel the effects of the prayers being offered up tonight.”

Local Waxahachie icon, Horace Bratcher, a member of Brown Street Church of Christ, delivered the invocation, but not before he expressed himself concerning America’s freedom.

“Freedom has a price – and it’s paid in the courage of our men and women in the military,” Bratcher said. “Courage is not the absence of despair, but it is the ability to move forward in the face of despair.”

Bratcher told the crowd he becomes more aware of the price that has been paid for freedom every time he visits a Veteran’s Administration hospital.

In his closing remarks, Bratcher made reference to the men who served in the Armed Forces during World War II.

“There are three things that describe those people – courage, appreciation and a belief in the power of God, because most of the time, that’s all that group had to rely on,” Bratcher said.

The Rev. Grady Cashion, pastor of First Baptist Church of Blooming Grove, spoke.

“I never had the privilege of serving in the military, but I want to tell you that every time I hear these songs about our country sung, I still get chills,” Cashion said. “I’m thankful to be an American. There’s no country in all the world I’d rather live in than America – I thank God for it every day.”

Cashion gave a few brief remarks using II Chronicles 7:14 as his backdrop.

“It says that ‘If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land,” Cashion quoted from scripture. “Folks, our future isn’t in the hands of the unbeliever, but it is in the hands of God’s people. This passage tells us that we, as God’s people are to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, or in other words, do things God’s way and then he says he will hear our prayers, forgive us and heal our land. That is said to God’s people.”

After Cashion’s message, the congregation was invited to divide into small groups to pray on behalf of American troops.

The Rev. Kim Pitner, pastor of Connect4Life Church of Waxahachie, spoke concerning the valor of the soldiers in King David’s army and gave the contrast between what God has done for man and what American soldiers do for their country.

“God sent his son to give his blood so we might be saved,” Pitner said. “There is nothing on earth that mirrors that more than when the American soldier gives his or her blood for the freedom of their country.”

Dave Wilkerson, pastor of Ranch House Cowboy Church of Maypearl, commended the effort by the organizers of the prayer vigil, saying it was an opportunity for people from all walks of life, all races and all denominations to come together to pray.

“You know, when men are in a foxhole in another country fighting for our freedom, it doesn’t matter to them what denomination the other soldier is – all that matters is that they are there together. And that’s the way we are here tonight – different denominations coming together just to pray,” he said.

Ron Simpson sang a verse of “God Bless America” and then invited the crowd to join him on the chorus before the playing of “Taps.”

Contact Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com or 469-517-1450.