Martin Luther, a German priest and scholar whose questioning of certain church practices led to the Protestant Reformation, once said, “Grant that I may not pray alone with the mouth; help me that I may pray from the depths of my heart.”

For Christians, the power of prayer is transforming, especially during difficult times. Many of those living and working in Erath County have felt the sting of the economic crisis gripping the nation and are facing an uncertain future.

In recent weeks, FMC Technologies was forced to lay off approximately 120 of its 580 employees. Low milk prices and high feed costs have flattened a once booming dairy industry. More and more dairymen are struggling to keep up with their monthly bills and are forced to function with a smaller work force. Other local industries are also cutting back, and shutting their doors to new employees.

Many who are struggling to pay the bills believe that hope lies in the form of prayer. Treva Thompson, marketing and events director for the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce, said she was approached by community members this week concerned about the economy and those affected by it.

In response, Thompson has organized a community prayer rally to be held at noon Thursday at the Downtown Plaza, across the street from the chamber.

“This is going to be an intimate and reverent time to join together as a community and lift each other up and pray for our neighbors,” Thompson said.

The service will be an informal gathering and relatively short. Wayne Cooper will lead the group in prayer, then sing a few hymns. Anyone who would also like to lead in prayer is invited to participate.

Thompson said she hopes those who have been directly affected by the layoffs will come to the service.

“We want to lift them up and give them hope,” Thompson said. “This is a time for the community to come together and pray for each other.”