Steamboat Springs The acappela sounds of young voices in harmony filtered over a loudspeaker to the crowd reverently gathered on the courthouse lawn Thursday.
The teenagers' song offered an appeal to God, that He might send His grace, love and salvation to people in need of light to find their way "in the darkest night."
One of the country's darker nights overshadowed the prayers of the 80 or so people who gathered before the courthouse in recognition of the 2002 National Day of Prayer.
Local clergy used the opportunity to reaffirm the role of prayer in society and call to remembrance the events of Sept. 11.
People who took to their knees so readily in prayer last September should now pray with greater fervency in retrospect of the tragedy, said John Franklin, a deacon at Holy Name Catholic Church.
"If we have been slack with our prayer then let us pray more often than before," Franklin said.
Prayers echoed the necessity of God's blessing, guidance and healing. Some clergy reminded the crowd the United States was founded, not by religious people, but by people who embraced a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Rev. Kevin King of Anchor Way Baptist Church offered a quote by Patrick Henry that surmised that such a foundation guaranteed the freedom of people of all faiths to worship as they pleased.
"We need to humble ourselves in prayer, and turn back to our foundations," said Rev. Scott Herbert of Concordia Lutheran Church.
Herbert encouraged the crowd to acknowledge God as the Creator of all things. Kent Osteen, a chaplain with the Colorado State Patrol, prayed for the safety of law enforcement and emergency personnel who serve locally, statewide and nationally.
"Send protection as they put themselves in harm's way that they might protect us," he said.
"They work on our behalf and serve with integrity," said Rev. Larry Oman of the United Methodist Church.
Oman asked that people respect the faith of others.
Those who participated in the community-wide event recognized the importance of coming together in prayer.
Rainer Beran found assurance in the passage of Scripture that spoke of the abiding presence of God. In the passage, Jesus Christ tells his disciples that where two or three people gather together in His name, there He is in their midst.
It was unfortunate, Beran said, that more people could not come to pray, but the time of day likely conflicted with work schedules and other commitments. Frank Netro, who moved from New England last year, valued the opportunity to pray with people who shared his faith.
Prayer unites people, and a nation, like nothing else, he said.
Distance cannot separate people who are joined in prayer, he said.
"Physically, it's far," he said. "But it's not spiritually, which is more important."
The events of Sept. 11 enlightened people to the importance of prayer, Kris Dodd said.
"We should do this more," she said.
Six high school students from Heritage Christian School provided special music for the crowd.
Junior Jane Melvin of "Heartsong" said their song about God's grace, love and salvation complemented a day set aside for prayer.
"It's really appropriate to what the Christians are trying to get across," she said.
The song is a prayer that recognizes people's need for God, Melvin said.
It's a message that rang loud and clear Thursday.